Campbell Painting Corp. v. Reid
392 U.S. 286 (1968)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Campbell Painting Corp. v. Reid, 392 U.S. 286 (1968)

George Campbell Painting Corp. v. Reid

No. 673

Argued April 30, 1968

Decided June 10, 1968

392 U.S. 286

Syllabus

The Public Authorities Law of New York requires all contracts awarded by a public authority for work or services to provide that, upon refusal of "a person" to testify before a grand jury, to answer relevant questions, or to waive immunity against subsequent prosecution, such person and any corporation of which he is an officer or director shall be disqualified for five years from contracting with any public authority and any existing contracts may be canceled by the authority without penalty or damages. Appellant corporation's president, who was also a director and stockholder, executed three painting contracts, on behalf of appellant, with the New York City Housing Authority. When appellant learned of an impending investigation of bid rigging, the president resigned and divested himself of his stock. He remained in appellant's employ as an "estimator." He was later subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury, and refused to sign a waiver of immunity. Appellant was notified that the contracts were canceled and that it and the president were disqualified for five years. The New York Court of Appeals denied relief to appellant, holding the disqualification valid and the statute constitutional. The court also rejected appellant's claim that it should not have been disqualified because its president resigned as president and director before being called to testify.

Held:

1. The constitutional privilege against self-incrimination is "a personal one, applying only to natural individuals," and, since appellant corporation cannot avail itself of the privilege, it cannot take advantage of the claimed invalidity of a penalty imposed for refusal of an individual, its president, to waive the privilege. Pp. 392 U. S. 288-289.

2. There is no reason to disturb the finding of the Court of Appeals that the resignation of the president was solely for the purpose of avoiding disqualification, and the conclusion of that court that the purported resignation should be disregarded for purposes of this case. P. 392 U. S. 289.

20 N.Y.2d 370, 229 N.E.2d 602, affirmed.

Page 392 U. S. 287

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