Prisoner of War mail, from Agostino Gaggiottini, to Custodian's Office, December 30, 1940
This typewritten prisoner of war mail was signed by Agostino Gaggiottini, and is addressed to the Custodian's Office, December 30, 1940.
The Custodian of Enemy Property (CEP) was a branch of the Canadian government that oversaw the administration of assets belonging to internees and other enemy aliens. This government office served a dual function. Acting as a trustee for the internee/enemy alien, the office and its agents also protected the interests of the creditors. The CEP would pay off an internee’s debts by selling his or her property or businesses. It also collected money owed to internees by others. Each accounting firm hired by the CEP would bill an internee for administrative costs even though internees did not ask for the CEP to be involved. Families of internees often did not have access to the husband's assets and bank accounts. As a result, families often had to negotiate with the CEP for stipends for daily subsistence or use of assets like an automobile. In some cases, where assets were lacking, the CEP divested itself of any interest and left the families to fend for themselves.
In this case, Gaggiottini writes to complain about the CEP's management of his affairs. He claims they have charged a 53% fee in collecting his last paycheck from his employer, which he describes as "excessive, in view of the small amount involved and the services rendered".