Nick Stafford, a man from Lebanon, Virginia – a town of less than 4,000 residents – recently rolled 298,745 pennies into the DMV in five wheelbarrows to pay off his sales tax on two SUVs that he bought in cash. Workers at the DMV had to spend hours counting the coins after the coin-counting machine got jammed — staying after hours to complete the time-consuming task.
Stafford claims he was inconveniencing the DMV to return the favor, saying that “if they were going to inconvenience me, then I was going to inconvenience them.”
According to Stafford’s account, he was only attempting to inquire about which of his four houses he should list when licensing his son’s brand new Chevrolet Corvette. The Bristol Herald Courier reported that Stafford was enraged after an incident in September when he attempted to call the Lebanon DMV and was routed to a call center in Richmond. After an FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request in order to obtain a direct number to the DMV, he was given the number, but told upon numerous calls that the number was not meant for public use. Eventually he did get the answer he wanted. He asked the DMV employees for the nine other phone numbers to various other DMVs in the area, but was denied. Stafford proceeded to file three separate lawsuits for being refused the information. The cases were dismissed Tuesday, after the attorney representing the DMV gave Stafford the phone numbers.
Reportedly, the endeavor cost him an extra $1005 — $440 for the 11 people he paid to break open the rolls of pennies with hammers, $400 for the five wheelbarrows, and $165 for the three lawsuits. He said he simply pulled this stunt to “prove a point.”
“The phone numbers are irrelevant to me,” Stafford stated. “I don’t need them. I told the judge ‘I think I proved my point here.’”
Stafford also noted that he believes the “backbone to our republic and our democracy is open government, and transparency in government, and it shocks me that a lot of people don’t know the power of FOIA.”
This post was written by Nicholas Amato.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.
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