LEBANON, Va. -
A man carted five wheelbarrows filled with 300,000 pennies for taxes on two vehicles as a protest for the difficulty he had finding phone numbers for the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Nick Stafford schlepped 1,600 pounds of pennies to the DMV to pay the $1,005 in taxes Wednesday.
It was his way to give the agency his two cents.
Stafford tried to get direct phone numbers to DMV offices throughout the state, even submitting Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain them in September, according to the Bristol Herald Courier.
Stafford went to court to get them. Filing three cases to get the phone numbers. They were dismissed Tuesday after Stafford was given the phone numbers in the courtroom by the state’s attorney general.
The DMV and its employees could have fined $500 to $2,000 for violating public records law, according to the Courier Herald.
“We are pleased that the court agreed with our counsel that the argument was not a sufficient request to invoke the FOIA statutory penalties,” Brandy Brubaker, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles told the Courier Herald. “We make every effort to share information with citizens as state and federal law allows.”
Stafford was happy with the outcome but was not done there.
“The phone numbers are irrelevant to me. I don't need them. I told the judge ‘I think I proved my point here,’” Stafford told the Courier Herald. “I think 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.”
Stafford paid $440 for 11 people to help him break the rolls of pennies. It took four hours. He also paid $400 for the wheelbarrows, which he left filled at the DMV.