If Nick Stafford wanted to make a point, we suppose he made it.
Stafford wanted to find out which of his four houses, which span two counties, would be best to register the Corvette at for his son. After making a phone call to his local DMV in Lebanon, it was routed to Richmond.
But, Stafford wanted to speak to Lebanon, and instead invoked the Freedom of Information Act request to get their direct number. Employees at the Lebanon DMV answered, but told him the number was not for public use. After multiple calls, his question was answered. But that wasn’t the end of it.
Stafford requested nine additional DMV phone numbers but was denied. He filed three lawsuits over the matter.
“The phone numbers are irrelevant to me,” Stafford told the Bristol Herald-Courier newspaper. “I don’t need them. I told the judge ‘I think I proved my point here.’ 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.”
The DMV was satisfied with the court’s dismissal of each lawsuit, too.
“We are pleased that the court agreed with our counsel that the argument was not a sufficient request to invoke the FOIA statutory penalties,” said Brandy Brubaker, a spokesman for the state DMV. “We make every effort to share information with citizens as state and federal law allows.”
Still, this was not the end for Stafford.
He then hired 11 people to carry in five wheelbarrows full of the 300,000 pennies to pay the sales tax on the new Corvette, which by law, is an entirely valid form of payment.
In the process, DMV employees were paid overtime for their work. Which, by the way, is paid for by local taxes.