Saturday, August 28, 2010

Are pennies legal tender?

This morning's paper carried an article about Ron Spears, who tried to pay a $330.00 bill in pennies at the office of the Kittatas County Treasurer in Cle Elum, Washington. Seems he didn't pay a $34 bill that was due in April, and that unpaid bill escalated to $330.00.

To make a statement, Spears wheeled in 33,000 pennies, which would weigh somewhere in the vicinity of 182 pounds. The County Treasurer turned up her nose at Spears and gave him a thumbs down on payment in pennies, claiming she didn't have the staff to count them.

I wonder if Spears pulled a David Miller trick and dumped the pennies, if they were loose in a wheelbarrow. Or did he take them in, rolled in 660 wrappers?

It seems a bigger question as to just how a $34 bill jumped to $330 in four months. Is usury any part of Washington state law?

What would our own Bill LeFew do, if faced with the same problem? Would he graciously accept such payment, issue a receipt and take the pennies to the bank for counting? Maybe after calling a press conference and extolling the good customer service offered by his office? I'll bet he's not too busy to have fun with such a payment.

Or suppose someone wanted to pay a $75 fine and exorbitant court costs at the courthouse for a traffic ticket in pennies? Or even $1 bills? Or silver dollars, if he could round up $250 of those?

1 comment:

cabeachguy said...

I paid a $60 fine in unrolled pennies back in the late 70's. The court clerk told me she couldn't give me a reciept until they were all counted. I told her, "no problem, I've got all day and I brought afew magazines with me so I'll just sit over here and wait for my receipt".

They were NOT happy, but then again I wasn't happy about the scam ticket the pig gave to me either.