If money talks, one US businessman has made sure his voice has been heard.

Nick Stafford from Cedar Buff, Virginia, has settled a score - and his tax bill - by delivering 300,000 coins to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV.

As well as paying the $3,000 (NZ$4220) sales tax on two new cars, he was making a point after a long-running dispute with the DMV.

It began with a simple telephone query in September: which of his four houses spanning two Virginia counties should he list when licensing his son's new Corvette?

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After trying to call the Lebanon DMV, he was routed to a call centre in Richmond. Undeterred, he submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act seeking the direct number to the Lebanon DMV, which he was provided.

Despite initially being told the phone line wasn't for public use, they eventually answered his question after repeated calls.

Deciding to take the matter further, Stafford asked the local DMV for the direct phone lines to nine other local DMV. After they refused, he filed three lawsuits in court to get them.

"If they were going to inconvenience me then I was going to inconvenience them," he told the Bristol Herald Courier.

A judge dismissed the lawsuits on Tuesday after a representative of the state's attorney general gave Stafford a list of the requested phone numbers in court.

Nick Stafford fills one of five wheelbarrows full of change, mostly pennies. Photo / AP
Nick Stafford fills one of five wheelbarrows full of change, mostly pennies. Photo / AP

"The phone numbers are irrelevant to me," Stafford said. " 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," Stafford said.

If the penny hadn't dropped after those actions, Mr Stafford had one last stunt that he wanted to make count on Wednesday.

Going to the DMV to pay his bill, he wheeled in five wheelbarrows of coins, weighing in at 1,600 pounds.


It took staff at least seven hours to count the coins, working until early on Thursday morning.

To pay the $3,000 (NZ$4220) bill, he had spent just over $1,000 (NZ$1407) in purchasing the wheelbarrows and hiring people to break open the hundreds of rolls of coins.

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