I see no disclaimer on dollar bills about only being ‘legal tender if not folded’

Timothy Norris of Wichita, Kansas attempted to pay his $600 property tax bill in one dollar bills that were folded so tightly that it took personnel six minutes to unfold each of them.  Rather than spend approximately two and a half days of man-hours unfolding the bills, the tax agency requested that Mr. Norris depart the premises.  When he refused, the police were summoned.  Norris resisted arrest and was charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest.  (Story here.)

Mr. Norris claims that most of the bills were one-dollar bills that were banded together, along with 150 origami-folded bills and $250 worth of unfolded $5, $10, and $20 bills.  (The tax bill was $497.17.)  Norris says,

“They didn’t make it convenient for me whenever they raised the taxes every year,” he said. “Why should I make it convenient for them?”

After unfolding $25-worth of money, Norris said he changed his mind and took the money back once the clerk started ripping and tearing the bills to get them flat. This also prompted him to abandon his plan, and he said he had no intention of using the folded money when he returned Jan. 28.

However, Norris said he also had to pay for a vehicle registration tag that day, costing him an extra $180 he did not expect. Because of this, he was left with only $450 for his property bill in unfolded money, forcing him to pull $50 out from the 150 folded one-dollar-bills he still had with him.

Sheriff David Duke claims that there was far more than $50 in folded bills, since it took his officers 2.5 hours to unfold them.  The deputies had to unfold the bills because a person’s possessions are inventoried at the time of arrest.

Some of the confusion is likely between what Duke had on him at the time (i.e. $150 in origami-folded bills) and what he intended to pay with (i.e. many of the unfolded bills).  I admire the man’s initiative and persistence, but can see how government officials would find such stunts a bit boring after a while.  Perhaps Wichita and other municipalities ought to offer some sort of ‘discount’ to those who pay in convenient form, which is really just a surcharge on those who pay in pennies, folded bills, etc.

Thoughts, readers?

 

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