Woman pays $350 fine in coins

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June 14, 2011 4:05:23 PM PDT
A Raleigh landlord, who fought back against what she calls frivolous fines, says she was so upset she decided to pay the City of Raleigh in coins.

However, the City didn't want the $350 in loose change and even got the police involved.

"Three-hundred and fifty dollars is a lot of money," Sharon Keeter said. "I don't think it's right if you can't go by and check on your property every day. My property doesn't look bad. It's not an eyesore."

She owns a rental property off of Poole Road in Raleigh. The City sent her a letter last month, fining her $350 for the renter not mowing the lawn.

"I'm just tired of getting violations and having to pay for fines," Keeter said.

City officials say the steep fine is justified because it was the second public nuisance violation at the property in the last 12 months. Keeter had the option to appeal but missed the ten day window to file one, and that's when she decided to prove a point.

"They made a point," she said. "I can make a point and somebody's gotta make a point in order to get these crazy fines eliminated."

Ketter showed up at collections to pay the fine in pennies, nickels and dimes. The coins are legal tender, but city employees didn't know what to do with the loose change.

"It became a large nightmare because at first they told me they could take 'em," she said. "They just didn't have time to count 'em, but then I had to follow them to the bank and when the bank wouldn't take the coins, they called the police on me."

Keeter says the officer told her she had two options. One was to come back the next day with the money rolled and the second was to come back and wait for it to be counted. She chose the latter and spent more than two hours waiting for her receipt.

She says it was time well spent if it gets someone to reconsider the fines she calls ridiculous.

"The City's having budget crisis and this is an easy way to make money," Ketter added.

The City of Raleigh says it does accept coins, but the coins need to be rolled and have your name on the rolls. Officials told ABC11 Eyewitness News the employees who collect payments were not clear on the policy and assured ABC they will be in the future.

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