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The New York State DMV stole my Title?!

One of the unexpected joys of starting this site is the wide variety of great people I get to meet who share a common bond via these little mechanical baskets of joy. One of the first to reach out was Scott Moore. After Scott told me the Kei conundrum he and his students were going though I asked him to write it up to share with anyone who may come across in a similar situation. Scott has been a big help in this whole thing and I see us working together with his students to fight back! Anyways here's Scott in his own words:

I teach Carpentry at an urban vocational school in Rochester, NY. I also co-run the small motor vehicle club at the school. This club allows students to work on vehicles that don’t fall within the traditional NYS curriculum, AKA – things kids actually want to learn about – like mopeds, dirt bikes, quads, turbos, and obviously, Suzuki Carry’s on Tracks.

The club decided to build my street legal Suzuki Carry, and use it as a promotional and recruitment tool for the school. For the truck to be utilized as a recruitment tool, it would have to be properly registered- so we could drive it to recruitment events. This wasn’t an issue because the truck had been on the road for years, but was currently off the road so that the students could perform some repairs and make the adaptor plates to add the Snow Tracks. The teachers proposed this project to the club, and the students were interested.

The young man in the attached photo spent hours working on the Carry to make it safe to drive, as well as helping create the adaptor plates for the Tracks. Louvan, known at the school as “The Mayor” has many thoughts and opinions he’d love to share about the DMV’s actions.

That’s the back story. When the vehicle was ready for upcoming events, I decided to re-register the vehicle. That’s when the nightmare begins.

I brought all of my paperwork to the DMV in Henrietta, NY, including my vehicle’s title. I slid my paperwork under the partition, and the semi-friendly lady started typing. Things were progressing smoothly until I could see red writing on the screen, met by an audible “Oh” from the DMV lady.

She walked away from her station, picked up a phone and called a supervisor. I’ve been through this scenario many times, since I find a unique pleasure in making odd vehicles street legal. Moments later I was greeted by a not so friendly supervisor who informed me that I wouldn’t be able to register this vehicle any longer, and that I had to surrender my title. I calmly explained that the title was my only proof of ownership, so I’d like that returned, while I researched the issue. The not so friendly DMV Lady informed me that she would be unable to give me my paperwork back. After a semi-calm back and forth I told her I need some written documentation that NYS is refusing to give me any evidence explaining why my vehicle is no longer street legal, and that the DMV is refusing to give me my title. After explaining that she’d ask security to make me leave, she told me my best bet was to, “Contact Albany.” Hoping to avoid an embarrassing confrontation, I pressed a little more, but decided to leave once the security guard was summoned.

I spent the next day on the phone with the NYS DMV – presumably in “Albany.” I kept getting passed from department to department, with no explanation why the situation occurred. I finally spoke with a woman, who refused to provide her name, and she told me I would be receiving a letter in the mail explaining the reason NYS deemed my vehicle “Unsafe.”

At the time of this writing I have received no letter or explanation from the NYS DMV. This morning (8/26/2021) I spent almost 2 hours on the phone explaining the scenario, ending with option 4 (technical bureau) telling me that they cannot discuss my situation since the matter is “Currently in litigation.” I asked repeatedly, “can you provide the rule or regulation that you are using to justify taking my title?” I was given the same response –“I cannot answer that question due to pending litigation.” I asked for a supervisor, and the gentleman recommend I also reach out to their legal department. (The legal Department’s Phone Number: 518-474-0871 – the supervisors name Mark Shimkus – Mark.Shimkus@DMV.NY.Gov. I have not reached out to this number or supervisor – figuring it may be wiser for me to get a lawyer before I pursue that avenue.

After viewing Chuck’s website, and the subsequent article in The Drive, I’ve decided that this injustice needs to be corrected so that Louvan can experience the results of his labor, legally. I’m hoping that I can find whomever started the “current litigation” in NYS so my students and I can assist.

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