DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The last time Margaret Keliher served as Dallas County Commissioners Court Judge was 2006. But to her surprise, she says she just got a bill from the NTTA for nearly $200 claiming she was still driving a car with the official county judge license plate.
“It’s been five years since that license plate has been on that car,” she said.
Keliher says when she challenged the NTTA, the agency’s records showed the plate was still on a 1998 Acura she used to own. “I was baffled over why I would have gotten the bill.”
It turns out, the car that went through the toll tag reader was actually the silver Cadillac driven by the current County Commissioners Court Judge Clay Jenkins.
Each county in the state has a plate for the sitting county judge, which is controlled by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Judge Jenkins says he received and registered the plate with the state when he was sworn in last January. “We complied with everything we were told to do when I got the judge plates.”
He says he was unaware of the problem until CBS 11 asked him about it. “I had been paying for my own toll tag continuously since before and after I was elected.”
But the NTTA says Judge Jenkins didn’t add the county judge license plate to his account. So when the agency looked for an address to send a bill, it looked up DMV records to determine where the plate is registered.
NTTA spokesman Michael Rey says, “The records showed no end date for Judge Keliher, so the system defaulted if you will to Judge Keliher.” Rey says the mistake happened in September, when they updated their system.
The agency says a similar problem recently happened to 81 other customers. They had recently sold their vehicles, but the new owners didn’t change the registration so their NTTA bills were sent to the vehicle’s original owners.
The NTTA quickly corrected those bills.
As for former county judge Margaret Keliher, she says she has long been a supporter of the NTTA. She says she’s speaking out to make sure other drivers don’t face a similar issue.
The NTTA says so far, it hasn’t found anyone else impacted by the same problem, but it’s going through its system to make sure.
The agency says it has corrected Keliher’s bill, and updated its records to keep this from happening again.
The NTTA says it has one and a half million transactions each day, and that most occur without any problem.