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Van Gogh-Goghs File Suit Against L.A. Wallet Inspection Dept.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Los Angeles Times-Van Gogh-Gogh Press) July 19, 1999 -- L.A.-based comedy group the Van Gogh-Goghs today announced they were suing the Los Angeles Wallet Inspection Department (LAWID) for gross negligence and incompetence after the department failed to return their wallets after more than two years.

In documents presented to the Ninth District Superior Court, the six-man comedy group said their wallets were collected for inspection upon their arrival in L.A. in 1997, but were never returned. "We've waited two years! Something's rotten in the L.A. Wallet Inspection Department," said Van Gogh-Gogh Jason Torchinsky.

Named specifically in the suit were L.A. Wallet Inspectors Jimmy Stein, 16, and Michael "Spike" Clarkman, 17. Clarkman and Stein are alleged to have initially collected the Van Gogh-Goghs' wallets as the group took a shortcut through a dark alley.

Clarkman denied all charges. "I don't have their stupid wallets," he said. "What do I want their gay old wallets for anyway?"

"Yeah! The big gay freaks," Stein added.

Members of the Van Gogh-Goghs said they hoped to spotlight the "really, really, really, really bad" practices of LAWID.

"Our research shows that the Los Angeles Wallet Inspection Department is one of the worst in the country," Van Gogh-Gogh member Rob Terrell said. "It's rife with corruption and nepotism." As evidence, Terrell pointed out that Stein and Clarkman were cousins.

"They have a history of taking your wallet and then you never see them again," Terrell added. "[In] Other cities they inspect your wallet while you wait, deduct their fee, and then return your wallet right then! Why can't L.A. get its act together?"

Van Gogh-Gogh T. Mike Childs added that "other cities have a 1-800 number you can call when you enter the city. They automatically debit your credit card when you give them your card number and expiration date over the phone."

LAWID Chief Inspector Donny Brooks blasted the Van Gogh-Goghs' charges as "groundless and totally stupid,", and he said the group was fortunate to have had their wallets inspected at all.

"Wallet inspection is a thankless task," Brooks said. "We are overburdened and understaffed. We've been stretched thin since 1995, when our department was also assigned the duties of bikini inspection and issuing elevator passes. So the Van Gay-Gays can kiss my ass."

The office of Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan released a statement supporting the department and stressing that "this is an isolated incident we hope can be easily settled with the dumb gay losers in question."

It is uncertain when the Van Gogh-Goghs' case will come to trial. Court officials predicted the case will go before a judge shortly after the appearance of an airborne pig. It is unclear which side will be responsible for presenting this flying animal.

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