Town Clerk Forces Santa Claus to Buy Business Permit

Melissa Knowles

Halloween has come and gone and Thanksgiving is next week, which can mean only one thing: We are in full holiday mode. Christmas is a mere month and a half away, and if there ever were anyone you didn't want to make angry this close to the holiday, it would be Santa Claus. Apparently the good people at the Shelby County clerk's office in Memphis, Tenn., did not get the memo.

William Mitchell has been portraying Santa Claus at parties for six years, specializing in adult Christmas events doing stand-up comedy. He sent a flier to the Shelby County clerk's office to drum up interest for his show. Instead of being invited to perform, Mitchell was sent a letter saying that unless he acquired a business license, he would be turned over to the district attorney and could face prosecution.

Mitchell complied and purchased a license for $30. However, he later learned that only people who earned more than $3,000 a year need a license--a far cry from the $100 Mitchell said he earned playing Santa Claus last year.

[Related: Festive or infuriating? Santa arrives very early]

Now Mitchell wants a present from the clerk's office, a refund of his $30. Mitchell told a local CBS affiliate reporter from WREG, "I want them to get off my back, return my $30 and let me try to keep the wolf away from my door." He added, "If they're expecting anything other than switches and ashes for Christmas, they are suffering from a delusion."

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