APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR
L. DUNNE, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE WILSON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
After a hearing, defendant, *fn1 Secretary of State, revoked the issuance of 1977 automobile registration number "KAK" to plaintiff and assigned that number to plaintiff's ex-wife. Pursuant to section 4 of the Administrative Review Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 110, par. 264 et seq.), plaintiff filed a complaint in the circuit court. The circuit court affirmed the order of the Secretary of State. Although plaintiff phrases the issues somewhat differently, his appeal raises basically these two points: (1) The circuit court erred in finding that the Secretary's order was not against the manifest weight of the evidence; and (2) the circuit court erred in refusing to find that the hearing officer's failure to grant plaintiff a continuance violated his due process rights. We disagree on both points and affirm the decision of the circuit court.
On May 14, 1976, a divorce judgment was entered between plaintiff and Sandra Karas. The judgment provided that as part of the property settlement plaintiff was to transfer title to a 1970 "Chevrolet Cougar" to Sandra. On May 21, title was transferred. At the time of transfer, 1976 license plates number KAK, which had been issued to plaintiff as owner of the car, were attached to the vehicle. Plaintiff neither made an attempt to remove the plates nor did he discuss the removal of the plates with Sandra. On May 26, Sandra applied for and subsequently received title to the Cougar.
Sometime thereafter, defendant, Secretary of State, received an affidavit which stated that plaintiff no longer wished to retain an interest in license plate number KAK and requested that the number be transferred to Sandra. The affidavit was notarized on June 29, 1976, and purported to contain plaintiff's signature. The notary public later testified at the hearing that plaintiff's name was not signed in her presence.
Sometime late in June or early in July of 1976, Sandra traded in the Cougar and purchased a 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass. On July 7, she applied for 1976 registration number KAK as registered owner of the Cougar. Later, at the hearing, she testified that she could not recall making this application, but when shown the application she stated that the signature was hers. On July 13, an application was made in plaintiff's name for 1976 registration number KAK license plate replacement based on the representation that the plates had been lost. Although plaintiff's signature appeared on the application, he denied having made the application and claimed that the signature was a forgery.
On or about August 24, plaintiff applied for 1977 registration number KAK as registered owner of the Cougar. On August 26, the number and plates were issued to plaintiff. Then, on August 30, 1976, registration number KAK was issued to Sandra.
On September 24, Sandra applied for title to a 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass and for a transfer of 1976 registration number KAK from the Cougar to the Cutlass. Title was issued and the registration number was transferred. On or about September 30, Sandra applied for 1977 registration number KAK as registered owner of the Cutlass.
On February 15, 1977, plaintiff applied for title to a 1968 Pontiac Coupe and for a transfer of his 1977 registration number KAK from the Cougar to the Pontiac. Title was issued and the registration number was transferred. On April 5, plaintiff, who had become aware of the June 29, 1976, affidavit, notified the Secretary of State that the affidavit was forged.
A hearing was held based on these facts to determine who was entitled to 1977 registration number KAK. Upon conclusion of the hearing, the Secretary of State asserted that the 1977 registration number had been erroneously issued to plaintiff and ordered that the number be revoked and assigned to Sandra. His order was based upon findings that:
"1) There could be no valid transfer of 1977 registration from the Mercury Cougar which Mr. Karas had no ownership interest in at the time of the attempted transfer and which was based on an invalid application and issuance of 1977 Illinois registration to said Mercury Cougar in his name.
2) That prior to John V. Karas's application for 1977 registration KAK to the Mercury Cougar or transfer of 1977 registration to the 1968 Pontiac Coupe, Mrs. Karas had made valid application for both 1976 registration to the Mercury Cougar and valid application for transfer of the 1976 registration to the 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass and subsequent application for 1977 registration to the 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass."
1, 2 In reviewing the circuit court's decision in this case, we are limited to determining whether the Secretary of State's findings were contrary to the manifest weight of evidence. (Wegmann v. Department of Registration & Education (1978), 61 Ill. App.3d 352, 377 N.E.2d 1297; Landfield v. Howlett (1974), 23 Ill. App.3d 885, 320 N.E.2d 356 (abstract).) In order to determine that the Secretary's findings were against the manifest weight of the evidence, we must find that the opposite conclusion is clearly evident. (Epstein v. Civil Service Com. (1977), 47 Ill. App.3d 81, 361 N.E.2d 782; Carrao v. Board of Education (1977), 46 Ill. App.3d 33, 360 N.E.2d 536.) If the findings were against the manifest weight of the evidence, then we must reverse the decision of the circuit court.
An "agency has only such authority as is conferred by express provision of law or is found, by fair implication and intendment, to be incident-to and included in the authority expressly conferred for the purpose of carrying out and accomplishing the objectives for which the agency was created." (Department of Public Aid v. Brazziel (1978), 61 Ill. App.3d 168, 172, 377 N.E.2d 1119, 1121-22.) The actions of the Secretary of State are bounded by the ...