Officer Enis Pinar says his career as a National Airport policeman was on track until one night in 1981, when he ticketed two cars parked in spaces reserved for airport employes.
The cars bore congressional license plates and belonged, he says, to former representative Margaret Heckler (R-Mass.), now secretary of health and human services, and Rep. Thomas Petri (R-Wis.)
"I don't feel that I should make an exception for congressional vehicles," Pinar said in an interview yesterday. ". . . I think they should follow the law like everybody else."
But, Pinar has alleged in lawsuit against federal officials, his superiors didn't share his sentiments. When a police supervisor learned of the tickets, he ordered Pinar to revoke them.
Another senior officer advised him against ticketing legislators, Pinar alleges, "because of their great control over the airport and airport police benefits and salaries."
Pinar refused to rescind the tickets, after which, he says, he was harassed with unwarranted disciplinary actions, and given a promotion, then suddenly demoted to his old rank.
An airport spokesman declined comment yesterday on the allegations. In documents filed in federal court in Alexandria and others made public yesterday, airport officers denied many of the charges and said that Pinar has been a disciplinary problem.
The charges follow years of public debate over congressional privileges at the federally owned airport. Legislators long have had free parking near the terminals and critics have often charged they demand that National's air service be tailored to their own needs.
Pinar, who is seeking $10,000 in damages and restoration of the higher rank, says that on the night of Feb. 11, 1981, he wrote tickets for two vehicles bearing congressional tags that were parked in spaces reserved for Federal Aviation Administration employes. The following day, he ticketed the cars again.
On Feb. 13, Pinar says, a supervisor, William Morse, ordered him to void the tickets. Pinar refused.
Later, according to the complaint, he was summoned to a meeting with Morse and two other airport police officers, Lt. Allen Fahey and Col. Lynwood Elkins. "Elkins advised against issuing traffic violation notices to members of Congress because of their great control over the airport and airport police benefits and salaries," the complaint says.
"Shortly thereafter, defendant Morse privately explained to plaintiff that he was lobbying for passage of legislation designed to benefit all airport police officers.
He added that any unfavorable acts would erode congressional good will towards airport police and jeopardize pending legislation," the suit alleges.
In a response filed with the court, Morse denied asking the officer to void the tickets or making such a statement.
A memo bearing Morse's name, which one of Pinar's lawyers said yesterday was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, says in part: "I tried to explain to Officer Pinar that to issue parking citations to Members of Congress would only tend to intimidate and harass."
An aide to Petri confirmed that the congressman had received a ticket. The aide said Petri believed that he had the right to park in the area because the main congressional lot there was full. FAA vehicles were in some spaces reserved for legislators, the aide said.
After receiving the ticket, the aide said, Petri's secretary contacted airport authorities and was told the ticket would be taken care of. The congressmen has heard nothing about the matter since, the aide said.
A spokesman for Heckler was unable to confirm or deny whether she had been ticketed.
An official at the Central Violations Bureau in Alexandria, to which airport tickets are referred, said that both tickets Pinar says he issued on Feb. 11 were dismissed on April 15, 1981, for unspecified reasons.
The Petri ticket was dropped at the request of federal prosecutors and the Heckler ticket by a magistrate. The bureau was unable to trace the other two. Pinar says they were also dismissed.