Council member's car booted for unpaid tickets

Local,Michael Neibauer

D.C. Councilman Harry Thomas Jr.'s sport utility vehicle was immobilized by the Department of Public Works for four unpaid parking tickets, totaling $655, that the Ward 5 representative claims he never should have gotten.

Thomas' 2007 Audi Q7 was booted at about 7 p.m. Wednesday as he attended a meeting with constituents.

"They were not valid tickets," Thomas told the Examiner on Sunday.

Thomas said the boot has been released and he's fighting the fines. The council, in 2002, voted to exempt itself from most parking-related penalties, but Thomas said that in instances where there are "discrepancies," he will "usually pay them up front and try to work them out later."

But not in this case.

"I should not have been ticketed," he said.

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Audi was ticketed between Sept. 21 and Dec. 15 for being parked in a rush hour lane, $205, parked during street cleaning hours, $65, parked in a loading zone, $105, and parked in a bus zone, $205. The fines increase the longer they go unpaid.

Thomas is the second council member in two weeks who has run into trouble over parking violations. At-large Councilman Kwame Brown's Mercedes-Benz, the blog DCist reported, was ticketed and towed at about 4:30 p.m. March 8 for parking in a rush hour lane near Metro Center. Brown was running a personal errand involving his daughter's school.

"He made the commitment to pay for it," said Michael Price, Brown's spokesman.

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