The Fenty rumors have swirled for years, in the way that urban legends circulate.
There are numerous variations, but one of the most persistent is this: That Cathy Lanier covered up domestic dispute calls to the home of Mayor Adrian Fenty years ago when she was the commander of the 4th District police station, and he rewarded her by naming her police chief.
For the first time ever, Fenty addressed the rumors with a flat denial earlier this week. Today, Chief Lanier underscored the point on WTOP's Ask The Chief program. In response to a question from host Mark Segraves, Lanier said she’d been hearing the same stories for years.
"Without any question, nobody in the Metropolitan Police Department would cover that up,” Lanier said. “Certainly I wouldn't cover that up as a District Commander.”
Lanier pointed out that despite years of rumors, there’s never been any evidence. “Somebody would have come forward with factual information about that if that had happened,” she said.
On Tuesday morning, Fenty appeared on WPGC 95.5. Host Big Tigger asked the mayor to “address rumors of infidelity, domestic abuse and a potential divorce,” the Washington Post reported.
"None of that is true. Very happily married. Got three great kids. You see a lot, none of that has ever made it to the light of day," Fenty said, according to the Post.
"It borders on libel and slander, to be perfectly honest with you," Fenty said. "Every time something is raised, I send it right to my attorney because none of it is true."
When asked about it again on Thursday, he once again strongly denied the rumors.
"Anybody who takes this and makes it into an allegation is probably guilty of [slander and libel]," Fenty said after learning about Lanier's comments. "I'm going to refer anybody to my attorneys. And we're not going to take this lying down. They tried this when I ran four years ago. It's nothing more than the worst type of politics. ... It's 100 percent inaccurate."
"There's absolutely no accuracy to any of it," Fenty said, "and the fact that it continues is very, very likely politically motivated."
Lanier also said the rumors started when Fenty began his first campaign for mayor.
“People out there like to start vicious rumors,” Lanier said. “They know which ones are the most damaging ... Sometimes we just have to deal with that kind of craziness."