Fenty's Buddy Drives Him Around … Illegally?

Only officers, employees can drive city-owned vehicles

First there was the secret trip to Dubai. Then there were the baseball tickets.  After that, the pool heater.

Now, the chauffeur.

District Mayor Adrian Fenty can't seem to get past controversies this year. The latest involves his mode of transportation. It seems the mayor's friend has been driving him around town recently in a city-owned vehicle.

Depending on who you ask, that's not exactly legal.

The Washington Post reported that it spotted Fenty riding in a city-owned Lincoln Navigator on May 13 in northeast D.C. that was driven by his friend, Keith Lomax. Lomax, the Post reported, is a businessman who does work for the city ($11 million since Fenty took office) and was once the mayor's high school substitute teacher.

When asked if someone other than a city employee is allowed to serve as his driver, Fenty allegedly told the Post, "He is if I let him."

Zing.

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Fenty's right-hand man, AG Peter Nickles, tried to tell the Post the move wasn't illegal: "the Mayor's use of the vehicle was within the scope of his official duties and privileges, and therefore usage was neither wasteful nor illegal."

But city auditor Deborah Nichols said otherwise: "It is not my understanding that there is a provision in the law or regulation in the law that allows civilians to drive city-owned vehicles."

So here we go again. As soon as Ticketgate ends, Poolgate and Drivergate begin.

Oh and one final note from the Post's digging:

Some people who work in City Hall say they have seen Lomax driving Fenty but declined to speak publicly for fear of running afoul of the mayor.

Seems kind of sad that those in and around the mayor's office could be fearful for their jobs if they try to speak out on what's really going on behind the scenes...

UPDATE:  Fenty responded to reporter questioning about his driver pal again Tuesday morning, saying, "I'm not going to do that anymore. ... No more letting anyone else drive."  Fenty admitted he "made a bad decision."   Quite a change in tone from his reponse to the Post earlier.  Sounds like someone had a chat with our fine mayor...

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