Chattanooga mayor denies sexual relationship with staffer

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke denied allegations that he maintained an inappropriate sexual relationship with one of his senior advisers Wednesday, five days after his adviser’s husband was arrested for domestic assault.

Further from the Times-Free Press:

As soon as Bobby Stone, 54, went to jail, rumors quickly began to spread that he attacked his wife, Lacie Stone, 38, after discovering she was romantically involved with Berke, who is also married. Berke said in a statement that Bobby Stone was lying.

“Upon being arrested and charged, her husband made numerous false allegations about me and other people involved in city government,” Berke said. “It is unfortunate that this situation escalated to the point of a domestic assault. Let me be clear: the allegations are absolutely false.”

Berke did not answer multiple previous requests for comment from the Times Free Press and declined to comment further, “out of respect for the ongoing investigation.”

Bobby Stone declined to comment when reached by phone on Monday. His attorney, Lee Davis, said today that he believes Berke’s comments, as well as comments made today by Police Chief Fred Fletcher, threaten Bobby Stone’s chance to have fair proceedings in court.

“I am highly concerned by these officials’ actions and their voluntary choice to publicly offer opinions about a pending court case when each of them has a personal and professional interest involved,” Davis said in a statement. “It is not fair to Mr. Stone and it is a disservice to the court.”

Lacie Stone has not returned multiple requests for comment.

The domestic incident happened around 11:30 p.m. Friday, records show. Lacie Stone told police that she and her husband fought over her phone. Bobby Stone admitted to investigators that he dragged her by the belt to the door of their home in North Chattanooga and told her to leave, according to the police report.

Lacie Stone said her phone was crushed during the disagreement. Bobby Stone told police his wife hit him in the forehead during the struggle as she tried to keep the phone. Both Bobby Stone and Lacie Stone showed evidence of injuries, according to the report.