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When the issue of a new fence and retaining wall later surfaced, city officials asked Mr. Gray to respond. But after three months of written requests did not resolve the matter, Mr. Gray’s case caught the attention of the city’s top lawyer.

On Monday, D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles said, “I’m mystified why we can’t get this matter resolved.”

Also on Monday, D.C. lawmakers and staff had muted reaction to the controversy. Some dismissed it outright.

Council member Mary Cheh, a law professor at George Washington University and an ally of Mr. Gray’s, claimed ignorance of the law. “I should be more informed,” she said, noting that she was not familiar with the building codes. “I’m thinking about replacing my fence. Now I see that I’ll be applying for a permit.”

Council member Harry Thomas Jr., another Gray ally, called the fence permit “a very technical issue that can be worked out.” Asked whether the city has been lenient with Mr. Gray until now, he replied, “No. If anything, we get held to a higher standard.”

A spokesman for Council member Jim Graham, also a Fenty ally, both downplayed the matter and acknowledged that the process has dragged on. “It doesn’t strike me as anything out of the ordinary. I don’t think DDOT’s findings are correct. Maybe that’s why they are slow-walking this.”

A recent Clarus Research Group poll showed Mr. Gray leading Mr. Fenty in popularity.