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Felony, not affair, prompts Nashville mayor’s resignation

Posted at 1:59 PM, Mar 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-06 13:59:20-05

NASHVILLE — Nashville Mayor Megan Barry announced her resignation at a news conference Tuesday morning after she admitted to felony theft.

“My time today as your mayor concludes,” Barry, a Democrat, told reporters, thanking the support staff she’s worked with during her tenure.

“I sincerely hope and believe that my own actions will not tarnish or otherwise detract from all of the great work they do,” she continued. Barry later tweeted that her tenure was “the privilege of my entire professional life.”

Barry pleaded guilty earlier Tuesday morning to felony theft of property over $10,000, according to court documents obtained by CNN. She agreed to reimburse the city of Nashville $11,000 and serve three years of probation.

Also on Tuesday, the former head of Barry’s security detail, Rob Forrest, pleaded guilty to theft of property over $10,000. He has agreed to serve three years supervised probation and to repay the city of Nashville $45,000, court documents obtained by CNN show.

In January, Barry admitting to having an affair with Forrest in 2016 and apologized.

Barry also offered her support to former Vice Mayor David Briley, who will serve as acting mayor of Nashville.

It’s unclear whether Tuesday’s guilty pleas are related to the affair, and a message left with the Nashville district attorney’s office was not immediately returned.

According to The Tennessean, the two were often partaking in domestic and international travel for work, which led Forrest to rack up $33,000 in expenses and $50,000 plus in overtime in 2017 on top of his $84,500 salary. Nine of the trips were only attended by Barry and Forrest.

Barry told the newspaper at the time that she wouldn’t be resigning from office over the matter.

Last month, authorities charged in court documents that newly discovered nude cell phone photos may be evidence that Barry and Forrest were having an affair while he was being paid to be her bodyguard.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Forrest used a work phone to take two photos while on duty. Investigators said evidence pointed to the possibility that crimes — official misconduct and theft of property — occurred.

TBI investigators say they looked at Forrest’s phone and his emails after Barry admitted publicly to the affair. Two of his emails each contained one photo that showed a partially nude or fully naked woman, court documents say. The documents do not say the woman is Barry.

“The allegations of photos taken of myself are very troubling and infuriating if true,” Barry said in a statement after the documents were released.