Photo courtesy of The Tennessean
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry pleaded guilty to felony theft of property over $10,000 and announced her formal resignation on Tuesday.
The resignation and plea agreement come after Barry announced that she had engaged in an extramarital affair with former Metro Police Sgt. Robert Forrest, who was in charge of her security detail at the time of the affair. The affair reportedly began in the spring or summer of 2016.
On Tuesday morning in the Davidson County Courthouse, Barry accepted a plea agreement, in which one of the conditions was her resignation from office. Barry also received three years of unsupervised probation from the agreement and must pay $11,000 in restitution to the city of Nashville. If Barry follows the agreement for three years, the charges can be expunged and dropped. Later that morning at Nashville’s city hall, Barry announced her resignation. Vice Mayor David Briley will be sworn in as acting mayor at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
Barry tweeted minutes after her resignation, saying that it was the “privilege” and “honor” of her career to serve as mayor.
It has been the honor and it has been the privilege of my entire professional life to have had the blessing of this opportunity to be your mayor. I love you, Nashville. https://t.co/19DmJnJG0C
— Megan Barry (@MeganCBarry) March 6, 2018
The tweet also included a link to her entire statement regarding her resignation. The statement reads,
“While my time as your mayor concludes today, my unwavering love and sincere affection for this wonderful city and its great people shall never come to an end. No one is as excited about this city, and its bright and limitless future, than I am. Nashville, with its boundless energy, its infectious optimism, its never- encountered-an-obstacle-it-couldn’t-overcome attitude, will, in the years ahead, continue its steady march toward the very top of the list of great American cities. It’s a continued climb that I will watch, but I will watch as a private citizen, and I will be tremendously proud nonetheless. While today is primarily about the smooth transition from my administration to that of Vice Mayor Briley, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge and thank the thousands and thousands of people who have reached out to me, written me, encouraged me, comforted me, worried endlessly about me, and most importantly prayed for me during these many difficult and trying months. In two and a half short years, we have made great strides and progress on affordable housing, transit, public education, youth opportunity, quality of life, and our economy. None of this would have been possible without my incredible staff, our talented department heads, and all of the dedicated men and women of the Metropolitan Government who have worked hard to make the lives of Nashvillians a little better each day. They got up yesterday, they got up today, and they will get up again tomorrow devoted to making sure our city sings. And I sincerely hope and believe that my own actions will not tarnish or otherwise detract from all of their great work. It has been the honor and it has been the privilege of my entire professional life to have had the blessing of this opportunity to be your mayor. Thank you in advance for the support that I am sure you will give to Mayor Briley in the days and weeks ahead. God bless this wonderful city. I love you, Nashville.”
According to reports by The Tennessean, a Nashville judge issued a search warrant in February, which sought possession of Barry’s cellphone. An affidavit, filed with the warrant, stated that nude photos that were found on Forrest’s phone were evidence of the former officer engaging in the affair while on duty. Forrest and Barry went on 10 city-funded trips with no other staff from the mayor’s office present, according to The Tennessean. In addition to this, Forrest gained $173,843.13 in overtime pay from July 2015 to January 2017.
Despite the suspicious nature of the pair’s relationship and use of city funds, Barry had previously stated that the affair did not lead to any illegal activity, and prior to Tuesday’s events, representatives from the mayor’s office had stated that she would not be resigning. However, since her affair was announced in January, investigations into Barry and Forrest’s relationship were launched by several entities, including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Nashville Metro Council.
Barry has served as the mayor of Nashville since September 2015.
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