Nashville Mayor Megan Barry is facing an investigation after admitting last week to having an affair with the former head of her security detail, Metropolitan Nashville Police Department Sgt. Robert Forrest.
Both Barry and Forrest, who has since retired, have spouses.
On Tuesday, the Nashville City Council approved the establishment of a special committee to determine if the mayor misused public funds (which is a crime in Tennessee) as a result of the affair.
Per the Tennessean, Forrest accompanied Barry on 19 trips for city-related business between January and October 2017 at a cost of more than $30,000. Records show that on nine of the trips, including a seven-day visit to Athens, Greece, Forrest was Barry’s sole companion.
The mayor is also facing an ethics complaint speculating that her affair with Forrest may have factored into her decision not to support a civilian review board of the force.
The mayor’s office released a statement earlier this week welcoming any investigation into the affair and disputing claims that the mayor may have misspent money on travel.
“Mayor Barry has never sought reimbursement for meals or other expenses related to travel,” Barry’s communications director, Sean Braisted, said in a statement. “She has never sought to financially benefit from any of the travel she has taken on behalf of the city. We believe that at no time did Mayor Barry or Sgt. Forrest ever attempt to use taxpayer dollars to support their extramarital affair.”
“I just want to make it right,” Barry told Nashville’s NewsChannel 5 in an interview Thursday. “Whatever ‘right’ looks like for the citizens.”
In a statement issued through his lawyer last week, Forrester apologized to his family for his extramarital relationship, but denied any wrongdoing during his time as an officer.
“I deeply regret that my professional relationship with Mayor Barry turned into a personal one,” he said in the statement. “This has caused great pain for my wife, my family, friends and colleagues. At no time did I ever violate my oath as a police officer or engage in actions that would abuse the public trust.”