Nashville Mayor Resigns, Pleads Guilty To Felony Theft
"My time today as your mayor concludes," Nashville Mayor Megan Barry said Tuesday after pleading guilty to felony theft of property amounting to more than $10,000.
The resignation comes after she admitted last month to having an extramarital affair with the former head of her security detail, Sgt. Rob Forrest, that dates back to 2016.
At the time, her travel expenses came under scrutiny. The Tennessean reported that the two racked up more than $33,000 in expenses over the course of 10 months. She initially denied improperly using taxpayer money.
As Nashville Public Radio reported, since then, "multiple investigations have been ramping up in recent weeks about whether Forrest and Barry broke any laws."
In court on Tuesday morning, Barry entered her plea of guilty on allegations that between March 2016 and January 2018, she unlawfully expended over $10,000 of Nashville city funds on Forrest.
"Are those facts basically true?" the judge asked Barry, in video posted by The Tennessean.
"Yes, sir," she replied.
At a news conference later that morning, she thanked her supporters and called it a privilege to serve as mayor. "My unwavering love and sincere affection for this wonderful city and its great people will never come to an end," she said.
"I sincerely hope and believe that my own actions will not tarnish or detract from all of the great work" that her staff does, she told reporters. Barry did not take questions.
Nashville Public Radio reports that Barry has faced growing pressure since the revelation of her affair. Here's more from the member station:
"Calls for Barry to resign have been popping up in yard signs around town in recent weeks, amid charges that the mayor's affair reveals poor judgment and possible conflicts of interest. She is being investigated by a Metro Council special committee and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for potential misuse of funds.
"More salacious chatter about locked cellphones and nude photos provides new grist for the gossip mill, making it harder for Barry to change the subject. Still, a recent Vanderbilt University poll found Barry holding on to a 61 percent approval rating."
Barry, a Democrat, has served as mayor since 2015, and during that time she has faced family tragedy. Her only son died last July of a drug overdose.
Nashville Vice Mayor David Briley is set to take over as interim mayor, and Barry stressed that her focus is helping to make a smooth transition to his administration.
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