The fallout from the revelation that Nashville’s mayor had an extramarital affair with her former security chief has led to an investigation that mentions a trip to Kansas City.
Megan Barry, who took office in 2015, admitted to the affair with Sgt. Robert Forrest on Jan. 31. Barry grew up in Overland Park, according to her campaign website, graduated from Notre Dame de Sion, and got her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan.
In light of the news, Nashville’s Metropolitan Council voted to open an investigation into whether public money was misused in trips and overtime expenses in relation to the affair, reported The Tennessean. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is also investigating the matter.
According to the USA Today, Forrest traveled with Barry on out-of-town trips beginning in June 2016, including nine trips in 2017 during which he was the only city employee to accompany the mayor.
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Barry’s office released a statement Monday detailing some of the trips, saying, “we believe that at no time did Mayor Barry or Sgt. Forrest ever attempt to use taxpayer dollars to support their extramarital affair.”
One of the trips mentioned in the mayor’s office statement was a visit to Kansas City last summer, when Barry was on official business to tour soccer and transit facilities and speak with the Kansas City Mayor Sly James.
Following the official visit, Barry stayed two extra days with her mother in Overland Park, according to the statement. She held a private memorial service for her son, Max, who died of a drug overdose last July. The flight was paid for out of Barry’s personal funds, the statement said.
During the trip, continued the statement, Forrest had a hotel room paid for by the city, considered “a legitimate business expense because of his need to help facilitate travel for the Mayor on her return home.”
Forrest, who retired from the Metro Nashville Police Department last month, released his own statement to The Tennessean through an attorney on Jan. 31.
“I deeply regret that my professional relationship with Mayor Barry turned into a personal one. 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,” Forrest said.
Barry apologized for her actions during a news conference last week, but has contended that nothing illegal happened and no policies were violated. Barry said the affair began in several months after she took office and is over. She said she apologized to her husband, Bruce, whom she said remains committed to their marriage.
Her office has released records of her text messages, calendar and travel expenses and records, and Barry said she will be transparent in cooperating with possible investigations.
“This is a very bad day. And I’m going to have several more bad days. But this is not my worst day,” Barry said at the press conference. “And I will tell you I know the difference between a mistake — I made a serious mistake — but this is not a tragedy.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.