March 6 (UPI) — Nashville Mayor Megan Barry resigned Tuesday amid a scandal that saw her plead guilty to felony theft related to an extramarital affair she had with a former bodyguard.
Barry, 54, said she had a near two-year affair with former head of security Rob Forrest. The affair prompted investigations into whether public funds were used as part of the relationship.
Forrest, who served as the leader of the mayoral security detail for 14 years, left his position as well. Barry said the affair began in 2015.
The Nashville leader pleaded guilty earlier Tuesday to felony theft — and will reimburse the city $11,000 and serve three years of probation.
District Attorney General Glenn Funk said if the case had gone to trial, witnesses would have testified that no less than $60,000 Nashville city funds were used unlawfully in the case.
Barry has denied any illegal activity related to the affair. At a news conference Tuesday, she said it was an “honor” to serve as Nashville’s mayor — and urged residents to support Vice Mayor David Briley, who will now succeed her.
“No one Is as excited about this city and its bright and limitless future as I am,” Barry said. “Nashville, with its boundless energy, its infectious optimism, it has 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.”
“I love you Nashville.”
The Democratic Barry is the city’s first mayor in nearly a century to leave office before the end of their term.