NASHVILLE (CelebrityAccess) Nashville is getting hit by “the biggest scandal to rock the Nashville’s mayor’s office in recent memory,” as put by the Nashville Business Journal, adding that “it’s just the beginning.”
Mayor Megan Barry has admitted to an affair with her just-departing head of security, in itself maybe not the most salacious admission in the history of politics, but the devil is apparently in the details and the admission, in interviews with The Tennessean and NewsChannel5 as well as in a press conference, has made national news as well as hitting the trades like Music Row magazine.
The head of detail was Sgt. Robert Forrest Jr. of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, as identified by the Tennessean. He had been in charge of at least two other mayor’s details and had submitted his retirement in January, with his last day Jan. 31. The affair is said to have began mid-2016.
Barry, a democrat elected in 2015, is considered a rising political star, according to the Washington Post, with the city’s growth both in size and in attention growing exponentially. She performed the first same-sex wedding in Nashville in 2015 and is credited for opening the city’s first Ikea outlet, slated for 2020. However, yesterday’s announcement may not bode well for a contentious $5.4 billion mass-transit project that is up for voter approval in May. Last year she proclaimed Ryman Auditorium Day in the city and helped Music Row unveil the new signage for the city’s iconic RCA Studio A, the namesake of Chris Stapleton’s recent From A Room albums.
Forrest accompanied Barry on trips to Paris, Athens, Washington, New York, Denver, Oakland and other cities in the past year, according to the Tennessean, and nine of the trips were only Barry and Forrest, including the trip to Greece. Forrest got $33,000 in expenses and more than $50,000 in overtime last year on top of his $84,500 salary, the paper said.
“I deeply regret that my professional relationship with Mayor Barry turned into a personal one,” Forrest said in a statement provided by lawyer David Raybin. “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.”
Barry released the following statement:
“Today, I have acknowledged publicly that I have engaged in an extramarital affair with the former head of my security detail.
“I accept full responsibility for the pain I have caused my family and his. I am so sorry to my husband Bruce, who has stood by me in my darkest moments and remains committed to our marriage, just as I am committed to repairing the damage I have done.
“I also must apologize to the people of Nashville who elected me to serve as your mayor. I knew my actions could cause damage to my office and the ones I loved, but I did it anyway. I must hold myself to the highest standard of which the voters deserve to expect. Please know that I’m disappointed in myself but also understand that I’m a human and that I made a mistake.
“In 2015, I was elected to serve as Mayor of Nashville on a platform that included building more affordable housing, improving public education, and promoting better transportation options. We have made progress on these fronts – but there is more to be done. While I regret any distractions that will be caused by my actions, I remain firmly committed to working hard to serve the people of Nashville now and into the future.
“God will forgive me, but the people of Nashville don’t have to. In the weeks and months to come, I will work hard to earn your forgiveness and earn back your trust.”