Mayor, bodyguard stayed longer after taxpayer-funded trips - WSMV News 4

I-Team: Mayor, bodyguard lingered on taxpayer-funded trips after public events

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Mayor Megan Barry (WSMV) Mayor Megan Barry (WSMV)
Metro Police Sgt. Robert Forrest Metro Police Sgt. Robert Forrest

On more than one occasion, Mayor Megan Barry and her former bodyguard stayed on taxpayer-funded trips for days after completing city business.

The News 4 I-Team discovered that in some cases, the pair did not immediately fly back to Nashville after scheduled public events ended.

Barry publicly admitted yesterday to having an affair with her former chief of security, Sgt. Rob Forrest, dating back to 2015.

Now the TBI is investigating whether Barry and others, including Forrest, committed any criminal wrongdoing.

RELATED STORIES: Nashville mayor admits affair with security chief | I-Team: Did taxpayer money fund any part of Mayor Barry's affair | TBI to investigate Mayor Barry

When Barry traveled to Greece in 2017, she stayed in avant-garde style at the Pallas Athena hotel in Athens, and she wasn’t alone. Forrest stayed at the Pallas Athena during the same time, according to travel logs.

The mayor’s schedule shows she flew to Greece to attend the Athens Democracy Forum. Her calendar shows she attended related events until Sept. 15.

But after that date, documents show she and Forrest stayed in Athens for three nights with nothing on her Metro schedule.

Even the agenda for the forum appeared thin, featuring a “film session” for the weekend.

“If you’ve already found this, then I say we better all start asking questions,” said Metro Councilman Steve Glover.

Barry also traveled alone with Forrest to Kansas City, MO, in 2017.

Her calendar dated Sept. 1 shows Barry took a tour of Children’s Mercy Park, ate lunch with the mayor of Kansas City, embarked on a transit tour, and ate dinner - commitments that total roughly four and a half hours.

RELATED DOCUMENTS: Mayor Megan Barry's travel schedule | Travel expenses for Mayor Megan Barry and Sgt. Rob Forrest | Mayor Megan Barry's calendar - Jan. 1, 2017-Jan. 26, 2018 | Sgt. Rob Forrest's retirement letter | Sgt. Rob Forrest's statement (1/31/18) | Board of Ethical Conduct Chair statement (2/1/18)

After those events, Barry’s schedule appears blank.

She and Forrest spent two more nights in Kansas City before flying back to Nashville.

“Have the taxpayers been cheated? Simple as that,” Glover said.

The I-Team reached out to the mayor's office for comment Thursday morning about the details of both trips.

On Saturday, spokesman Sean Braisted said Barry attended a private memorial for her son on Sept. 2, which is one of the days that appeared blank on her schedule.

Max Barry died from a drug overdose last summer.

"As for Kansas City, the Mayor stayed with her mother in Overland Park, Kansas and had a private memorial for her son Max with family on Saturday. Mayor Barry was raised in Kansas," wrote Braisted in an e-mail sent Saturday morning.

Braisted said Sgt. Forrest stayed for the duration of the trip.

"We are still gathering information and records on all of the trips," said Braisted in response to inquiries about the trip to Athens.

The News 4 I-Team found Barry and Forrest traveled alone together on nine trips last year, costing the taxpayers more than $14,000.

That total does not include trips possibly taken together during 2015 and 2016, which is information the mayor’s office has yet to release.

Barry said at a news conference Wednesday that every trip she took with Forrest was for business.

“I would have had the security detail with me as part of my mayor responsibilities regardless of who that person was, but I should not have had that affair,” she said.

But Glover, a frequent critic of Barry, has his doubts about why Nashville’s mayor would need overseas security at all.

“I’d doubt they’d notice her in Paris, France, so I don’t understand the security concern,” he said.

Two council members approached Metro Government on Thursday about launching an internal audit into the mayor’s expenses.

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