Committee to meet for first time to investigate mayor's affair - WSMV News 4

Special committee investigating mayor's affair meets for first time

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Metro Council's special committee met for the first time Thursday afternoon to begin their investigation into Mayor Megan Barry’s affair with her former bodyguard.

The committee will be working to figure out if taxpayer dollars were used to pay for several solo trips that Barry and Sgt. Rob Forrest took together. 

Seven councilmembers were chosen by Vice Mayor David Briley and asked to become members of this special committee.

Briley named Erica Gilmore, Bob Mendes, Brenda Haywood, Robert Swope, Burkley Allen, Mina Johnson and Russ Pulley to serve on the special committee created by Council vote in last week’s meeting.

In the meeting Thursday, committee members appointed District 18 Councilwoman Allen as chair of the special committee.

She was nominated for the position as well as Councilman-at-Large Bob Mendez.

However, Allen was awarded the position over Mendez in a 4-2 vote by the members with Allen voting for herself and Mendez abstaining.

Some concerns about the appointment could be raised, considering that Allen was one of the seven councilmembers (out of 40) to vote against creating the special committee. Not to mention, Barry lives in her district. 

Earlier this week, Mayor Barry signed an executive order saving a 100-year-old tree near Belmont University’s campus. 

Councilwoman Allen, who has worked for more than two decades planting and protecting trees in District 18, stood alongside Barry at Tuesday’s announcement. 

She declined to answer questions from News 4 about their close ties. 

“As the investigation is ongoing we will not be able to comment until the investigation is complete,” Allen said.  “That’s all I can say.”

The committee also voted Thursday to bring in outside legal counsel to consult on the investigation. 

Briley will bring two local firms as options to the committee's next meeting, which will be held on March 1. 

In that meeting, members of the special committee will vote on which one they will retain for the investigation. 

Upon its inception, Briley urged the committee to obtain outside counsel to coordinate efforts with the Metro Auditor and Board of Ethical Conduct.

Officials from the Metro Nashville Office on Internal Audit confirmed earlier this week the request for the Metro Audit Committee to investigate Mayor Megan Barry's affair was approved.

The auditor will help the committee look at Barry's travel expenses and Forrest’s overtime pay, which has raised a lot of questions.

Barry and Forrest took 10 trips together without anyone else accompanying them.

The number of trips they took significantly increased after their affair started in 2016, according to travel documents released from Barry's office.

Vice Mayor David Briley is asking members to be "fair and impartial."


READ MORE: News 4's continuing coverage of the mayor's affair

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