Nashville Mayor Megan Barry pleaded guilty to theft of property over $10,000 charge on Tuesday morning and has resigned as mayor as part of her plea agreement.
Barry appeared before Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins on the charge. She waived the right to present the case to the grand jury.
As part of the plea deal, Barry will receive three years of probation and will repay Metro Nashville $11,000 in unlawful expenditures.
Vice Mayor David Briley will be sworn in as the new mayor at 5 p.m. Barry's resignation is effective at 5 p.m.RELATED DOCUMENTS: Barry criminal complaint | Barry's resignation letter | Forrest criminal complaintBarry announced her resignation at a news conference. She was spotted arriving at her home just before 2 p.m.
"While my time as your mayor concludes today, my unwavering love and sincere affection for this wonderful city and its great people shall never come to an end," Barry said in a news conference.
"In two and a half short years, we have made great strides and progress on affordable housing, transit, public education, youth opportunity, quality of life, and our economy.
"None of this would have been possible without my incredible staff, our talented department heads, and all of the dedicated men and women of the Metropolitan Government who have worked hard to make the lives of Nashvillians a little better each day."
According to the district attorney's office, Barry has repaid the $11,000, which represented Forrest's travel expenses. Barry's probation will be unsupervised. Her unsupervised probation does not restrict travel within the United States.
Briley, 54, will follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, Beverly Briley, as mayor of Nashville.
“This is a hard day for Nashville. Mayor Barry’s resignation will enable us to regain focus on the important work of our city," Briley said in a statement. “My pledge is simple: As mayor, I will begin work immediately with a sole focus on managing the city and making progress on community priorities. That work will be transparent and be conducted with every effort to restore public trust, and move our great city forward.”
Beverly Briley served as the first mayor of Metropolitan Nashville when he served from 1963-1975. Beverly Briley is the namesake of Briley Parkway, which circles most of the city.
Barry wrote a two-sentence statement of resignation hand delivered to Briley and Metropolitan Clerk Elizabeth Waites.
"I hereby resign the office of Metropolitan County Mayor effective at of 5:00 p.m., March 6, 2018. It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as Mayor of this great city and I will forever be grateful to the voters of Nashville and Davidson County."
Barry has accepted three years of probation on the charge and will have the chance to have the charge dismissed and expunged from her record if she successfully completes probation.
Barry admitted on Jan. 31 that she had an affair with her former chief of security Sgt. Rob Forrest. Forrest retired from the Metro Police department just before the affair became public.
RELATED CONTENT: Bruce Barry breaks the silence on his wife's affair, tweeting support for mayor? | Nashville mayor admits affair with security chief | TBI to investigate if Mayor Barry broke law during affair with bodyguard | Mayor, bodyguard lingered on taxpayer-funded trips after public events | Mayor Barry answers questions related to affair with former bodyguard | Mayor’s attorney asking for DA Glenn Funk to recuse himself from investigation | Attorney for mayor says she has turned over passcode to personal phone to TBI | Mayor Megan Barry denies knowledge of alleged lewd photos| Wife of Mayor Barry’s former bodyguard file for divorce following affair | Barry pleads guilty to criminal charge, resigns as mayor | Barry’s legacy began before she took officeForrest also entered anegotiated plea agreement
on a charge of theft of property over $10,000.
Forrest was sentenced to three years probation and will be required to reimburse Metro Nashville $45,000 that was paid to him as salary and/or overtime during times when he was not performing his duties as Barry's security detail.
"Today's conditional guilty plea by Rob Forrest and the associated statement of facts are indicative of his betrayal of the citizens of Nashville and the men and women of this police department," said Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson in a news release. "Forrest was in a unique assignment away from his chain of command on a daily basis. From all accounts, he had performed well in that assignment during the Purcell and Dean administrations. Forrest supervisor's trusted him. We now know that he betrayed that trust during the Barry administration, leaving behind a sentiment of disdain among those who continue in their work with the Metropolitan Police Department. I am among those who share that sentiment."
He will also be able to petition to expunge his record if he successfully completes his probation.
District Attorney Glenn Funk met with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday and informed them that the investigation into the case may be closed.
Funk asked the TBI to investigate whether there was any inappropriate use of public monies in relation to Barry and Forrest's travel.
The full statement from the district attorney's office:Regarding reimbursement amounts: All members of the security detail saw an increase in hours worked under the Barry administration as opposed to previous administrations. Robert Forrest’s hours increased significantly more than other members of the detail. 45,000 dollars represents an acceptable figure for his increase in hours and pay in contrast to other members of the detail. The 11,000 dollars paid by Megan Barry represents Robert Forrest’s travel expenses.
The time frame given in court today of March 1, 2016 through January of 2018 represents the approximate dates of the affair between Megan Barry and Robert Forrest.
Megan Barry and Robert Forrest entered conditional pleas, meaning that if they successfully complete probation, they could then petition the court to have their records expunged. If expunged, there would be no criminal record.
Megan Barry is eligible for T.C.A. §40-35-313 because Mr. Forrest admitted that he improperly received more than 10,000 dollars in city compensation for time he reported as work hours which were actually personal time with Megan Barry. Megan Barry’s personal time did not involve the duties of her office or her official capacity, which is why she was charged with and pled guilty to theft of property.
Megan Barry complied with the conditions of her probation by repaying the 11,000 dollar reimbursement to the city and resigning her office today. Therefore, her probation will be unsupervised, which means she will have no probation officer. Her unsupervised probation does not restrict travel within the U.S.
Following Megan Barry and Robert Forrest’s guilty pleas today, Glenn Funk met with the TBI and informed them that the investigation into this matter may be closed. By state statute, TBI investigative reports are not public records.After the DA Office's statement was released, News4 confirmed that the TBI have officially closed their investigation. In a statement to News4, a TBI spokesperson said:Upon the request from District Attorney General Glenn Funk, we will conclude our investigation on this matter.
Regards, Susan Niland Vice Mayor David Briley will be sworn in as mayor at 5 p.m. inside the Metro Council chambers at the Davidson County Courthouse.
Barry, the first woman elected as mayor in Nashville, is the first mayor to leave office since the January 1938 death of Hilary Howse. Howse died in office after serving almost 15 years in office.
Former Mayor Felix Wilson is the last mayor to be removed from office. He was voted out of office by the city council in November 1922.
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