Law firm selected to investigate Nashville mayor's use of public money during affair

A Memphis-based law firm will lead a Metro Council panel's investigation into Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s use of taxpayer dollars during her affair with her former head of security, according to a report.

The seven-member special committee voted 5-0 Thursday to hire Burch Porter & Johnson to lead the probe, the Tennessean reported.

Mike Cody, who served as state attorney general in Tennessee from 1984 to 1988, will lead the investigation on behalf of the firm, the report said.

Barry, who admitted to a two-year affair with her former bodyguard, is represented by former U.S. attorney Jerry Martin, the newspaper reported.

Forrest, retired from the Metro Nashville Police Department, attended 10 city-funded trips alone with Barry and earned more than $170,000 in overtime pay, according to reports.

Call for resignation

The Tennessean had endorsed Barry, 54, a California-born Democrat, in the 2015 mayoral election, but its editorial board Wednesday called for her resignation “for Nashville’s sake.”

“These are not the actions of a leader who puts public service over personal interests,” David Plazas, opinion and engagement editor, wrote on behalf of the board. “It is time for Mayor Megan Barry to resign.”

"These are not the actions of a leader who puts public service over personal interests. It is time for Mayor Megan Barry to resign."

— Editorial in the Tennessean

Another firm, Butler Snow, had been in the running to lead the investigation, but it proposed an hourly rate of $420, compared to Burch Porter & Johnson’s $395 per hour.

"It may not mean a lot to us, but it means a lot to a lot of people," Councilman Robert Swope, another committee member, told the Tennessean.

Vice Mayor David Briley was tasked with searching for the legal counsel, the newspaper reported.

Briley decided against Butler Snow also because it had a Nashville office, the report said. He wanted to “avoid any appearance of a conflict, either as a result of the firm’s relationship with the city, Metro Government or me personally.”

A separate investigation of Barry is being conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.