Nashville council may probe whether mayor's affair was 'on taxpayers' dime'

The Nashville city council's budget chairwoman is reviewing her options to probe Democratic Mayor Megan Barry’s possible misuse of taxpayer funds during her extramarital affair.

Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher, who heads the budget and finance committee, has asked the council’s lawyer to determine her authority to investigate Barry’s expenses during her tryst with with her former security chief, the Tennessean reported.

Barry racked up more than $33,000 in travel expenses combined between her and the security officer, Sgt. Robert Forrest, from January to late October 2017, and has said all of the trips were business-related.

According to a review by the Tennessean, Forrest accumulated more than $7,000 in overtime working on trips attended by Barry and others.

And in 2017, Forrest and Barry went on nine trips together – including one excursion to Greece -- that they said were "business related."

Forrest said Jan. 17 he would retire Wednesday after 31-plus years with Metro Nashville Police. He spent 14 years of that tenure supervising the mayor's security detail over three administrations.

“Right now the perception is — whether it’s true or not — that this affair occurred on taxpayers’ dime,” Vercher said, the Tennessean reported.

"Right now the perception is — whether it’s true or not — that this affair occurred on taxpayers’ dime.”

— Nashville Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher

Barry vowed during a Wednesday news conference to cooperate with any investigators reviewing her conduct.

“Absolutely,” Barry said. “Our records are available for anybody to look at.

“There were no policies that were violated,” she added. “Nothing illegal happened. The records will absolutely show that the expenses matched what the overtime expected.”

The popular mayor, who was elected in 2015, said she plans to continue in office.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.