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Charlotte mayor quits after fed bust
FBI arrests Cannon on corruption charges, theft
 
Published Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:50 pm
by Michaela L. Duckett and Herbert L. White

Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon resigned today after he was arrested by FBI agents for alleged violations of federal public corruption laws.

FILE PHOTO
Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon, taking the oath of office in November 2013, was arrested by FBI agents Wednesday and charged with violating federal theft and bribery laws.

The federal criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, charges Cannon, 47, with theft and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, honest services wire fraud and extortion under color of official right, said Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

"I hereby give notice of my resignation from the position of the Mayor of the City of Charlotte, effective immediately," Cannon wrote in a letter to City Manager Ron Carlee and City Attorney Bob Hagemann. "In light of the charges that have been brought against me, it is my judgment that the pendency of these charges will create too much of a distraction for the business of the City to go forward smoothly and without interruption."

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes – who succeeded Cannon in November – will lead City Council meetings until Cannon's replacement is named.

According to allegations contained in the charging document and the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, during the course of a separate criminal investigation, the FBI received a tip that Cannon was potentially involved in illegal activities associated with his position as an elected official, and began an undercover investigation in or about August 2010.

The complaint and affidavit allege that during the course of that investigation, Cannon allegedly solicited and accepted money bribes and things of value from undercover FBI agents, posing as commercial real estate developers and investors wishing to do business in Charlotte. As alleged in the filed documents, Cannon solicited and accepted such bribes and things of value in exchange for the use of his official position.

The complaint and law enforcement affidavit allege that Cannon accepted the bribes from the undercover FBI agents on five separate occasions. On the last occasion, on February 21, Cannon allegedly accepted $20,000 in cash in the mayor’s office. According to the complaint and the affidavit, between January 2013 and February 2014, Cannon allegedly accepted from undercover agents over $48,000 in cash, airline tickets, a hotel room, and use of a luxury apartment in exchange for the use of his official position.

Cannon had his initial appearance today and has been released on bond, pending indictment. The charge of theft and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine; the charge of honest services wire fraud carries a maximum of not more than 20 years and a $1 million fine; and extortion under color of official right carries a maximum sentence of not more than 20 years and a $250,000 fine.

Cannon, who was elected to his first term as mayor in November, wrote that Charlotte will survive what appears to be its largest local political scandal in recent memory.

"It is my hope that by my taking this action, the members of our City Council and the staff of the City will continue to move the City forward," he said. "The City is fortunate to have officials and staff who are competent, loyal and committed to advancing the interests of all our people.

"I regret that I have to take this action, but I believe that is in the best interest of the City for me to do so."

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor who served with Cannon on Charlotte City Council, said in a statement: “I am both saddened and angered because I have known Patrick and his family for over 30 years, but more than anything, my heart is broken for the City of Charlotte. This is not the city that I know, served and love. This alleged behavior is inexcusable and cannot be tolerated.”

James Mitchell, a U.S. House candidate who lost the Democratic primary to Cannon, said: "When I ran for mayor, it wasn’t to run against Patrick Cannon, it was because I had ideas to make Charlotte a better city. 


It’s important that Charlotte have leaders it can trust. I’m focused on running for Congress, and will watch as the judicial process unfolds." 

 

Click here to download federal indictment

Click here for the resignation letter

Comments

Patrick Cannon remains innocent until proven guilty and nothing is gained by trying him in the court of public opinion. To your journey!
Posted on March 28, 2014
 
We still can't trust Gov. Pat. We have no Congressman in District 12 !!!!!!!
Posted on March 27, 2014
 
He had lot of dealing with Mr. Sean Kennedy who own club Privilege at uptown Charlotte
Posted on March 26, 2014
 
Please put this so called man in jail and throw away the key! He is and always has been trash!
Posted on March 26, 2014
 
He needs to be investigated by The City of Charlotte for the scam he ran at Reid Park CDC! He and Ricky Hall could write a book!! Fraud and money scam!!
Posted on March 26, 2014
 

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