Patrick Cannon has been arrested on charges of public corruption causing him to resign his position as the mayor of North Carolina’s largest city, Charlotte. On Wednesday, US Attorney Anne Tompkins announced that the mayor is facing charges of bribery and theft.
Sources are reporting that Cannon accepted bribes from FBI agents who were working undercover and that he also solicited these bribes from agents who were posing as real estate developers who potentially wanted to begin doing some business in Cannon’s city, Charlotte. According to court documents the former mayor is accused of accepting these bribes on five separate occasions. The most recent incident involved Cannon accepting $20,000 in cash in the mayor’s office.
He is believed to have solicited more than $48,000 in airline tickets, a hotel room, the use of a luxurious apartment from January 2013 to February 2014 and cash. Cannon accepted all of these bribes in exchange for the use of his political position to further the undercover real estate developer’s interests.
Just hours after he was charged with these crimes Cannon resigned. A spokesman for the city said that Cannon turned in his resignation via a letter to the city manager and the city attorney.
Cannon, 47, was a longtime radio talk show host and founded E-Z Parking before replacing Anthony Foxx as mayor back in November. If Cannon is convicted of all charges, he could face nearly 20 years in a state prison and be saddled with fines totaling $1 million.
The investigation into Cannon’s dealings actually began when Cannon was only an at-large member of the Charlotte City Council. He was elected to the council in 1993, only 26 years old making him the youngest council member ever in Charlotte. The investigation began in 2010.
“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, serve and love,” said Pat McCrory, former Charlotte mayor. He also added that the behavior that Cannon has been charged with is not tolerable and there are no excuses for his actions.
Cannon is accused of helping an undercover agent, posing as a venture capitalist, get the necessary permits so that he could start a nightclub. The case against Cannon also references an incident in which an agent asked Cannon to move his application for business licenses and permits to the top of the list. Cannon is reported to have responded, “Yeah, not a problem.”
Allegedly Cannon told the nightclub owner that the money he was getting was only startup money for a product the owner wanted to start selling in the US. Cannon supposedly told him it was not for permits and licensing because he was not the “Chicago or Detroit type” of corrupt mayor. He also said that though he looks good in an orange neck tie he does not look good in an orange suit. After resigning as mayor, Cannon will now be battling to stay out of a facility where he would have to wear just that.
By Nick Manai