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Charlotte mayor resigns after arrest on federal corruption charges

Patrick Cannon

Patrick Cannon

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon was arrested Wednesday on federal public corruption charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.

Cannon, 47, was charged with theft and bribery after an FBI sting operation. He said in a letter Wednesday evening that he is resigning as the city’s mayor, effective immediately.

FBI agents started an investigation in August 2010 after they received a tip that Cannon was potentially involved in illegal activities.

Authorities said Cannon solicited and accepted money bribes and things of value from undercover FBI agents, who were posing as commercial real estate developers.

cannonThe complaint and affidavit allege that during the course of that investigation, Cannon 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 documents, Cannon solicited and accepted such bribes and things of value in exchange for the use of his official position as Charlotte Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem and/or as a City Council Member.

Some of those “gifts” included trips to Las Vegas, briefcases full of cash and money for shopping trips.

PDF: Complaint filed against Charlotte mayor

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 Feb. 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 the 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 in court Wednesday 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 statutory maximum sentence of not more than 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine; and the charge of extortion under color of official right carries a statutory maximum sentence of not more than 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The charges contained in the criminal complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael E. Savage of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina. The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Full press release:

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 reliable information 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 as Charlotte Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem and/or as a City Council Member.

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, 2014, 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 the 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 statutory maximum sentence of not more than 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine; and the charge of extortion under color of official right carries a statutory maximum sentence of not more than 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The charges contained in the criminal complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

52 comments

  • Gene Bridges

    Unlike those fine upstanding white men (a) Mike Decker, a good member of a local independent Baptist church in this area no less, who switched parties in collusion with Speaker Jim Black, who bribed him and (b) Stephen LaRoque (R) of Kinston, NC, who was convicted of was convicted on 12 counts including theft, money laundering and filing false tax returns. Sinnerfrank’s memory is selectively short.

    • sinnerfrank

      Pay attention Gene !! I crack off hard and talk smack about all the taxpayer burdens and their crooked mess no matter to color or party,this is just warming up,The mess with Green _Hood and their council and the civil rights money hole is just starting as well !!

    • Hobbes

      You want to point to Decker? Decker was 2003. And he switched to the Democrat Party because he was bribed by a corrupt Democrat. That’s what you want to pin on the GOP? Black’s record of corruption makes Decker look like an altar boy. Do we even need to mention Gov. Easley?

  • FaithC

    Who cares what color he is…he took a Briefcase filled with cash, vacations, shopping money, more cash. He is a crook and he should have been arrested.

  • Scott Morgan

    Race isn’t the issue here. Neither is political affiliation. Corruption is the issue and I hope that if the allegations made are proven to be accurate, then Mr. Cannon should receive the maximum punishment possible. We could take a lesson from China on how to handle corrupt people once they’ve been proven guilty. Sadly, even if he’s proven to be guilty of these charges, the “good ‘ole boys club” will step in and it will be swept under the rug…

    • rembrandt

      He will probably do a nominal amount of time.
      He will get out the NAACP will get behind him and he’ll get re-elected just like Marion Barry.

  • Donnie

    No surprse about this one. Another Dem that thinks he is entitled to everything by hook or crook. It’s about time that the Feds looked at him.

  • Michelle

    If the feds have all this money to set up a politician why is America in debt? Smh they raise taxes and the govt clearly has money to waste. But people want to blame Obama lol only in Amerikkka.

  • tax payer who payes for all the free stuff obama gives you! your welcome

    As crooked as obama! And no I’m not racist, I’m American…….. watch 2016 Obama’s America, all facts that are scary!

  • mojorisin73

    Corruption knows no party lines because both the Democrats and the GOP have been corrupt for decades. What disturbs me is how stupid the majority of the American people are that continue to elect (and re-elect) the same 2 parties that are responsible for causing the demise of our once great country. All they care about is the highest bidder, not “We the People”

    • Kill The Poor

      “In the U.S. there is basically one party-the business party. It has two factions called Democrats and Republicans, which are somewhat different, but carry out variations on the same policies.” -Noam Chomsky

      “All propaganda has to be popular and has to accomodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.”
      -Adolf Hitler

      Frank Sinner, Will Grant, and Faith C as proof of what happens when you’re told what to think and believe your whole life. When critical thinking isn’t applied because you’ve been told that it’s wrong to to, you know, think for yourself. The idiot masses anywhere else do the same thing. Repulicans and Democrats. Same shit, different color.

  • 420 Associate

    So what about the FEDS that take bribes?????
    What about the republicans who’ve been getting away with the same thing?

  • WeBuiltThisCountry

    I recall when John Edwards got charged with embezzlement, you people where saying “innocent until proven guilty.”I hear the public saying “stop playing the race card”but in actually the justice system for blacks and spanish is totally different. When we get charged, we considered guilty!John Edwards spent tax payer money to have an affair on his dieing wife and there was 5 or 6 comments but we need to stop complaining about being treated unfairly

  • David Hedgecock

    You know what’s interesting is all the people in the media who are avoiding mentioning the fact that He’s a big time Democrat. I will promise you that had this been a Republican, it would have been front page headline with Republican as the first word in 2-3” block letters. Does anyone doubt it? Also, where were all the ‘journalists’ when they should have been vetting this Democrat so that he would never have made it to Mayor and brought this embarassment on Charlotte and N.C. And now, it’s amazing all the ‘journalists ‘ and former friends that are just flabbergasted and shocked and surprised at this story. It’s for sure just the tip of an ice berg of corruption that’s growing bigger. Sad that we have no investigative journalists anymore.

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