Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon was arrested Wednesday on federal public corruption laws, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.
In a federal complaint, he is charged with theft and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds honest wire fraud and extortion under color of official right. Cannon, 47, had his initial appearance today and has been released on bond, pending indictment.
Gov. Pat McCrory issued the following 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,” McCrory said. “This is not the city that I know, served and love. This alleged behavior is inexcusable and cannot be tolerated.”
Speaking on behalf of the City Council, Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes said they learned about the allegations today. The council expects the city’s business to conducted honestly and that city services will continue. Cannon will remain mayor until he either resigns or is convicted. If Cannon leaves office the city council will appoint a mayor.
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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, according to the press release from the US Attorney’s Office.
The Charlotte Observer reported Cannon solicited and accepted money bribes and things of value from undercover FBI agents, who were posing as commercial real estate developers and investors wishing to do business in Charlotte.
According to the affidavit, Cannon is accused of soliciting and accepting more than $48,000 in cash, airline tickets, a hotel room and the use of a luxury apartment in exchange for the use of his official position as Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem and/or Council Member of the City of Charlotte. From January 17, 2013 to February 21, 2014, Cannon accepted payments from undercover FBI agents in exchange for access to city officials with responsibility for planning, zoning and permitting. On the last occasion, Cannon is accused of accepting $20,000 in the Mayor’s office.
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, according to the release.
Read more on the Charlotte Observer.