From http://www.wcnc.com, March 27, 2014
FBI agents arrested Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon Wednesday morning on public corruption charges.
Mayor Cannon appeared in federal court briefly this afternoon, 114 days after taking office.
Cannon, 47, faces several charges including theft and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, honest services wire fraud and extortion under color of official right.
The arrest follows an undercover investigation that began in August 2010. Authorities allege Cannon solicited and accepted cash from undercover FBI agents posing as real estate developers and investors who wanted to do business in Charlotte.
Cannon, a Charlotte native, allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for the privileges of his position as an elected official, whether it be as mayor, mayor pro tem or a city council member.
The FBI says he accepted money from agents on five separate occasions. The last was on Feb. 21, 2014. He is accused of accepting $20,000 in cash at the mayor’s office. The exchanges began in January 2013, according to the Department of Justice.
In total, Mayor Cannon accepted about $48,000 in cash, airline tickets, a hotel room and use of a luxury apartment, the FBI says. Some of the money, documents say, included cash to fund a business Cannon said he wanted to fund called HERS, a feminine hygiene product to be sold in the United States.
The indictment against Cannon alleges he characterized any rewards as business investments that were unrelated to his public office.
NBC Charlotte reporter Rad Berky was the only one outside of the courthouse when Mayor Cannon walked out from the building. The mayor didn’t have much to say when asked about the charges.
“What happened? Can you tell us what happened?” — RB
“Well, nothing at this point that I can discuss. But I’ll certainly be back in contact with you.” — PC
“What would you tell the voters of the city today, sir?” — RB
“There’s nothing too much I can say at this point, but when I’m able to, I’ll touch base.” — PC
Michael Barnes is the current mayor pro tem, but since Cannon still technically holds the office. Cannon is free on a $25,000 unsecured bond.
He faces a maximum sentence of:
• 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for theft and bribery
• 20 years and $1,000,000 fine for honest services wire fraud
• 20 years and $250,000 fine for extortion
In one exchange with investigators, Cannon concluded the conversation but alluding to a possible arrested.
“I look good to in an orange necktie, but not in an orange suit,” the affidavit quotes Cannon as saying.
The FBI says Cannon was given multiple chances to return the money he accepted.
Cannon is also CEO of EZ-Parking in Charlotte. Law enforcement agents searched the mayor’s house and obtained a warrant to search the business after Wednesday’s hearing.
After Wednesday’s developments, the NCGOP called for Cannon’s resignation. Governor McCrory issued 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,” said Governor McCrory. “This is not the city that I know, served and love. This alleged behavior is inexcusable and cannot be tolerated.”
From County Manager Dena R. Diorio:
We are aware of the allegations against and arrest of Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon.
We are reviewing the documents and criminal complaint, and know there are references by Cannon regarding Mecklenburg County’s Code Enforcement process.
We are not aware of any connection to the County, but will cooperate fully with any investigation.