News

March 27, 2014 at 6:41 AM
Cannon resigns after corruption arrest
Chris Miller, cmiller@wbt.com

 

114 days after Patrick Cannon was sworn in as Charlotte's mayor, the 47-year-old resigned Wednesday after his arrest on federal corruption charges for allegedly taking $48,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents.

It was a swift end to Cannon's two decades in Charlotte politics.

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

Cannon said the federal charges would "create too much of a distraction" for the city.

The 47-year-old was released from custody on a $25,000 bond Wednesday afternoon. An indictment was expected next week.

City Councilwoman Claire Fallon said the arrest and resignation was "such a pity."

"If this is true, then I am very angry at him," Fallon said. "There's no reason to ever get yourself into that position."

Federal prosecutors allege that in exchange for bribes and gifts, Cannon promised to use his position to help the undercover agents posing as commercial investors with zoning, permitting and other city issues.

If convicted, Cannon faces up to 50 years in prison.

Former Mayor Richard Vinroot, who called Cannon a "friend," said he was "sick to my stomach" when he heard of the arrest.

"You read these things about New York and Chicago, you don't read these things about Charlotte," Vinroot said.

The resignation leaves Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Barnes to preside over City Council meetings.

Speaking with reporters after the arrest, Barnes said city operations would continue as normal, and stressed the city's "history of clean government."

It falls to the City Council to select Cannon's replacement, who must be, like Cannon, a Democrat.

Follow @ChrisMillerWBT and @WBTradio on Twitter

 

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