Eight hours following his arrest on charges of bribery, extortion, and theft, among others, Mayor Patrick DeAngelo Cannon of Charlotte City, North Carolina, resigned from his post. The resignation was contained in a letter addressed to city manager Ron Carlee and city attorney Bob Hagemann, effective immediately.
In his letter, Cannon explains that he chose to resign because the charges would create “too much of a distraction” for the smooth performance of the city’s business and functions. He was elected mayor in November 2013, taking office the following month.
Prior to that, he was Mayor Pro Tempore and a member of the City Council. He has been the subject of an undercover FBI investigation since 2010 for illicit activities performed in connection with his official acts. The charges against Cannon could land him up to 20 years in jail.
Press conference regarding Cannon's arrest
He was alleged to have solicited bribes from undercover FBI agents who posed as investors interested in establishing projects in the city. In one of the five instances described in the FBI affidavit, the mayor fanned dollar bills by his ear after receiving $12,500 from an agent. In another incident, while at his office, he accepted a briefcase containing $20,000. Among the other items he accepted are hotel reservations and airline tickets.
The accusations involve some of the largest ongoing developments in Charlotte. These include the controversial Lynx Gold Line, the city’s mass transit streetcar line; the Metropolitan development in Midtown Charlotte; and the issuance of permits for zoning, construction, and alcohol control. Cannon allegedly claimed to use his political clout with the White House to obtain more funding for Charlotte’s mass transit system.
Charlotte City Council issued a statement expressing their disappointment and surprise at the mayor’s arrest, saying they had no knowledge of the undercover investigation. Mayor Pro Tempore Michael Barnes will assume office until a new mayor is appointed by the council.
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