Patrick Cannon resigned as mayor of Charlotte on Wednesday, just hours after federal agents arrested him on public corruption charges. Host Frank Stasio talked with WFAE reporter Tom Bullock about the latest developments on The State of Things.
Cannon offered a letter of resignation, noting he would step down immediately:
"Dear Mr. Carlee and Mr. Hagemann,
I hereby give notice of my resignation from the position of the Mayor of the City of Charlotte, effective immediately. In light of the charges that have been brought against me, it is my judgment that the pendency of these charges will create too much of
a distraction...." [Read the full letter here.]
Federal agents have been investigating Cannon since his days as a city council member in 2010. Last month, undercover agents posed as real estate developers who wanted to conduct business in Charlotte. The criminal complaint accuses Cannon of seeking and accepting more than $48,000 dollars in cash and other benefits in exchange for manipulating zoning laws.
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes confirmed that the city will continue to cooperate with the FBI:
"The city reiterates that there is an ongoing federal investigation. We are cooperating fully with the investigation and it would be inappropriate to comment on the investigation at this time. The city council and city staff are focused on the continuity of government and providing the highest standards of services to the citizens of Charlotte," Barnes said.
Barnes' comments were carried live on several Charlotte news channels. Cannon said in his resignation letter that the charges against him "will create too much of a distraction for the business of the city to go forward."
NPR member station WFAE in Charlotte provided an initial report, writing:
On Wednesday morning, Patrick Cannon was Mayor of Charlotte and a rising political figure in the state. Less than 24 hours later he’s out on bond, no longer in government, and facing a host of federal charges. The story of his fall is one of undercover cops, multi-million dollar investments, bugged apartments, and feminine hygiene products.
Listen to their story, How The FBI's Case Against Cannon Went Down which includes parts of the FBI undercover transcript:
"His arrest came as a complete surprise..." Press conference:
The Associated Press also reported on Cannon's arrest on Wednesday:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The mayor of North Carolina's largest city has been arrested on public corruption charges.
U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins said Wednesday that Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon is facing theft and bribery charges.
Tompkins says Cannon solicited and accepted bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as real estate developers who wanted to do business in Charlotte. A criminal complaint says 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 as bribes.
If convicted on all the charges, he faces 20 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines.
The 47-year-old Cannon was elected mayor in November, replacing Anthony Foxx. Foxx was named Transportation Secretary by President Barack Obama.