Charlotte has been initiated into a dubious fraternity of U.S. cities stung by corruption cases involving their mayors.
“Anecdotally, it feels like we have more cases out there,” says Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor and now executive director of Columbia University’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity. “One thing you can say ... we clearly have some corruption to be scrubbed out.”
Consider:• Ray Nagin, New Orleans: The former hero of Hurricane Katrina was convicted in February of bribery, money laundering, fraud and conspiracy during his two mayoral terms. A Democrat, he’s been ordered to repay $500,000 and will be sentenced June 11.
• Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit: In October, Democrat Kilpatrick began serving a 28-year sentence for two dozen federal racketeering charges, part of a pattern of “extortion, bribery and fraud” by some of the city’s most prominent officials, prosecutors say.
• Tony Mack, Trenton N.J.: On May 15, Mack was sentenced to five years in federal prison after accepting bribes from federal informants posing as parking-garage developers. A Democrat, he is expected to serve at least four years.
• Manny Marono, Sweetwater, Fla.: The former Republican mayor of a Miami suburb began serving a 40-month sentence in February after he accepted about $30,000 in bribes in exchange for using his office to support sham government grant applications. As with Cannon, Marono was the target of an FBI sting.
• Vincent Gray, Washington, D.C.: The so-called reformer lost his office in April after one term, largely because of a campaign scandal that has already snared some of the mayor’s top aides. Prosecutors say Gray, a Democrat, knew about a $668,000 illegal election slush fund that helped him get elected. He has not been charged, but his attorney says he is preparing for an indictment.
• John McNally, Youngstown, Ohio: Two weeks ago, Ohio’s attorney general accused the Democratic mayor of one of the most Mafia-scarred cities in the country of racketeering, money laundering, perjury and conspiracy, among other charges. The accusations stem from McNally’s services as a county commissioner, a seat he gave up in December when he was elected mayor.