Charlotte mayor says he believes federal probe is over

Mayor Dan Clodfelter speaks to the media Wednesday on the day before the first anniversary of Patrick Cannon’s arrest.
Mayor Dan Clodfelter speaks to the media Wednesday on the day before the first anniversary of Patrick Cannon’s arrest. sharrison@charlotteobserver.com

Approaching the one-year anniversary of Patrick Cannon’s arrest, Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter praised the city’s resilience and said he believes the federal investigation is over.

“We would be surprised if anything more comes out,” Clodfelter said at a news conference Wednesday morning at the Government Center.

Cannon was arrested March 26, 2014, after a four-year FBI investigation in which he accepted cash and gifts from undercover agents in exchange for promising to help them navigate city bureaucracy. He is serving a 44-month prison sentence in West Virginia.

Clodfelter was appointed as mayor by the City Council after Cannon resigned.

He said city employees were able to bounce back after the scandal.

“It took putting your head down and not getting derailed,” he said. “It didn’t take a major sea change.”

Clodfelter called the news conference after getting a number of phone calls from media leading up to the anniversary.

The mayor said he would decline to take questions about “looking back” at the arrest. He also declined to take questions about his announcement earlier this week that he would run for the mayor’s job in this fall’s election.

He said the news conference was about his role as mayor and wasn’t a campaign event.

He did address a proposal from legislators in Raleigh that would change how sales tax revenues are distributed statewide.

A portion of sales tax revenue is now distributed to counties and municipalities on a “point of sale” basis. That favors large cities such as Charlotte with destination shopping centers and areas that rely on tourism.

The proposal is to distribute the local sales tax solely on a population basis. That would hurt urban areas and benefit rural counties.

Clodfelter called the proposal “devastating” Monday.

In January, the city estimated it would lose $29 million annually if the sales tax change is made. It estimated that Mecklenburg County and other towns would lose $62 million.

The city is already struggling to balance its budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins in July.

The General Assembly last year repealed the Business Privilege License tax, which will cost the city $18.1 million.

When he was a state senator, Clodfelter said he supported getting rid of that tax, which he said was too cumbersome. But he said he supported finding a replacement for the lost revenue.

Clodfelter said he hasn’t spoken with legislators yet about the most recent sales tax proposal, which was unveiled Monday.

Harrison: 704-358-5160