Patrick Cannon

Patrick Cannon arrest: 1 year later

Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon speaks at the Charles R. Jonas Federal Building on West Trade Street in Charlotte after his plea hearing on June 3, 2014.
Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon speaks at the Charles R. Jonas Federal Building on West Trade Street in Charlotte after his plea hearing on June 3, 2014. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

March 26, 2014.

One year ago, Charlotte was rocked by news that then-Mayor Patrick Cannon had been arrested on federal corruption charges. The Charlotte native was less than four months into his tenure as mayor when federal authorities laid out allegations that Cannon had accepted more than $50,000 in bribes while serving in public office.

Court documents show federal authorities began looking into Cannon in 2010, while they were in the middle of a different investigation. Cannon, a Democrat, was a member of the Charlotte City Council at the time, and by 2011 he had become the primary target of an FBI investigation.

Cannon admitted to wrongdoing last June, telling a judge: “Yes sir, your honor. I am guilty.”

In a statement outside the courthouse, Cannon apologized. “I love Charlotte. It is the city of my birth,” he said. “I regret having hurt the city that I love.”

That day, U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins said the federal investigation was not over, and that prosecutors would continue to follow any leads that came up.

While court documents described Cannon taking bribes from a Charlotte businessman, no charges have been brought against the man, identified by the Observer as strip club operator David “Slim” Baucom. Baucom also was implicated but not charged in an earlier bribery case involving then-N.C. House Speaker Jim Black, a Democrat from Matthews.

This week, current Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter, also a Democrat, said he believes the federal probe of the city is now over. He praised city workers for bouncing back after the scandal.

Cannon is serving a 44-month prison sentence in West Virginia.

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