Reaction to the arrest of Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon stretched statewide Wednesday, and prompted responses from Gov. Pat McCrory and the N.C. Republican Party.
Cannon, a Democrat, was arrested on federal public corruption charges – theft and bribery – after a four-year undercover FBI investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte announced.
McCrory, a former mayor of Charlotte, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying he was “both saddened and angered because I have known Patrick and his family for over 30 years.”
“More than anything, my heart is broken for the City of Charlotte,” he added. “This is not the city that I know, served and love. This alleged behavior is inexcusable and cannot be tolerated.”
The N.C. GOP released a statement calling on Cannon to resign.
“Accepting monetary bribes, as Mr. Cannon has allegedly done, is an egregious and unforgivable breach of the public’s trust, and the taxpayers of Charlotte deserve much better,” the statement read.
The FBI sting investigation started in 2010 while Cannon was working on the city council and continued throughout his mayorship.
Cannon allegedly took bribes from undercover agents five times, each time in exchange for “the use of his official position,” according to Anne Tompkins, the U.S. attorney for the western district of North Carolina, in the indictment. he indictment also said Cannon continued to negotiate with undercover agents after taking over as mayor in November, at one point working toward a deal to speed up construction of the transit Gold Line.
Cannon leaned on close relationships he held with public officials that would help him get the projects he was accepting bribes for done faster, according to the indictment. It says he at times discussed a “very close” bond with McCrory as well as relationships with Republican state Sen. Bob Rucho of Matthews and President Barack Obama, who invited him to the White House late last year.
If found guilty on all charges, Cannon faces up to 50 years in prison and fines of $1.5 million.
The full story on the arrest is continuously being updated and can be read here.