Patrick Cannon files for Charlotte city council after serving time in prison for accepting bribes

CHARLOTTE — A former Charlotte mayor who served two years in federal prison has filed to run for city council.

Patrick Cannon has filed paperwork to run for Charlotte City Council At Large. Cannon resigned in 2014 and pleaded guilty to accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen.

At the time, video showed Cannon taking bribes from undercover FBI agents he believed to be real estate developers and investors, including an infamous moment where he fanned thousands of dollars next to his ear.

Cannon had been a well known figure in Charlotte politics for years, until a corruption investigation and prison time took him from mayor to inmate.

His guilty plea was on a single count of honest services wire fraud, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. An FBI sting recorded him accepting thousands of dollars in cash and airline tickets from the undercover agents, according to court documents.

>> CLICK HERE for a timeline of Patrick Cannon’s political career

The same year he pleaded guilty to corruption charges, Cannon was caught casting an illegal ballot during early voting. A judge place him on house arrest and electronic monitoring for violating the terms of his bond.

Cannon served nearly two years in federal prison for the crimes. He received early release in 2016 and registered to vote in 2019. Also in 2019, some people tried to recruit him to primary Mayor Vi Lyles.

After he was released from prison, Cannon hosted a radio show. He has slowly started to come back into the public eye.

Cannon was at the Black Political Caucus press conference this past week about the city’s transit tax.

On his election forms, Cannon acknowledged his past convictions. He is able to run for office as long as he is not in prison and is finished with probation.

In filing paperwork, he said his citizenship rights were restored on Tuesday. He will have to prove that is true if the status is challenged.

Cannon will be a formidable opponent in a stacked At Large field for Charlotte’s city council. Every Democratic candidate, as of now, has council experience.

According to the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections, Cannon is able to run for office as long as he is not in prison, and is fully finished with probation. On his official paperwork, Cannon said his rights of citizenship were restored on March 1. The Board of Elections said it doesn’t verify this.

If it is challenged, Cannon will have to prove it is true.

Cannon sent a statement to Channel 9′s Joe Bruno, which can be read in its entirety below:

“Due to a mistake made by me that would cause me to voluntarily resign my Mayoral post 8 years ago and be sentenced for Honest Services Wire Fraud, business remained unfinished for the citizens of Charlotte under my leadership. To date I still take responsibility for my actions then, remaining sorry for those shortcomings, and continue to ask for forgiveness of you and our community in its totality. A chance for redemption is all I can ask for and pray that you might provide it in a fall that was taken, with the hope of getting up and starting a new beginning with your support.

“Can we as a community send a message to anyone that has fallen short to say, we are a city and/or a people of second chances? That question is before us, and can be answered in April during early voting and during May for the primary election as I offer myself to be of service once again as a member of one of the four at-large seats for the Charlotte City Council.

“Leadership that’s “Inclusive” from a diversity standpoint that addresses equity in parts of the city getting what’s due itself, along with economic opportunities that ensure women and minorities are engaged, is important.

“Leadership that is “Intentional” in simply getting things done from a mere citizen service request, to instituting policies and ordinances that creates positive impact, is important.

“Leadership that is “Involved” in creating a viable city for future generations to live, work, recreate and raise a family, is beyond important.

“Leadership that’s Inclusive, Intentional and Involved should be our aim collectively as a city.

“In the end, working together still works. Might we do it together for the betterment of our city?

“Let’s go!

Sincerely yours in service,

“Patrick D. Cannon”

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