According to the complaint, Cannon responded: “Yeah, not a problem.”
Cannon later had a discussion with the undercover agent, apparently attempting to clarify that the money was strictly seed money for the “Hers” product and not payment for his help in opening the nightclub.
“OK, so I mean, ’cause I’m not, I’m not one of those Chicago or Detroit type (of) folk,” Cannon told the agent, apparently referring to high-profile corruption cases in those cities.
Cannon ended the conversation by saying he looked good “in an orange necktie, but not an orange suit,” according to the complaint.
When the agent set up two later meetings to discuss the money and give Cannon an opportunity to return it, Cannon failed to show up, the complaint said.
During his campaign, Cannon promoted plans to create jobs in a city of 760,000 people that has become one of the nation’s leading banking and energy centers.
Big banks helped drive Charlotte’s explosive growth over the past two decades, but the city’s financial institutions were hurt in the nation’s banking meltdown. Since 2008, Charlotte has lost thousands of good-paying financial services jobs.
Two days after Cannon announced he was running for mayor in May 2013, the first undercover agent introduced him to a second undercover agent posing as a developer from Las Vegas. The second agent told Cannon he was interested in developments along a streetcar and light rail line being built in Charlotte. Cannon provided the proposed routes and stops, according to the complaint.
Cannon later agreed to fly to Las Vegas to convince a group of potential foreign investors to invest in the company purportedly owned by the second agent. Even though the two had known each other only about a month, Cannon agreed to tell the investors he had known the agent for years. The complaint said Cannon acknowledged the story he would tell investors was false, saying, “Well, if it’s made up, it really doesn’t matter.”
Cannon and the second agent also discussed compensating Cannon for his part in the scheme, and Cannon suggested that he receive a campaign donation before he made the trip to Las Vegas.
Instead, the agent agreed to pay for Cannon’s trip to Las Vegas, plus $6,000 cash for spending money for his wife. The Cannons received the first $1,000 when they arrived in Las Vegas; they received the other $5,000 after Cannon gave his presentation to the purported investors.
Thomas Mills, a longtime Democratic consultant in North Carolina, said Cannon “probably needs to step down and the sooner the better.”
But Mills said he’s doesn’t believe Cannon’s arrest will place additional damage upon North Carolina Democrats, who have suffered heavily from electoral losses in 2010 and 2012 and are struggling with intraparty fighting over its leadership.
“I don’t think it’s as much a hit to the gut of the party,” Mills said. “Charlotte has always been a bit of its own entity. It would be more of a problem if it were coming out of the General Assembly or out of Raleigh.”