Charlotte mayor Patrick Cannon Richard Vinroot corruption arrest - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Former mayor compares corruption charges to a 'dirty movie'

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Hours after news broke that Charlotte mayor Patrick Cannon had been arrested for federal corruption charges by the FBI, former mayor Richard Vinroot said he felt like he was in a 'dirty movie.'

Patrick Cannon resigned his position as Charlotte mayor on Wednesday night, nearly eight hours after he was arrested by the FBI on charges of theft and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, honest services wire fraud and extortion under color of official right.

"In light of the charges that have been brought against me, it is my judgment that the pendency of these charges will create too much of a distraction for the business of the City to go forward smoothly and without interruption," the Democrat Cannon said in a statement on Wednesday night.

Former Charlotte mayor Richard Vinroot said he was "sick to my stomach" after reading the affidavit, which listed the allegations against Cannon. 

Vinroot served as the mayor of Charlotte from 1991 to 1995.

"Just awful. I feel bad for the city of Charlotte, everybody who works for it and everybody who has been with that city," Vinroot told WBTV. "It's a grand place with great people and that this should happen in our city is unheard of."

Vinroot said when he read the 42-page document, he felt like he "was in some dirty movie or dirty book. It just made me sick."

When the news broke some people responded online with faux surprise that a government official would be facing corruption charges.

"It's not the way we elect people to do business and we've had - from my experience - just incorruptible people running our city at every level," Vinroot told WBTV. "I heard one of your news stories say it makes us look like a big city. I didn't think we were like other big cities - I hope not."

Vinroot said before the allegations broke, Charlotte officials had always given the appearance of doing things the right way.

"I'd heard from my own son, who works in New Orleans, about things down there," Vinroot said. "I've heard from my brother-in-law, who works in Miami, about things down there like that but never in our city. I always would joke and say 'that won't happen here'."

Vinroot says he has spoken with another former Charlotte mayor, Harvey Gantt, about the charges and said Gantt "had the same sick reaction."

"I want to say 'Gosh this can't be true. I hope it's not true' but I'm a grown man. I can read," Vinroot said. "And it reads like it is true and that's unfortunately a scary reality for me."

Vinroot says corruption has never been true in this city and "I hope it never will be true in this city again."

Vinroot is a Republican, Gantt is a Democrat.

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