Cannon investigation raises questions about political influence - | WBTV Charlotte

Cannon investigation raises questions about political influence

You see it all over the city of Charlotte.  Development and construction that first gets the blessing of the city's planning department.
In the criminal complaint and affidavit filed against Patrick Cannon the issue of zoning and permitting comes up often.
One example in the affidavit says Cannon took money "in return for his assistance with zoning and permitting".
In another example, Cannon is alleged to have said, "What happens is this, when you have an issue with your building and the permit for the building, um, whether, they are holding you up...I get that phone call."
City Manger Ron Carlee says it all raises questions and he wants transparency.
"If there are any questionable activities anywhere in this government, we want them uncovered," said Carlee. "I don't expect that there are, but I can't say that definitively."
The affidavit says Cannon believed he could influence the Planning Department.  It says he told undercover federal agents quote "anything that's going to be a part of your development, where you could potentially face some snags, yes, I should be able to help you with that."
Carlee says to his knowledge no city employees have been subpoenaed as part of the ongoing federal investigation.
WBTV News asked to speak to Debra Campbell who is director of Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning. She declined to talk on camera, but in a written statement, Campbell said in part "I have always demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and integrity since being employed by the City of Charlotte. The values I hold for myself and my department are honesty, impeccable character and integrity."
So why did Cannon think he could sway decisions? We don't know, but Carlee maintains no one person can corrupt the system.
"I met with all of those department directors that have any role in planning and development and to a person they articulated to me their commitment and expectation that this not a pay to play environment," said Carlee.
Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.
Powered by Frankly