Court documents: Strip club owner bribed former mayor Cannon

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - New allegations against former Charlotte mayor Patrick Cannon have come to light due to newly unsealed documents in the federal corruption case against him.

The documents show Cannon was bribed by the owner of a Charlotte-based strip club.

Patrick Cannon resigned his position as Charlotte mayor in late March, nearly eight hours after he was arrested by the FBI.

He was arrested on charges of theft and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, honest services wire fraud and extortion under color of official right.

Cannon is accused of accepting more than $48,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen who wanted to do work in Charlotte.

On Monday morning, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed to have the documents in the case unsealed saying there was no longer a need to have the case sealed. A judge approved the motion and ordered that the case be unsealed.

One of the documents that was unsealed is a Bill of Information that was filed in District Court on May 12.

The bill outlines the beginning of a plea deal between Cannon the U.S. Attorney's Office for Honest Services Wire Fraud.

In a federal complaint against Cannon, investigators outline a series of agreements between Cannon and undercover agents for the FBI, where Cannon reportedly accepted cash and gifts as bribes.

The Bill of Information outlines a reported deal between Cannon and a Charlotte businessman over the extension of Charlotte's Light Rail Blue Line.

A nine-mile stretch of the extension is currently under construction from Ninth Street in uptown Charlotte to the campus of UNC-Charlotte.

The bill gives information about a Charlotte businessman who reportedly had a connection with Cannon.

The man, labeled as "Businessman No. 1" in the bill, owns a "live adult entertainment club" in Charlotte, according to the bill.

The club was going to be impacted by the extension of the Blue Line, requiring the city to buy the land from the owner.

According to the bill, if the business was to stay in operation the path of the Blue Line Extension needed to change or the owner needed to club, requiring approval from zoning and permits officials.

The bill alleges that Cannon asked for, accepted or agreed to accept money from the club owner over nearly five years, starting in December 2009 until Cannon was arrested.

Cannon was an At-Large Charlotte City Councilman when the bribes reportedly started.

In January 2013, Cannon reportedly accepted a $2,000 bribe from the owner to use his influence in "relocating the club away from the proposed [Blue Line Extension] alignment so that it could remain open as an adult club."

The bill says Cannon solicited the support of the councilman whose district the club was in, urged zoning and city officials to approve zoning to keep the club in the same location and arranged a meeting between the business owner and CATS officials so that the club could stay open "during an annual racing event" which brought in big money for the business.

Court documents show that Cannon didn't tell other city officials about his relationship with the businessman or that he was getting money and other gifts for the use of his influence.

Documents filed Monday at U.S. District Court in Charlotte say Cannon has agreed to enter a guilty plea to a single count of honest services wire fraud, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Cannon is set to appear in federal court Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Cayer.

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