CHARLOTTE â€” The mayor of Charlotte resigned Wednesday hours after his arrest on public corruption charges.
Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon is accused of accepting about $48,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen who wanted to do business in the city.
Cannon had been in office 114 days when he was arrested and charged Wednesday.
A spokesman for the city said Cannon submitted his letter Wednesday to the city manager and attorney. In his letter, Cannon said the pending charges will create too much of a distraction for the business of the city to go forward.
Cannon’s resignation is effective immediately, said City Manager Ron Carlee. Mayor Pro-tem Michael Barnes will serve as interim mayor until the City Council appoints a councilmember as the new mayor.
Cannon, 47, faces several charges including theft and bribery.
Cannon’s arrest followed an undercover investigation that began in August 2010. Authorities allege Cannon solicited and accepted cash from the agents who were posing as real estate developers and investors.
Cannon, a Charlotte native, allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for the privileges of his position as an elected official, whether as mayor, mayor pro-tem or a city council member.
If convicted of all charges, he faces 20 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines.
Cannon, a Democrat, was elected mayor in November, replacing Anthony Foxx, who was named Transportation Secretary by President Barack Obama.
The FBI said Cannon accepted money from agents on five separate occasions. The last was on Feb. 21, 2014. He is accused of accepting $20,000 in cash at the mayor’s office. The exchanges began in January 2013, according to the Department of Justice.
In total, Cannon accepted about $48,000 in cash, airline tickets, a hotel room and use of a luxury apartment, the FBI said. Some of the money, documents say, included cash to fund a business Cannon said he wanted to fund called HERS, a feminine hygiene product to be sold in the United States.
The indictment against Cannon alleges he characterized any rewards as business investments that were unrelated to his public office.
Cannon is free on a $25,000 unsecured bond.
After appearing in federal court Wednesday, Cannon did not have much to say when asked about the charges.
“Well, nothing at this point that I can discuss. But I’ll certainly be back in contact with you,” said Cannon.
The FBI said Cannon was given multiple chances to return the money he accepted.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory issued a statement: “I am both saddened and angered because I have known Patrick and his family for over 30 years, but more than anything my heart is broken for the City of Charlotte. This is not the city that I know, served and love. This alleged behavior is inexcusable and cannot be tolerated.”
Contributing: The Associated Press