3 New Extortion Accusations Against Patrick Cannon
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - "He said Patrick Cannon sent him to us to collect campaigning money for him."
"We (are) being robbed in the daytime, okay? Without a gun."
"It was simple. If you paid, you got to play."
Three men. Three businesses. Three new accusations against disgraced ex-mayor Patrick Cannon. In 2011, city leaders, including then-Mayor Pro Tem Cannon, said they wanted to streamline and upgrade taxi cab service at the airport ahead of the Democratic National Convention. They decided to only permit three taxi cab companies to do business at the airport.
But the men who talked to WCCB--whose cab companies were not the chosen three--say Cannon, via a middleman, made them an offer. Royal Cab manager Naheed Kashmary says, "He took me to my office, like in private, closed the door, and he was kind of looking suspicious. Closed the windows and everything. Then he said, 'come close to me.' I said okay. He sat, like, beside me and he said, 'Patrick Cannon sent me, and he asked for you guys to pay him the $10,000 if you guys (are) gonna go back to the airport.'"
Kashmary says the middleman showed him pictures of him with Cannon and emails from Cannon to prove their relationship. Kashmary says he said no and called Obaid Khan to tell him of the middleman's offer. Khan, co-owner of Diamond Cab, says, "We told him a simple no, we didn't wanna go that route."
Universal Cab owner Mohamed Moustafa says the middleman made him the same offer and showed him those pictures of himself with Cannon. "And he tried to tell me 'I can correct everything if you pay $10,000. I can get you to the airport,'" says Moustafa.
Moustafa says he also declined the deal, but paid the price. He says, "My revenue was two million dollars a year. I can show this in white and black. My revenue right now is five to six hundred thousand."
The city sent WCCB a statement that reads in part, "The selection of cab operators was a deliberate and methodical process."
The men say the cab company selection process was corrupt. In light of Cannon's arrest, they want--and expect--the city to allow them to once again do business at the airport. Khan says, "Not only being back at the airport, but honestly, being compensated for the three years that we weren't at the airport."
The middleman's name is Zulfiqar Ali Kacho. He pled guilty last summer to trying to burn down a private investigator's house. Kacho's lawyer says he has no comment.
WCCB also contacted Patrick Cannon but he hasn't replied. Cannon's parking company--and the three city-approved cab companies--are members of the Hospitality and Tourism Alliance. The president of that group is also accused of being on the take. He also did not return WCCB's call.