FBI Releases Hidden Camera Video, Audio of Mayor Accepting Bribes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – We now get to see and hear the moments undercover FBI agents hit pay dirt during their investigation into then-Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon. All caught on hidden cameras, there’s the day in January 2013 when Cannon met with an undercover FBI agent posing as a businessman and then fanned that $12,500 cash bribe near his ear.

The very next day, he can be heard during a recorded phone call, unknowingly foreshadowing his own fate by saying this to the same undercover agent: “I look good in an orange necktie but not an orange suit.”

The recordings show Cannon in Las Vegas in July 2013, bragging to undercover agents about using his power as mayor to push through their projects, telling them in part, “Plus, you can veto!”

Also in Vegas, he’s caught on camera accepting an envelop with $5,000 cash from another undercover agent posing as a Vegas real estate developer.

The same undercover agent met with Cannon in December 2013 at that bugged SouthPark condo to hand off another bribe. This time, giving the mayor security codes and key to the apartment for his personal use.

And finally, in February 2014, hidden cameras roll as the Mayor of Charlotte accepts a leather suitcase, carrying $20,000 cash. An undercover agent explains to Cannon, “…(this is) just a token of ‘thank you’ for today. 20 (thousand dollars). And when I come back and we get that infusion, I’m gonna get the rest of that to you.” Cannon replies, “That’d be cool. Thank you. ‘preciate you.”

The agent says, “Alright. Right there.” Cannon asks, “In that bag?” The agent replies, “In that bag.”

And then, Cannon is caught on camera, ironically, worrying about someone catching on. Cannon says, “You came in with the bag. You can’t leave without the bag.” He continues, “You could leave it by mistake and then have to come back and get it.” The agent says, “That’s what I’ll do. I left it by mistake.”

The FBI released the recordings Wednesday after reporters who just happened to be at that 2015 community outreach event, called the Citizens Academy, filed open records requests. Legal experts say it’s a rare glimpse at these types of recordings and sends another warning to other elected leaders in Charlotte.