North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory expressed shock and outrage over the arrest of longtime friend and Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon on bribery charges.
"I'm shocked, I'm saddened, I'm angry — about the allegations, about the impact that has on a city I dearly love," the Republican governor, who himself was mayor of Charlotte for 14 years, told the Charlotte Observer.
"I'm heartbroken about what's happened and I’m angry at the same time because it's someone I've known for a long period of time and I love this city," McCrory said.
"This city has had an incredible reputation for a long, long time about its high ethical standards. The city does not deserve that type of behavior."
Cannon resigned Wednesday
shortly after his arrest on federal public corruption charges that include allegations he accepted more than $48,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents during a three-year investigation.
The 49-year-old Democrat, who took over the position only four months ago, allegedly accepted $20,000 in cash delivered in a briefcase last month to the mayor's office, the Observer reported.
Cannon was arrested by FBI undercover agents when he showed up at a luxury apartment to receive another payoff from what he thought were businessmen needing his political influence in the state's largest city, prosecutors claim. He was released on $25,000 bail.
McCrory has known Cannon, who grew up in public housing, for 30 years. The governor's brother, Phil McCrory, acted as Cannon's mentor in the Big Brother program, and Cannon was a groomsman at Phil's wedding. Also, McCrory helped teach Cannon how to swim when he was 13, the Observer reported.
"He was very close to me and my family," said the governor. "I'm just extremely disappointed and angry. This is a terrible piece of news for the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina. This behavior cannot be tolerated and it cannot happen ever again. It's unacceptable.
"Being a former 20-year elected official in that city, we used the high ethical standards of our city government as a recruitment tool. That's why this makes me even more angry, because it destroys a reputation that is well deserved for many, many years."
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