by Michael Lowrey
Charlotte is more or less in public corruption purgatory at the moment, in which we know something was very rotten but don’t know — and unless the FBI releases more details, may never know — exactly what. The latest developments in the Patrick Cannon is a crook saga:
• Mohamed Moustafa of Universal Cab has sued the city, former Mayor Patrick Cannon, former Aviation Director Jerry Orr, former tourism chief Tim Newman and others. From the UPoR:
In his lawsuit, Moustafa said he had a falling out with Newman, the former chief of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, and Mohammad Jenatian of the [Greater Charlotte Hospitality and Tourism Alliance] in 2006. He said Newman was meeting with taxi company owners and told them that the NASCAR Hall of Fame – which would open in 2010 – would substantially increase tourism to the city.
Moustafa said Newman asked that cab companies repaint their cars with a NASCAR paint scheme. Moustafa said he refused.
At that point, Moustafa claims in the lawsuit that Newman and Jenatian called him ethnic slurs and said they were going to remove him from the airport.
Moustafa contends in the lawsuit that Newman had a “secret agenda” to reduce the number of companies operating at the airport in order to “oust” Universal from serving the airport.
Newman would later serve on the four-person selection committee that made a recommendation on which cab companies should be awarded contracts, along with Orr.
Analysis: I’m still not convinced that the taxi cab issue is what originally got the FBI interested in Cannon.
• The UPoR also reports that “Sheraton owner turned to Patrick Cannon for help with liquor license.” This is about the Sheraton — the hotel that was formerly the Adams Mark and Blake Hotel — and it’s issues obtaining alcohol permits before and after a Sean “Diddy” Combs show gone wrong there. There’s a little smoke but the alcohol permit issues at the hotel also aren’t central to the Cannon corruption saga.