HomeCity of AustinCity CouncilCannon Misfires on Traffic Offenses

Cannon Misfires on Traffic Offenses


Council Candidate Drew Five Arrest Warrants in Five Years

by Rebecca LaFlure
Tina Cannon
Tina Cannon

Less than a week after entrepreneur Tina Cannon officially launched her campaign for City Council, The Austin Bulldog found that Cannon was issued five arrest warrants over the past five years for unpaid traffic tickets and failure to show proof of vehicle insurance.

Also, a company she co-founded was sued for trademark infringement last year. The lawsuit has since been dropped, and Cannon has paid all fines related to the traffic tickets.

Cannon is running against incumbent Bill Spelman, a public affairs professor at the University of Texas, and Dominic Chavez, an Army veteran and senior director for external relations at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, for the Place 5 spot.

“I am not a perfect human being and not a perfect driver, but I try hard at both,” Cannon said. I have “no excuses on missing the initial payment and proof-of-coverage deadlines, all of which I have taken care of a good while ago.”

Warrants for unpaid traffic tickets

A search of Austin’s municipal court database reveals that Cannon had three warrants issued for unpaid traffic tickets, one of which took her more than four years to pay.

The municipal court also charged her three times with “failure to maintain financial responsibility,” or not showing proof of vehicle liability insurance, and issued warrants for two of these charges. All charges were dismissed by September 27, 2011, after she submitted proof of insurance.

According to the database, Austin police issued Cannon a ticket on August 3, 2006, for running a stop sign. She did not show up for her initial appearance date, failed to meet her payment extension, and was issued a warrant. More than two four (corrected 10:05am Friday, February 24, 2012) years later, Cannon paid a $317 fine on October 18, 2010.

Cannon was also issued a ticket for speeding in a school zone on October 20, 2006. She submitted proof of insurance and driver’s license, and paid a fee to take a driver safety course on October 31, 2006. However, she didn’t turn in her driver safety course paperwork by the due date. She was issued another fine, sent a warrant notice, and the municipal court reported a hold on her driver’s license. Cannon paid a $239 fine on October 25, 2007, more than a year after the ticket was issued.

Austin police gave Cannon a ticket for speeding on a posted city street on September 25, 2009. She did not attend her initial hearing, was issued a warrant, and warned that her vehicle registration would be put on hold. Cannon paid a $317 fine on October 18, 2010, more than a year after the ticket was issued.

The Austin Bulldog also searched for Cannon on the Texas Department of Public Safety’s criminal database, but found no criminal history. (The database only contains information on people arrested or prosecuted for Class B misdemeanor violations or greater. The information is made public only if a conviction or deferred adjudication has been reported to the DPS.)

Trademark infringement lawsuit

As reported by The Austin Bulldog February 20, Cannon has co-founded multiple businesses over the years, including PetsMD.com, an online pet health resource acquired by Pet360.com last year.

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania, Pet360 Inc. sued PetsMD Inc. for trademark infringement in February 2011.

Pet360, a Pennsylvania-based company, argued that it owned the trademark and copyright to the name PETMD—which it had used since 1998, before PetsMD was founded, according to court records.

Pet360 said the names PetsMD and PETMD were “deceptively and confusingly similar” and “likely to cause confusion, mistake, or deception in the mind of the public.” Pet360 alleged it suffered damage to its “business, reputation and goodwill” and asked that PetsMD stop using its name and pay for punitive damages and attorney fees.

According to court documents, the lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed with prejudice on May 11, 2011, after Pet360 agreed to acquire all of PetsMD’s assets.

Cannon said when the suit was filed, she and the PetsMD team worked to resolve the issues amicably, which led to Pet360 acquiring virtually all of PetsMD’s assets.

“We could have fought out the lawsuit, but I am a firm believer that reasonable parties can generally resolve issues if they come to the table in good faith and with an open mind. That’s the kind of common sense management experience I want to bring to City Hall,” Cannon said. “I want to solve problems, not create new lawsuits for the city.”

A March 17, 2011 article in the Austin Business Journal stated that Pet360 bought PetsMD for an undisclosed amount. Raul Calvoz, Cannon’s campaign treasurer, was named CEO of PetsMD a month before the lawsuit, replacing Cannon, who became the company’s chief operating officer. Calvoz and Cannon went on to launch Book-A-Vet, an online veterinary booking business, and LOCALoyalty, a magazine that highlights locally-owned businesses.


Cannon’s Austin Municipal Court record
Pets360 v. PetsMed lawsuit

Prior coverage:

Tina Cannon Challenges Bill Spelman: Council Candidate Seeks to Bring a Small Business Owner’s Voice to City Hall, The Austin Bulldog, February 20, 2012

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