In December of 2019, the Anaheim City Council agreed to sell Angel Stadium and its surrounding land to SRB Management, which is owned by Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno.
There were some hiccups with the sale of the land but there was reportedly a plan in place to resolve outstanding issues with Moreno and the city that would involve building even more affordable housing.
The plan also would have kept the Angels in the city through at least 2050, which would have fulfilled a campaign promise made by Anaheim mayor Harry Sidhu.
However, those plans have once again been put on hold as Sidu is under FBI investigation for corruption that could lead to the sale being deemed illegal, according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times:
On Monday, the state attorney general asked a court to put the $320 million sale on hold. The court filing explained why: a detailed FBI affidavit showing Sidhu is under investigation for public corruption, and the attorney general said he does not yet know whether the facts uncovered in the investigation could make the sale illegal
Shaikin also reports there is no evidence that anyone affiliated with the Angels’ organization committed any wrongdoings. Sidhu, however, is being accused of asking for campaign contributions in exchange for using his power to get the deal completed:
In the affidavit, there is no evidence of wrongdoing by anyone associated with the Angels and no evidence the proposed solicitation was made.
However, FBI special agent Brian Adkins wrote: “I believe Sidhu illustrated his intent to solicit campaign contributions, in the amount of $1,000,000 … in exchange for performing official acts intended to finalize the stadium sale for the Angels.”
Adkins also wrote that he found probable cause to believe that Sidhu shared confidential information about sale negotiations with the Angels — as the city was negotiating against the team — “with the expectation of receiving a sizeable contribution to his reelection campaign from a prominent Angels representative.”
It is not immediately clear how this will affect the Angels’ stadium plans moving forward and the spokeswoman for SRB Management declined to comment.
“We are surprised and dismayed by what has been shared with us,” city of Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster said. “We take this matter and the issues raised seriously. While allegations, they are troubling nonetheless.
“As we look to see this process play out, we will determine what this means for the stadium plan in the days ahead.”
Anaheim city manager ‘troubled’ by accusations
The city of Anaheim released statements clarifying that the federal review focuses on Sidhu and a former Anaheim Chamber Commerce employee, not on the city’s process for the stadium plan since 2019.
“We are troubled by this,” Anaheim city manager Jim Vanderpool said. “Throughout this process, Anaheim staff and the City Council have worked in good faith on a proposal that offered benefits for our community.
“What has been shared with us was unknown to the city administration before today, and what is being described falls outside of the city’s process on the stadium.
“We will continue to evaluate what this means and how to move forward in the best interest of our city.”
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