A corruption investigation by the FBI related to the sale of the property where Angels Stadium is located led to the resignation of Republican Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu earlier this week. The federal investigation has also resulted in formal charges of money laundering against former Anaheim Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Ament, a political associate of Sidhu.
An FBI agent has provided a sworn statement indicating Sidhu gave officials with the Major League Baseball franchise Anaheim Angels inside information. The secret information was allegedly provided in exchange for completing an agreement that would result in $1 million in campaign contributions from team executives.
The agent wrote that he believes based on recorded conversations that Sidhu was motivated by his plan to “solicit monetary compensation” in the form of campaign contributions. In order to obtain the promise of contributions, Sidhu was to press for approval of a stadium deal that would be more favorable to the team.
Sidhu’s attorney, Paul Meyer, wrote to Anaheim City Attorney Robert Fabella in defense of the former mayor. Meyer said that a “fair and thorough investigation” will exonerate his client of any allegations that he leaked secret information in exchange for expected contributions.
Meyer added that Sidhu has always acted with the best interests of the city “as his foremost priority.” Sidhu was running for reelection this November when he resigned on Monday.
Other reporting indicates that the FBI believes there is probable cause to believe Sidhu has been involved in a variety of other criminal acts. Although he has not been charged as of yet, the FBI affidavit says that Sidhu used his political influence to obtain a position on the group formally negotiating stadium terms with the Angels.
Using an intermediary at the Chamber of Commerce, Sidhu is said to have sent confidential information to the team when repeatedly making statements that he expected to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from persons involved with the Angels.
The Anaheim city council voted as a body to call for Sidhu’s resignation last week when the details of the investigation surfaced.
The potential sale of the stadium property to the team has been put in jeopardy as a result of the investigation of Sidhu. City officials have been engaged in meetings with the city attorney and others this week to discuss the future of the possible agreement. The Angels have not issued a public statement regarding the allegations about Sidhu.