Anaheim's Deal To Sell Angel Stadium Canceled Amid Far-Reaching FBI Investigation
Faced with an ever-broadening web of alleged corruption that touches city power players, including at least one elected official, the city of Anaheim has voted not to sell Angels Stadium and adjacent acres to the Major League Baseball team's owner after all.
Speaking the night of the vote, Council Member Jose Moreno said the investigation had revealed “a pandemic of corruption” in the city and called the stadium sale “the fruit of a poisoned tree,” the LA Times reported.
This is not the end, though: The city must now ask the Orange County Superior Court to declare the deal invalid. There is likely to be a lot of litigation with the Angels' owner over the demise of the deal.
SRB Management, the company that was to buy the stadium and is run by Angels owner Arte Moreno, has already demanded the council move forward with the sale and close escrow by June 14, the OC Register reported.
In documents filed in the investigatory process, the FBI alleged that Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu provided the Angels with confidential information to help them in sale negotiations, hoping he would receive campaign donations in return for his help, Voice of OC has reported.
Sidhu resigned Monday. The FBI claimed in a federal affidavit that Sidhu engaged in bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
The federal investigation alleges that Anaheim has effectively been run by a self-described cabal including the mayor and the former head of the city's chamber of commerce. The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that a high-level employee at Disney, whose resort in the city has made the company a powerful force in local politics, is also allegedly among the members of the cabal.
SRB's plan for 150 acres around the stadium was to build a mixed-use development with residential, retail, hotel and office space. The Angels will likely continue to play at the city-owned stadium for the near future as the team has a lease through 2029, with options to extend through 2038.