FBI Corruption Probe Into Anaheim Claims Small Group Pulls Strings, Influenced Angel Stadium Sale
A small group of elected and unelected officials in Anaheim is exerting an outsized influence over the city of Anaheim, an ongoing Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry has found.
Those allegedly in the inner circle include the one-time head of the city’s Chamber of Commerce and the current mayor, the Los Angeles Times reports. The members have been revealed through a series of wiretaps and recorded conversations, as well as the use of informants, including high-powered political consultants and political party officials.
The FBI investigation seems to center on the proposed sale of Angel Stadium, which the city of Anaheim owns, to the owner of the Angels. The plan is to turn the 150-acre site, namely the parking lots and space around the stadium, into a mixed-use district with residential, retail, hotel and office space.
On Tuesday, a judge halted the $320M sale of the city-owned Angel Stadium because of the ongoing probe, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The FBI is looking into whether Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu “shared privileged and confidential information with the Angels during stadium sale negotiations, actively concealed same from a Grand Jury inquiry, and expects to receive campaign contributions as a result,” the Orange County Register reported.
In an affidavit for a search warrant shared by the city of Anaheim earlier this week, the FBI claims that the small controlling group “may have been used to sway the City Council vote in favor of his appointment — and only his appointment — to the negotiating team," the LA Times said.
The FBI has completed a search warrant to review the mayor’s email and phone, as well as a hangar in the Chino Airport and a helicopter that Sidhu owns, the OC Register reported.
The sale of the stadium to SRB Management, a business entity led by Angels owner Arte Moreno, has been under fire since before it was approved in 2019, and that continued after it was greenlighted. The city agreed to a settlement last year that would involve it using $96M from the sale to create affordable housing.