- The Indian American Republican is accused of soliciting $1 million in campaign contributions from a representative of the Angels Stadium in exchange for performing official acts that would finalize the stadium sale.
Anaheim, California Mayor Harry Sidhu is facing mounting pressure from City Council members to resign due to an ongoing federal probe in a corruption case. The Indian American Republican is accused of soliciting $1 million in campaign contributions from a representative of the Angels Stadium in exchange for performing official acts that would finalize the stadium sale, ABC 7 reported. He is not charged in the case.
Elected as mayor in 2018 under the banner Anaheim is the “City that Empowers the American Dream,” Sidhu is up for re-election in November.
The Orange County Register, citing an affidavit filed by the FBI in federal court on May 12 says it is investigating whether 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.”
Elaborating on the FBI affidavit, Politico California Playbook noted that it describes “Sidhu securing a spot on the stadium negotiating team and then communicating confidential information to the Angels via a Chamber of Commerce intermediary. The report adds that Sidhu “repeatedly” talks about “how he expected the Angels to furnish half a million dollars in campaign cash in exchange for a stadium deal.” The mayor “allegedly sought to conceal those communications,” Politico said, adding that the affidavit alleges “Sidhu registered a helicopter in Arizona to avoid a roughly $15,000 California sales tax hit.”
Calls for Sidhu to resign gained momentum on May 18 when he didn’t attend a board meeting held the previous evening, where Councilman Avelino Valencia publicly called for the mayor’s resignation, The Orange County Register reported.
The sale of the stadium was also paused for 60 days by an Orange County Superior Court judge in response to a request by the state attorney general that made public the search warrant targeting Sidhu, the Los Angeles Times reported. “The state attorney general’s filing suggested the revelations in the warrant could lead to the settlement being void and new and developing information concerning potential violations of state and federal law … are likely to be forthcoming,” the report added.
Born and raised in India, Sidhu came to the United States in 1974 with his family, settling in Philadelphia. He became a U.S. citizen in 1979. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Philadelphia’s Drexel University, his official bio says. He moved to Southern California in 1980 to work as an engineer for aerospace companies Rockwell International, General Dynamics and Hughes Aircraft.
After an extensive engineering career, Sidhu pursued his dream of starting his own small business, which began with a single restaurant. He is now a successful entrepreneur and owner of several Orange County restaurants.
Sidhu and his wife Gin have lived in Anaheim since 1994, where they raised their two children. His community involvement has included service as a board member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Anaheim, an advisory board member of the Anaheim Family YMCA and as a member of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce and the Anaheim Small Business Chamber.
He also has coached youth soccer and is a supporter of the arts and arts education. He is a licensed professional engineer, licensed instrument-rated general aviation and helicopter pilot and a real estate broker.
According to the LA Times, the last major local corruption case to rock Orange County was in 2007, “when then-Sheriff Mike Carona was indicted by a federal grand jury on felony counts for accepting money, high-priced gifts, and loans for his longtime mistress in exchange for favors like badges, access, concealed-weapons permits and a get out of jail free card for moneyed supporters.”