- The Indian American Republican, who is not charged in the case, has been facing mounting pressure from City Council members to step down since the federal investigation into the sale of Angel Stadium began.
Anaheim, California Mayor Harry Sidhu resigned on May 23, in the middle of an ongoing federal probe in a corruption case “involving the $325 million sale of baseball’s Angel Stadium,” according to a Reuters report. The Indian American Republican has been facing mounting pressure from City Council members to step down since the FBI investigation came to light last week. The investigation surrounds the mayor’s alleged solicitation of $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. Sidhu has not been charged in the case.
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 the same from a Grand Jury inquiry, and expects to receive campaign contributions as a result,” The Orange County Register reported.
Sidhu’s attorney Paul Meyer confirmed the resignation in an email to Reuters. However, he denied any wrongdoing, Reuters said. Meyer added that as mayor, Sidhu’s goal was to keep the Los Angeles Angels baseball team in Anaheim. “A fair and thorough investigation will prove that Mayor Harry Sidhu did not leak secret information in the hopes of a later political campaign contribution,” Meyer wrote according to Reuters. “His unwavering goal from the start has been to keep the Angels in Anaheim, so that this vibrant social and economic relationship would continue.”
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 report said.
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.
Sidhu, who was elected as mayor in 2018, is up for re-election in November.