NRI Harry Sidhu, Former Anaheim Mayor plead guilty
to corruption charges related to Angel Stadium sale
Los Angeles, August 18, 2023
NRIpress.club/Ramesh/ A.Gary Singh
This is a sad day for the city of Anaheim and All NRIs worldwide
- Sidhu is facing the possibility of 50 years in prison.
- A three-year supervised release
- A fine of $1,000,000
“Harry” Singh Sidhu, a former Anaheim city Mayor elected in 2018 and resigned in 2022 after the investigation was publicly disclosed, was charged with:
- One count of obstruction of justice
- One count of wire fraud
- Two counts of making false statements to a federal agency, according to the plea agreement, which was filed in US District Court for the Central District of California.
- In July 2020, Sidhu shared confidential information regarding the sale of Angel Stadium to Todd Ament, the then-CEO of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, and to a consultant working for the Los Angeles Angels professional baseball team while he was on the city’s negotiating team “so that the Angels could buy Angel Stadium on terms beneficial to the Angels,” the agreement says.
Sidhu later destroyed emails and documents related to this “with the intent to impede and obstruct the FBI’s investigation of public corruption” surrounding the sale, the agreement says.
- He “knowingly destroyed multiple email messages and documents” related to the Angel Stadium sale negotiations, which constituted federal obstruction of justice because (he) deleted those email messages with the intent to impede and obstruct the FBI’s investigation of public corruption surrounding the city’s potential sale of Angel Stadium.
- It also outlines emails regarding a mock City Council session ahead of an actual meeting for the proposed stadium sale involving Sidhu, two unnamed then-City Council members, former Anaheim Chamber of Commerce president Todd Ament, as well as an “Angels consultant,” the team’s president and a team attorney, among others.
- “[Angels] team available to help develop ‘zingers,’ responses and other points to improve performance,” according to emails cited in the plea agreement, which stated that Sidhu “plays himself” in the meeting and was “expected to be a strong defender of the deal and know its terms, at least at the policy level, well.”
Sidhu expected $1 million to be directed to a political action committee (PAC):
- Approximately 16 months after (Sidhu) provided confidential inside information to the Angels, he was secretly recorded stating that he expected to receive a large campaign contribution from the Angels after the Angel Stadium sale was completed; that is, (Sidhu) expected $1 million to be directed to a political action committee (PAC) to be spent on (his) behalf during the next election.
- In December 2019, the City of Anaheim and Moreno’s management company reached an agreement to keep the Angels in Anaheim through at least 2050. The Los Angeles Times previously reported the deal was for $325 million.
After one year, it became $320 million because the city would retain a fire station and municipal water building on the land.
- The sale included the land surrounding the stadium and was made with the intention that Moreno would develop the land to create a neighborhood with more restaurants, bars and housing in the area, according to the Times.
It also incentivized Moreno to either renovate the current stadium or build a new one on the same land.
No wrongdoing by the Angels Organization Statement:
- “According to the Plea Agreement along with the City’s investigation showed no evidence of any wrongdoing by the Angels Organization,” an Angels spokesperson said in a statement to The Athletic.
- On Wednesday, Aitken released a statement on the situation:
“This is a sad day for the city of Anaheim, and it’s possibly just the tip of the iceberg,” Aitken said. “The collusion between the former mayor, fellow council members and the Angels is appalling and further shows the need for real reform. I’d like to thank law enforcement — including the FBI and my former colleagues in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for all their work on this case. My resolve is strengthened that basic reforms are urgently needed to turn the city around and move us forward.”
Federal law enforcement recorded Sidhu:
- Federal law enforcement officials secretly recorded Sidhu during their investigation, where he said he expected to receive a $1,000,000 campaign contribution from the Angels once the sale went through, the agreement says.
- “Because I, I’ve said, you gotta at least, minimum of a million dollars to come up with my election,” a transcript of Sidhu’s recorded comments from December 6, 2021, included in the plea agreement, says. “They have to. And of course, you know, … if Angels project would conclude next year is approved hopefully, we’ll push for them at least half a million dollars. You know, for (Angel’s representative) to say ‘no’ is bad.”
- On January 28, 2022, federal law enforcement recorded Sidhu saying, “Because I am hoping to get at least a million from (sic) I’m going to be pushing it. (Angel’s representative) actually asked me. He said, ‘What can I do for your election?’ I said, ‘Let me finish your deal first, and then we’ll talk about that,’” according to a transcript shared in the plea agreement.
- Sidhu voted for the sale of Angel Stadium to the team during a September 2020 council meeting, the agreement says.
During an interview with the agents from the FBI in May 2022, Sidhu told them “he was expecting ‘nothing’ from the Angels,” the plea agreement says.
- Sidhu registered a helicopter he bought under an Anaheim businessperson’s address in Arizona in an attempt to avoid $15,887 in sales tax, the agreement says. He has since paid the applicable taxes, the agreement says.
- Sidhu is facing the possibility of 50 years in prison,
- a three-year supervised release
- and “a fine of $1,000,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offenses,” depending on what is greater, the agreement says.
THE prosecutors have agreed to recommend sentencing on the lower end of sentencing guidelines.
- He can enter his plea later this month in US District Court in Santa Ana, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District.
In Anaheim, Greenlaw scored City Council approval in 2019 to build up to 65 townhomes and 38,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. The development required Greenlaw to buy a 30-acre parcel of land from the city.
- In 2020, Greenlaw contributed $25,000 to the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce political action committee — a PAC that spent more than 71 percent of its contribution funds on Sidhu’s mayoral election. Shortly after, Greenlaw’s project was approved.