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Everything you need to know about the Anaheim corruption probe, Angel Stadium deal

With a vote, the Anaheim City Council voided a $320 million deal to sell Angel Stadium to a business partnership created by the team’s owner Arte Moreno.

For a couple of years, most city leaders had said the sale would be a boon for the community, turning parking lots into a vibrant entertainment destination with homes for thousands of people.

Then within the span of days, support for the deal largely evaporated.

Throwing city leaders a curveball, news emerged that Anaheim’s mayor is under federal investigation, and he has now resigned.

The arrest of the former CEO of the city’s chamber of commerce led to the release of wiretap transcripts that appear to support allegations of a self-described “cabal” of business and political leaders that has been exerting “significant influence” over how the city is run.

Is your head spinning? The headlines have been coming fast and furious, so here’s what you need to know:

Allegations emerge

An affidavit filed in federal court May 12 says authorities are investigating whether now former mayor Harry Sidhu “shared privileged and confidential information with the Angels during stadium sale negotiations,” tried to conceal that from a grand jury inquiry, and hoped to receive campaign contributions as a result.

That bombshell was followed up by the arrest of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce’s former CEO, in what appear to be related investigations – and the FBI’s investigators say they believe there is a group that’s been exerting some pretty extensive influence in the Council Chambers.

Allegations paint picture of influential cabal in Anaheim politics

Will there be no baseball in Anaheim?

Experts say they’d expect with time, the city and the Angels will negotiate again … the LA market would be hard to leave.

But first they have to address the deal they had – the city says it is void, but the team had been putting pressure on the city to push ahead, saying it “negotiated in good faith which resulted in a fair deal.”

Then, given the chance of a do-over, city leaders have to decide what they want to pursue in the future for developing the stadium.

What’s next for baseball in Anaheim after Angel Stadium sale canceled?

Here’s a timeline to help you get caught up:

Dec. 20, 2019

Anaheim City Council members vote to sell the 150-acre stadium property to SRB Management, which Angels owner Arte Moreno formed for the transaction.

Anaheim votes to sell Angel Stadium and the land around it for $325 million

Sept. 30, 2020

The council approves the details of the $320 million deal, which includes 466 apartments for lower-income families and a 7-acre showpiece public park; the city would credit $170 million back to the buyer for those and other community benefits to be built on its behalf. SRB would have the right to develop hotels, shops and restaurants, offices and housing.

After hours of debate, Anaheim approves details of Angel Stadium sale

Dec. 8, 2021

State Housing and Community Development officials notify the city it violated the Surplus Land Act by not offering the stadium property to affordable housing developers before agreeing to sell to SRB. The city disputes that it did anything improper.

State to Anaheim: Angel Stadium sale violates affordable housing law

April 25, 2022

Officials announce a settlement between Anaheim and the state, brokered by Attorney General Rob Bonta, that would put $96 million of stadium sale proceeds into a fund to create affordable housing around the city; a small number of low-income units would still be built on the stadium site.

Anaheim settles Angel Stadium sale dispute with state for $96 million

May 16, 2022

Bonta’s office asks the Orange County Superior Court to hold off on approving the settlement after officials learn Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu is part of an FBI investigation for corruption. Among the allegations is that Sidhu tried to pass confidential information to the Angels to help them in the negotiation, and that in return he hoped to get $1 million in support for his reelection. Sidhu has not been charged and his lawyer has said a ”fair and thorough investigation” will clear him.

Feds investigating Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu over Angel Stadium sale

May 17, 2022

The Former CEO of Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, Todd Ament, makes his first appearance in court facing criminal charges, the affidavit supporting the warrant for his arrest outlines allegations that a small group of business and political figures, with Ament and an unnamed political consultant as its ring leaders, has been exerting influence on city policies and actions.

Former CEO of Anaheim Chamber of Commerce facing criminal charges

May 21, 2022

An attorney for Angels Baseball and SRB Management says the buyer has met all its obligations and gives the city a deadline of June 14 to approve the stadium deal.

Angels officials pressuring Anaheim to approve stadium deal; deadline given

May 23, 2022

Sidhu announces he is resigning as mayor, under increasing pressure from the rest of the City Council and other elected officials, residents and organizations. The council must now decide whether to appoint a replacement or leave the seat open until the November election.

Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu resigns amid federal investigation

May 24, 2022

The City Council moves to cancel the sale to Angels owner Arte Moreno’s company, which had plans to develop thousands of homes, shops, hotels and offices on the 150-acre site.

Why the Anaheim City Council nixed the Angel Stadium sale

Here are some more key headlines:

Allegations paint picture of influential cabal in Anaheim politics

Allegations paint picture of influential cabal in Anaheim politics

Fallout from Anaheim corruption probe focused on public funds, political ties and Angels Baseball

Fallout from Anaheim corruption probe focused on public funds, political ties and Angels Baseball

Melahat Rafiei resigns from DNC, fair board roles amid fallout from Anaheim corruption probe

Melahat Rafiei resigns from DNC, fair board roles amid fallout from Anaheim corruption probe

Cannabis licensing efforts tied to Anaheim corruption investigation

Cannabis licensing efforts tied to Anaheim corruption investigation

 

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