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Former Anaheim Mayor Pleads Guilty in Federal Corruption Case Over Sale of Angel Stadium

The former mayor of the Southern California city of Anaheim on Wednesday agreed to plead guilty to obstructing an FBI corruption investigation related to the $150 million sale of Angel Stadium to the Major League Baseball team's owner, federal prosecutors said known.

Harish “Harry” Singh Sidhu admitted in a plea agreement that he provided confidential city information to people working for the Angels while he was on the city's negotiating team for the deal, according to a statement from U.S. Attorneys. The information should help the team to buy the stadium on favorable terms.

“It was later recorded that Sidhu was expecting a $1 million campaign donation from the Angels after the baseball club purchased Angel Stadium,” the statement said.

The charges Sidhu will plead guilty to, including obstruction of justice, wire fraud and lying to authorities, carry a maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison.

Sidhu “appreciates the thorough and fair investigation by the US Attorney's Office which has resulted in a resolution to this matter,” his attorney Paul S. Meyer said in a statement.

Marie Garvey, spokeswoman for the Angels, said in a statement on Wednesday: “It is important to note that both the consent letter and the city's investigation have found no evidence of wrongdoing by the Angels organization.”

Sidhu, 66, resigned as mayor last year after it was revealed he was under a federal investigation. On the day of his resignation, the City Council voted to rescind a 2020 agreement to sell the city-owned ballpark and 151 acres to Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno and his development business partnership.

Under that deal, Moreno would have paid $325 million, but only about $150 million in cash, while his company would have taken out a $170 loan to incorporate about 500 affordable housing units and a park into the redeveloped site to get the stadium.

In return, the team would have committed to staying in Anaheim until 2050.

After the deal fell through, Moreno and the Angels began evaluating a possible sale of the team – which outraged fans in the Orange County town of 345,000 – but announced in January that a sale was off the table.

“We realized that our hearts remain with the Angels and we are not willing to part with the fans, players and our staff,” Moreno said in a statement at the time.

Sidhu had denied wrongdoing, saying his negotiations were lawful and in the best interest of the city. But in his plea agreement, prosecutors said he admitted deleting emails and documents related to the sale and lying to FBI agents about the negotiations.

Sidhu also admitted to “defrauding the California tax authorities and making false statements to the Federal Aviation Administration in connection with the purchase of a helicopter,” the US attorney's statement said.

Sidhu will plead guilty to one count of obstruction of justice, one count of wire fraud and two counts of making false statements to the FBI and FAA. No date for the sentencing was announced.

“Mr. “Sidhu was elected by the people of Anaheim and has pledged to work for them, but he has broken that promise and their trust on numerous occasions by looking out for special interests,” said Donald Alway, associate director the FBI field office in Los Angeles.

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