Harry Sidhu, Mayor of Anaheim, California, has resigned from his post as a federal corruption investigation against him continues. Sidhu allegedly sought to acquire campaign donations through the sale of a baseball stadium in the city.
Though Anaheim's elected officials formally urged Sidhu to resign from his mayor post, his attorney Paul S Meyer said "a fair and thorough investigation" would exonerate the mayor.
Sidhu, who is a Republican, has not been charged with a crime.
What Are the Allegations?
According to a federal affidavit released earlier this week, evidence has come to light that Sidhu, in a bid to help his campaign donations, sought to take advantage of the city's attempt to sell Angel Stadium.
The City of Anaheim, which is California's tenth-largest city, has spent years figuring out the terms for selling the stadium, including the land, to a group spearheaded by Arte Moreno, the owner of the Angels baseball team.
Sidhu shared confidential information about these negotiations with an Angels' representative through an intermediary and then tried to conceal his actions, according to an affidavit from Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Brian C Adkins, as reported by Politico.
The affidavit alleges that Sidhu continued to discuss his intention to ask an Angels' representative for "half a million dollars or more in campaign donations in exchange for his work advancing the proposed stadium deal."
Sidhu's lawyer, Meyer, in his statement, said that the affidavit showed Sidhu "never asked for a political contribution that was linked in any way to the negotiation process."
"His unwavering goal from the start has been to keep the Angels in Anaheim so that this vibrant social and economic relationship will continue."Paul S Meyer, Mayor Harry Sidhu's attorney
'Persistent Culture of Corruption'
Agent Adkins, in his affidavit, said that the ongoing federal investigation pointed to a persistent culture of corruption in the City of Anaheim that is "tightly controlled by a small cadre of individuals."
A different affidavit showed a money-laundering investigation that accused the former Anaheim Chamber of Commerce President Todd Ament of lying on his mortgage application. A campaign consultant sought to influence policy through what Ament and his consultant referred to as a "cabal" of people who exercise their power over the ongoings of Anaheim.
Melahat Rafiei, a California Democratic Party official, resigned from her posts on Sunday after revealing to the Voice of OC that she was an unnamed confidential informant referred to as having offered a bribe to elected officials, according to Adkins' affidavit.
The planned stadium transaction has been brought to a halt upon the request of the California Department of Justice. Anaheim paid a fine of $96 million to the DOJ to resolve allegations that the city's Angel Stadium violated state land-use laws.
"In order to continue to act in the best interests of Anaheim and allow this great City to move forward without distraction, Harry Sidhu has resigned from his post as Mayor effective May 24, 2022."Paul S Meyer, Harry Sidhu's attorney