California mayor resigns amid baseball stadium deal scandal
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The mayor of the Southern California city of Anaheim is resigning amid a swirling political scandal over the sale of Angel Stadium to the baseball team.
Mayor Harry Sidhu is quitting his post effective Tuesday, his lawyer, Paul S. Meyer, said in a statement Monday. He said the stadium negotiations were lawful and that Sidhu didn’t ask for campaign contributions linked to the deal.
“Mayor Harry Sidhu has always, as his foremost priority, acted in the best interests of the City of Anaheim, and he does so today,” Meyer said in a statement.
The resignation comes a week after the Orange County city of 347,000 people said it learned Sidhu was being investigated by federal officials in relation to the stadium deal.
Since then, Sidhu’s colleagues on the city council have called for him to resign and raised questions about whether the stadium sale can move forward. The city is expected to discuss the stadium plan at a meeting Tuesday.
“No one ever wants to see their mayor resign in difficult circumstances like this but we do welcome this resignation,” city spokesman Mike Lyster said. “We will welcome some clarity as part of a larger effort to evaluate the situation we’re in and figure out the best path forward for our city.”
Anaheim has been negotiating the sale of the land around the stadium to the Los Angeles Angels. The team would agree to stay in the city through 2050 and buy the stadium and its surrounding parking lots, where it would build homes, shops and restaurants.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Sidhu is being investigated by federal officials for allegedly giving confidential information to the Angles at least twice during negotiations in the hope of getting a campaign donation.
Sidhu has not been charged with a crime.
The scandal has ballooned in Anaheim since last week when a former chamber of commerce executive was charged by federal officials of lying to a mortgage lender as part of a broader investigation. This weekend, a California Democratic Party official resigned her post after it came to light she was a cooperating witness in the probe, and authorities said they suspected she had paid bribes to public officials.