ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The mayor of the Southern California city of Anaheim is stepping down amid a swirling political scandal over the sale of Angel Stadium to the baseball team.
Mayor Harry Sidhu steps down effective Tuesday, his attorney, Paul S. Meyer, said in a statement Monday. He said the stadium negotiations were legal and that Sidhu had not asked for campaign contributions related to the deal.
“Mayor Harry Sidhu has always, as a top priority, acted in the best interests of the City of Anaheim, and he is doing so today,” Meyer said in a statement.
The resignation comes a week after the Orange County city of 347,000 said it learned that Sidhu was being investigated by federal officials regarding the stadium deal.
Since then, Sidhu’s colleagues on the city council have called on him to step down and raised questions about whether the sale of the stadium can go ahead. The city is expected to discuss the stadium plan at a meeting on Tuesday.
“Nobody ever wants to see their mayor resign in difficult circumstances like this, but we welcome the resignation,” city spokesman Mike Lyster said. “We will appreciate some clarity as part of a larger effort to assess the situation we find ourselves in and determine the best path forward for our city.”
Anaheim negotiated the sale of the land around the stadium to the Los Angeles Angels. The team would agree to stay in the city until 2050 and buy the stadium and its surrounding parking lots, where they would build houses, shops and restaurants.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Sidhu is being investigated by federal officials for allegedly giving inside information to the Angles at least twice during negotiations in hopes of securing a campaign donation.
Sidhu has not been charged with a crime.
The scandal exploded in Anaheim since last week when a former Chamber of Commerce executive was accused by federal officials of lying to a mortgage lender as part of a larger investigation. This weekend, a California Democratic Party official resigned after she was discovered to be a cooperating witness in the investigation, and authorities said they suspected she had paid bribes. -wine to officials.
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