ANAHEIM, Calif. — Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu will step down from his post Tuesday, so the city "can move forward without distraction," an attorney representing the embattled mayor said.

What You Need To Know

  • Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu’s resignation came as members of the council have called on him to step down

  • Sidhu said he did not want to be a “distraction” as the FBI probes allegations he fed insider information to the Los Angeles Angels in the proposed stadium sale
  • Sidhu’s attorney issued a statement Monday denying his client did anything wrong in the stadium deal
  • Last week, an OC Superior Court judge put the stadium deal on pause at the request of the state Attorney General’s Office, which revealed the corruption probe in its legal papers

For the past week, members of the city council and community have called on Sidhu to resign after an affidavit from the California Attorney General’s Office contained an FBI investigation that implicated the mayor in alleged corruption, bribery, obstruction of justice and fraud charges. 

The FBI corruption probe of Sidhu centered around the city’s $320 million approved sale of the 150-acre Angel Stadium land and surrounding parking lots to the owner of the Los Angeles Angels, Arte Moreno.

The FBI claims Sidhu, a Republican who was elected in 2018, exchanged sensitive city information during negotiations to later solicit a representative from the Angels for a $1 million political contribution toward his reelection campaign in November. The city council was slated to finalize the deal sometime in June.

A letter released Monday through Sidhu’s attorney, Paul S. Meyer, denied his client did anything wrong.

“A fair and thorough investigation will prove that Mayor Harry Sidhu did not leak secret information in the hopes of a later political campaign contribution,” said Meyer. “His unwavering goal from the start has been to keep the Angels in Anaheim, so that this vibrant social and economic relationship would continue.

“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 continued.

The attorney’s letter is the first time the community has heard from Sidhu or one of his representatives since the affidavit was released on May 16. 

The 55-page court filing presented evidence and a wiretapped conversation between a cooperative witness and mayor that some city council members called “damning.”

Sidhu is facing a slew of charges. 

The FBI is also investigating Sidhu for registering his yellow helicopter with an Arizona address to avoid paying California sales tax. 

But the FBI’s main investigation — and Sidhu’s resignation — centers around the city’s stadium and land sale. 

With the Angel Stadium lease up and Moreno threatening to move the team, Sidhu ran on a platform to keep the Angels in town. 

Once elected mayor, Sidhu headed the city’s negotiation team with the Angels. He later gathered enough votes on the city council to approve the sale of the stadium and parking lot to Moreno’s development firm, SRB Management, for $320 million.

But the deal often felt one-sided and fast-tracked, residents said. The council approved the sale in December 2019, a little more than a year after Sidhu took office.

Residents filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming the city officials weren’t fully transparent about dealing with the Angels’ representatives during negotiations.

A judge struck down that lawsuit in March.

A state housing department also filed a lawsuit against the city for not first offering the land to affordable housing developers, violating the state’s Surplus Land Act. 

In April, the state and the city settled the matter.

The most “damning” piece of evidence against Sidhu from the FBI investigation claims the mayor allegedly rushed to close the stadium agreement with the Angels in hopes of soliciting a million-dollar political contribution for his reelection campaign.

Additionally, the FBI caught Sidhu on tape, allegedly admitting to deleting emails and communications regarding the stadium deal and coaching a cooperating witness what to tell an Orange County Grand Jury probe into the Angel Stadium deal.

When the affidavit was released, Sidhu cut all communications off with city staff. 

The last time Sidhu attended a meeting was on April 26. He was not at the May 17 meeting.

Sidhu is the second mayor of Anaheim to resign in the city’s history. Former Anaheim Mayor Charles Pearson left in 1959.