Anaheim City Council members have asked the mayor to resign, their formal letter coming just a day after the Federal Bureau of Investigation made public a recorded conversation of Mayor Harry Sidhu allegedly trying to extort $1 million as part of the sale Angel Stadium.
"We need to start fresh and that starts with the letter that I sent to the mayor, asking for his resignation this afternoon," Anaheim's Mayor Pro Tem Trevor O'Neil said.
Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu is accused of trying to solicit $1 million to help finalize the sale of Angel Stadium on city land to team owner Art Moreno's development company. On Tuesday, a judge put a 60-day hold on the sale at the request of the state attorney general.
"This information came as much as a surprise to us as it did to members of the public," O'Neil said. "Completely unprecedented, absolutely no knowledge. This is a personal issue with the mayor that appears to have happened completely outside of the business of the city."
According to court documents, an FBI agent was able to get the cooperation of an associate of Sidhu to record conversations with him.
In one conversation, Sidhu is heard saying, "Because I...I've said, you gotta at least, minimum of a million dollars to come up with my election. They have to...and of course, you know, if Disney, I mean, if Angels [stadium sale] would conclude next year...[if it] is approved hopefully...we'll push for them at least have a million dollars. You know, for [The Angels Representatives] to say 'no' is bad."
The FBI said in court documents that they believe Sidhu solicited the $1 million to finalize the stadium sale, and the bureau said the mayor leaked confidential information about the sale to Angels team representatives.
So far, though, no one from the Angels organization or Mayor Sidhu have been charged with a crime.
"If I were the mayor, I wouldn't be sleeping well at night," Scott Tenley said.
Tenley, a former federal prosecutor, said the public facing evidence is unlikely to be the whole case.
"This is the tip of the iceberg. This is what the FBI showed to a judge to get the warrants. There's likely dozens of other conversations back there. They have scores of records, of subpoenaed documents to prove up their case," Tenley said.
Todd Ament, the former head of Anaheim's Chamber of Commerce, is also facing charges of his own, including accusations of money laundering. He's not named in the case against Mayor Sidhu, but Tenley said based on what he's seen in the court documents, it's possible the cases are connected.
"I don't think there's any question about it. If you look at page 31 of the affidavit, there's a transcript of a recording where the mayor references Todd. He's talking to somebody named Todd, who just pleaded guilty, and that would coincide with the unsealing of the search warrants and then he's got a complaint and he's charged," Tenley said.
Asked what happens to Anaheim's deal to the stadium property after these latest revelations,
So what happens now with Anaheim's deal to sell the stadium property?
"It's too early to say at this point, the future of the existing stadium deal. However, given the stigma that is associated with it, I see little chance of it continuing to move forward," O'Neil said.
CBSLA reached to Mayor Sidhu's attorney who said it would be premature for him to comment.
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