In a federal courtroom in Santa Ana, the 66-year-old former mayor pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, wire fraud and two counts of making false statements to the FBI and to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Orange County Register reported.
“Yes, I’m guilty,” Sidhu told Judge John W. Holcomb.
The court admission comes more than 15 months after the Anaheim City Council voted to nix a $320 million deal to sell Angel Stadium because of a corruption scandal involving the former mayor that included misconduct and pay-to-play schemes.
The charges against Sidhu outlined in a plea agreement last month include lying to FBI agents about not expecting to receive anything from the stadium deal, despite secret recordings of him saying he hoped to secure a $1 million campaign contribution.
“Former Mayor Sidhu appreciates the thorough investigation by the United States Attorneys Office leading to this fair settlement,” Paul Meyer, Sidhu’s attorney, said after Sidhu’s first public appearance in more than a year. “He deeply regrets these violations.”
The agreement came weeks after an independent investigation by the city released details about how Sidhu and his allies had engaged in ”influence peddling” with OC developers, and a “potential criminal conspiracy” involving the alleged shuffling of pandemic recovery funds.
During the city’s talks to sell Angel Stadium to a company owned by Angels owner Arte Moreno, Sidhu sought to join the city’s negotiating team. He then provided “confidential inside information belonging to the city” to former Anaheim Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Ament.
Melahat Rafiei, a political consultant who was a central witness to the FBI’s Anaheim investigation, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 10 for attempted wire fraud, according to the Register. Rafiei pleaded guilty in April after she had helped the FBI probe Anaheim officials after she was arrested in 2019.
— Dana Bartholomew
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Former Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu has publicly copped to charges of public corruption that killed the city’s $320 million sale of Angel Stadium. In a federal courtroom in Santa Ana, the 66-year-old former mayor pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, wire fraud and two counts of making false statements to the FBI and to the
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Robert Khodadadian has long had a simple philosophy about selling real estate. There are approximately a million buildings in the city, and the broker that gets to sell any one among the multitude that will hit the auctioning block at a given moment is, sometimes, simply the person who happens to pitch their services to the right seller.