Angels Officials Pressuring Anaheim to Approve Stadium Deal; Deadline Given

Anaheim city officials have been given a June 14 deadline by the buyer to approve the Angel Stadium sale – but if they move forward with the deal, they could face legal action from the state over an unresolved affordable housing dispute.

In a letter to the city late Friday, attorney Allen Abshez said Angels Baseball and stadium buyer SRB Management (formed by Angels owner Arte Moreno for the transaction) “have acted in good faith throughout their dealings with the city,” and SRB is ready to close the deal.

But the city also is locked in a dispute with state housing officials and Attorney General Rob Bonta over how and where affordable housing would be provided in connection with the stadium sale.

The city and state seemed like they would avoid litigation when they reached a settlement last month, but before an Orange County Superior Court judge could sign off, it came to light that Mayor Harry Sidhu – who was closely involved in crafting the stadium deal – was under federal investigation for alleged corruption.

On Monday, May 16, state officials raised concerns about the FBI’s allegations against Sidhu – that he sought to provide the Angels with confidential city information regarding the negotiations, in the hope of getting $1 million in support for his reelection.

Sidhu has not been charged with a crime. The FBI affidavit notes the investigating agent has no evidence that Sidhu actually solicited campaign funding from the Angels.

The state was granted a 60-day stay of any court decision on the settlement with the city, which appeared to put the deal in limbo.

SRB Management and the Angels apparently don’t want to wait that long.

Abshez’s letter says the deal approved in September 2020, to sell the 150-acre stadium property for $320 million, “was the result of an honest arms-length negotiations with city staff and its advisors, and has been thoroughly analyzed and debated.”

He concluded, “SRB has met all its obligations and has every expectation that this transaction should move forward, and looks forward to the council’s final action no later than June 14, 2022.”

The City Council was already scheduled to meet Tuesday to consider its options.

Councilman Trevor O’Neil has publicly said he doesn’t support going ahead with the deal. Other council members also have “expressed initial reservations,” city spokesman Mike Lyster said in a statement Saturday.

The city received Abshez’s letter and is evaluating it, he said.

Sidhu’s alleged actions regarding the stadium deal fall outside the good-faith, public process the city followed, Lyster said, but they still raise “questions, concerns and complications.”

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

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