Monday, February 6, 2023
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Anaheim Mayor & DNC Calif. Rep Resign, as FBI Probes Corruption in Angel Stadium Deal

'His unwavering goal from the start has been to keep the Angels in Anaheim, so that this vibrant social and economic relationship will continue... '

(Pamela Cosel, Headline News)  A sprawling criminal corruption probe into Anaheim, California, politics resulted Monday in two high-profile resignations with the potential for more to come.

The mayor of Anaheim and the state representative to the Democratic National Committee both submitted resignations this week in the wake of criminal allegations filed against them.

Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu, a Republican, quit on Monday after the FBI revealed information about his alleged crime in connection with making a deal for the $320 million sale of Angel Stadium, according to Voice of OC.

Sidhu is alleged to have shared confidential city information with the Angels baseball organization and tried to expedite the land sale for the stadium in an effort to get at least $1 million in campaign spending from Angels executives. The stadium sale has been put on hold pending the unfolding investigation.

Sidhu denied the allegations in a statement from his attorney, Paul Meyer, who said that Sidhu “never asked for a political campaign contribution that was linked in any way to the negotiation process,” according to Politico.

“His unwavering goal from the start has been to keep the Angels in Anaheim, so that this vibrant social and economic relationship will continue,” Meyer said.

The FBI worked secretly with people close to Sidhu, building its case, making them federal informants, according to court filings.

Connected to the corruption and also under investigation by the FBI is Melahat Rafiei, the pro-Black Lives Matter secretary of the California Democratic Party and the state representative to the Democratic National Committee, who quit her post.

Rafiei resigned on Sunday after the FBI arrested her from an incident in 2019 where she is suspected of bribing public officials. Court records also showed a judgment lawsuit filed by Jocelyn Almeida on August 31, 2021, against Rafiei.

The City of Anaheim and City Council of the City of Anaheim are named as the defendants in the land deal lawsuit. The Anaheim City Council voted 5-2 in July 2019 to appoint Sidhu to the negotiating team for the land sale, according to the affidavit.

The FBI has information that Rafiei omitted facts to investigators and that she allegedly offered to pay bribes to elected officials, according to Resist the Mainstream. The FBI tapped Rafiei’s phone during the summer of 2019, and first arrested her on October 28, 2019. She never revealed that arrest information to the California Democratic Progressive Caucus, which also this week asked her to step down.

Included in a sprawling corruption probe is former Chamber of Commerce CEO and president Todd Ament. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged Ament, 57, with making false statements on a mortgage application, reported Politico.

Ament is also alleged to be part of a corruption ring that sought to influence public policy through controlling officials that a group of powerbrokers helped elect.

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