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Angels’ $320m stadium sale on hold over corruption claims

The $320m sale of Angel Stadium, home of Los Angeles Angels, has been put on hold amid a public corruption investigation.

An Orange County Superior Court judge halted the progress of the transaction for 60 days over allegations that Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu had sought to profit from the sale, which was agreed in 2019.

According to court documents cited by the Los Angeles Times, Sidhu is accused of soliciting a donation of approximately $1m to his reelection campaign as the City of Anaheim discussed the sale of the stadium and surrounding land to SRB Management, the company of Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno. It has since transpired that the original $320m comprised only $150m in cash, while plans for affordable housing were cut considerably.

Judge Glenn R. Salter granted the postponement after an application from the state Attorney General who also filed an affidavit for a federal search warrant. The state attorney general’s involvement came in a legal dispute over whether the deal violated the state’s Surplus Land Act.

“We will determine what this means for the stadium plan in the days ahead,” Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster told the Los Angeles Times in a statement.

The Anaheim City Council had been expected to vote on the stadium deal in June, according to the Los Angeles Times, following significant changes to plans were announced earlier this year. After the controversy over the scaling down of affordable housing, in April it was announced that the city would embark upon the largest affordable housing investment in its history as part of an agreement with the state of California.

The April agreement, between Anaheim and the California Department of Housing and Community Development, was claimed to resolve all issues with the stadium site sale and the state’s Surplus Land Act.

The Angels have played in Anaheim since 1966. The City of Anaheim built what is today Angel Stadium of Anaheim in 1966, and has owned it since. The sale would end 50-plus years of city stadium ownership and put any future maintenance, renovation or stadium construction costs solely in the hands of SRB Management. The plan, which would keep the Angels in Anaheim until at least 2050, also calls for a renovated Angel Stadium, or a new 45,000-seat stadium.

Image: kaleb tapp on Unsplash

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