Former Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu Will Plead Guilty To Corruption, Faces Jail
India-West News Desk
ANAHEIM, CA – Former Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu is set to plead guilty after being implicated in a federal investigation involving false statements to investigators about his involvement in a land sale deal with Angel Stadium. Once Sidhu enters his guilty pleas, he will face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for the obstruction of justice count, up to 20 years in federal prison for the wire fraud count, and up to five years in federal prison for each false statements count.
The charges revolve around allegations that Sidhu sought campaign support of up to $1 million from the baseball club in exchange for pushing through the stadium’s land sale.
Sidhu, a Republican and vociferous Donald Trump supporter, was planning a reelection campaign.
The plea agreement, filed on August 16 in the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, reveals that Sidhu initially denied any expectation of benefits from the buyer in exchange for facilitating the stadium sale. However, the evidence presented suggests that Sidhu was anticipating a hefty campaign contribution from the purchaser, contingent upon the successful completion of the sale.
Sidhu was caught on an FBI recording making these claims, seemingly unaware that he was being monitored. In a conversation with an Angels representative, Sidhu was overheard stating his intention to secure a million-dollar contribution for his re-election campaign after sealing the stadium deal.
The plea agreement also reveals Sidhu’s involvement in leaking city information to the Angels’ negotiating team and destroying public records concerning the stadium’s land sale.
The agreement, the Los Angeles Times pointed out, offers an “extraordinary look” inside Sidhu’s years-long efforts to sell the stadium for $320 million that attracted local controversy and, eventually, the attention of the FBI. The efforts extended even to a mock City Council meeting to rehearse talking points.
The counts of false statements and wire fraud against Sidhu are also related to his purchase of a helicopter in 2020. The plea agreement says the Indian American registered the helicopter at an Arizona address, to avoid paying more than $15,000 in California sales tax.
While Sidhu’s formal guilty plea is pending, a spokesperson from the U.S. Department of Justice anticipates this step will be taken in the coming weeks.
“Mr. Sidhu was elected by and pledged to work for the residents of Anaheim, but he violated that pledge and their trust on numerous occasions to look out for special interests,” said Donald Alway, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “Mr. Sidhu deceived his colleagues and weakened the city’s official strategy by divulging intellectual property, then lied to the government when his corruption was discovered. I’m proud of the hard work put in by agents and prosecutors which resulted in today’s plea agreement.”
The repercussions of this case extend beyond Sidhu alone. The Angels, implicated in the alleged deal, deny any wrongdoing, citing both the plea agreement and an independent corruption probe report. However, city investigators note the Angels’ lack of cooperation in their examination, the Voice of OC reported.