After pleading guilty Friday to multiple federal charges, former Anaheim mayor Harry Sidhu may face decades in jail for crimes related to the $150 million sale of Angel Stadium.
On Aug. 16, Sidhu, 66, announced his intentions to plead guilty to charges involving corruption and leaking confidential city information during the stadium’s sale to the L.A. Angels Major League Baseball club in 2018, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In return for the information leak, he was recorded saying he expected a $1 million campaign contribution following the sale.
The leaked information to Angels representatives ensured the purchase would be made on terms favorable to them.
Sidhu pleaded guilty to several charges including obstruction of justice, wire fraud, and making false statements to the FBI and the FAA.
After a Santa Ana courthouse hearing on Friday, Sidhu had reached a plea deal on the case.
“Former Mayor Sidhu appreciates the thorough investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office leading to this fair settlement,” said Paul Meyer, Sidhu’s attorney. “He deeply regrets the violations in this matter.”
Elected to office in 2018, Sidhu resigned from his mayoral position in May 2022 while being investigated by federal officials in relation to the stadium deal.
Sidhu also admitted to cheating California tax authorities and making false statements to the Federal Aviation Administration regarding the purchase of a helicopter, officials said.
In late 2020, Sidhu admitted to defrauding the state of about $16,000 in sales tax to purchase that helicopter.
While being investigated, authorities said Sidhu “knowingly destroyed evidence by deleting multiple email messages and documents with the intent to impede and obstruct the FBI’s investigation of public corruption.”
Sidhu admitted to deleting a September 2020 email about secret mock Anaheim City Council meetings involving himself, two other city council members and Angels representatives including the team president and a team lawyer.
The mock city council meetings preceded scheduled public meetings about the proposed sale. Sidhu’s deleted email had an attachment that detailed the scripted talking points for each participant.
“While serving as Anaheim’s mayor, Mr. Sidhu took a series of actions that compromised the city’s negotiating position by providing confidential information and secretly working to influence the city’s decision-making process – all of which had a detrimental effect on the city and its residents,” said First Assistant United States Attorney Joseph T. McNally.
“The public places a lot of trust and confidence in elected officials, which Mr. Sidhu violated,” said Special Agent in Charge Tyler Hatcher, IRS Criminal Investigation, L.A. Field Office.
The former head of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce also pled guilty to charges related to the case.
Sidhu is scheduled to be sentenced on June 14, 2024. He could face up to 50 years in prison, however, his actual sentencing will likely be lower due to the plea agreement according to a Department of Justice spokesperson.