Angels to Anaheim: You are ready to approve the sale of the stadium

Faced with community pressure to delay or cancel the Angel Stadium sale amid a corruption investigation into Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu, the Angels gave Anaheim City Council 25 days on Friday to grant final approval to the ‘agreement.

In a letter obtained by the Los Angeles Times and sent on behalf of Angels and SRB Management, the development company led by the owner of Angels Arte Moreno, attorney Allan Abshez told the city that the team and SRB “acted in good faith. “and they expect” that the parties will complete the transaction. “

Abshez concluded the letter as follows: “SRB has fulfilled all its obligations and has every expectation that this transaction will go ahead and looks forward to the final action of the Council by June 14, 2022”.

Abshez did not say how the Angels and the SRB would respond if the board refused to finalize the deal on that calendar. The agreement has not ended, so Moreno can do without it.

The council has two meetings scheduled before the deadline set by the Angels, one on Tuesday and the other on June 7th. The board may call an extraordinary meeting as long as it is limited to a single topic.

Tuesday, an Orange County Superior Court judge suspend a settlement proposal between the city and the state, considered the last major obstacle to finalizing the sale. The state attorney general asked for the suspension on Monday, disclosure of the corruption investigation and saying that the allegations “question” the validity of the transaction and perhaps the sale itself.

In 2019, the city agreed to sell the 150-acre stadium site for $ 320 million, with $ 124 million of that amount credited to Moreno so that it would build affordable housing on the property. The state housing agency said the city violated California’s Affordable Housing Act by not offering the property to housing developers first.

Under the settlement, called a bound judgment, the city would pay $ 96 million – the amount that could be fined – into a fund to build affordable housing in other parts of the city. Moreno agreed to return $ 96 million of those credits – in cash – and in exchange for the city it exempted him from building four affordable housing units out of five proposals.

Last week the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) told the Times that the revised agreement between the city and the state – called the Arrangement and Development Agreement (DDA) – is expected to be rejected by the council. municipal.

“As we have stated repeatedly, the settlement between the City of Anaheim and SRB violated the Surplus Land Act. We extorted the maximum penalty and additional commitments for affordable housing for this violation,” Megan Kirkeby, HCD Deputy Director of Development. housing policies, he told the Times in a statement.

“The revised DDA is proof that the city and the SRB do not take our enforcement and affordable housing seriously. HCD will exercise everything in our power to hold them accountable.

“It is difficult to see how the DDA aligns with the stipulated ruling. We encourage the city council to reject the revision of the DDA. “

In his letter, Abshez said SRB is willing to move forward with or without the revised DDA.

The revised DDA is the city’s way of enforcing the ruling with the state and resolving what HCD has claimed was a violation of the Affordable Housing Act.

It is unclear how HCD or the Attorney General would respond if the city council rejected the revised DDA and proceeded to the sale, which would essentially nullify the deal and challenge the state to another showdown on the Affordable Housing Act. The city said it has reached an agreement to avoid litigation that would consume time and money, not as an admission of wrongdoing.

In his letter, Abshez stated that the original DDA “was the result of honest long-distance negotiation with city staff and their advisors.”

In the affidavit revealed on Monday, FBI Special Agent Brian Adkins wrote that he found probable reason to believe Sidhu had shared inside information about the sale talks with the Angels – while the city was negotiating against the team – “with the expectation of. receive a considerable contribution to his re-election campaign from an important representative of the Angels ”.

In the affidavit, there is no evidence of wrongdoing by anyone associated with the Angels and no evidence that Sidhu made the million-dollar solicitation he proposed.

Abshez noted that the proposed sale meets the priorities set by Anaheim prior to the start of negotiations, including the development of housing, parks and property tax-generating businesses; to charge SRB the entire cost of running the stadium and of renovating or replacing; and keep the Angels in Anaheim for decades.

Abshez wrote: “In conclusion, SRB Management and Angels Baseball have acted in good faith, have participated in a long and thorough public review and hearing process and believe that the benefits of the transaction and the merits of its completion are manifest.”

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