Anaheim to pay more than $100 million over allegations of illegal sale of Angel Stadium
The City of Anaheim has agreed to pay $96 million to resolve allegations that the municipality violated state law when it sold Angel Stadium.
In a special meeting Tuesday night, the Anaheim City Council voted 5-2 to approve a stipulated judgment from Attorney General Rob Bonta regarding the sale of Angel Stadium. The judgment was meant to resolve allegations that the city violated the Surplus Land Act when it sold Angel Stadium to SRB Management, LLC, which officials expressly deny.
By approving the proposed judgment, the city will deposit nearly $96 million from the sale into a housing trust fund – equal to 30% of the full purchase price of the stadium – that will be used for the construction of affordable housing over the next five years. The city will also be required to pay about $27 million in “affordable housing credits” to the Angels to develop up to 466 units of affordable housing on Angel Stadium property.
City council members were divided over whether or not to approve the proposed stipulated judgment on Tuesday, and two members ultimately voted against it. Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu said that the judgment was a “mutual agreement” between the city and the state, saying there was “no conceding of any violation by Anaheim,” despite allegations that the city illegally sold the stadium.
“This agreement will allow the sale and development of the stadium site to move forward,” Sidhu said Tuesday night. “It will bring the largest investment in affordable housing our city has ever seen. This agreement is great for our city.”
“There is no fine being paid by Anaheim,” he later added, noting that the money from the housing trust fund would be used to build an estimated 1,000 new units of affordable housing in the city.
Councilmembers Jose Moreno and Avelino Valencia voted against approving the judgment. Both council members voiced concern about the limited time – roughly 24 hours – given to the council and residents to read the stipulated judgment before a special meeting was called.
Moreno told the council it is “inarguable” that the city would benefit from more affordable housing but wasn’t happy about allegedly running afoul of state law. Anaheim is said to have violated the Surplus Land Act by “failing to declare Angel Stadium Property to be ‘surplus land’ or ‘exempt surplus land” and not posting required notices before entering into the sale, according to the stipulated judgment.
“I’m concerned with the precedent we are setting as a city and what it signals to other municipalities that they can circumvent the law and negotiate a deal on publicly owned surplus properties behind closed doors and simply pay a fine later,” Moreno said. “The bottom line is this… Mayor Harry Sidhu and his council majority illegally sold our Anaheim Stadium and surrounding land on a no-bid real estate deal that is now costing the taxpayers of Anaheim $100 million dollars.”
Matthew Lewis, the director of communications with California YIMBY, told The Center Square that while the city will benefit from $123 million to subsidize housing, it’s starting from “ground zero if you don’t have the land” available to build the housing.
“The fact that Anaheim let go of that land and broke the law in doing so is a tragedy because they’re not making any more land in Anaheim,” Lewis said.
Bonta issued a statement Tuesday after the city council approved the stipulated judgment, saying “we are proud to have reached a resolution in this case that will bring much-needed housing — but especially affordable housing — to the Anaheim community.”
This article was originally posted on Anaheim to pay more than $100 million over allegations of illegal sale of Angel Stadium