Los Angeles Angels Baseball owner Arte Moreno announced in a statement today that he will no longer consider selling the major league team months after an FBI corruption probe in Anaheim killed $150 million Angel Stadium land sale.

Since August, Moreno had been looking to sell the team. 

This came in the wake of backlash from residents after federal agents revealed in May that they had launched a corruption investigation into city hall – touching on the stadium sale and numerous Disneyland-area resort interests in town.

But after exploring a sale, Angels owners said the process made them change their minds. 

“As discussions advanced and began to crystallize, we realized our hearts remain with the Angels, and we are not ready to part ways with the fans,players, and our employees,” Moreno said in a Monday statement.

Marie Garvey, a spokeswoman for the Angels, said she would not comment beyond what was in the news release when reached on Monday.

In an email statement Monday, Anaheim Mayor Ashleigh Aitken said no discussions about a potential land sale have happened since last year. 

 But that could change.

After the dust settles and when the time is right, I am open to talking about any proposal that would be good for our residents,” Aitken said.

Aitken’s father, Wylie, chairs Voice of OC’s Board of Directors.

The current stadium lease is expected to expire at the end of the decade with extensions through 2038.

City spokesman Mike Lyster said in an emailed statement Monday that it would be premature to renegotiate the current lease.

Moreno’s reversal comes after he announced he was looking to sell the team two months after the public release of two explosive affidavits from FBI agents detailing alleged corruption at city hall and former Mayor Harry Sidhu. 

[Read: In Wake of FBI Corruption Probe, Angels Baseball Owner Arte Moreno Says He Might Sell Team]

In a sworn affidavit, federal special agent Brian Adkins said Sidhu attempted to ram the stadium deal through for $1 million in campaign contributions from team officials. 

Read the FBI affidavits here and here.

Sidhu resigned last May and the deal fell apart on the very same day. Through his lawyer, he denied any wrongdoing and hasn’t been publicly charged with a crime. 

Meanwhile, the Angels still pressured Anaheim officials to complete the land sale – which would’ve sold the stadium – along with the roughly 150 acres it sits on – for $150 million in cash. 

SRB management, the development company headed up by Moreno, demanded $5 million from the city in June to cover transaction costs including consultant fees, inspection fees and legal fees spent in connection with the now-dead stadium.

Former Councilman Jose Moreno – no relation to Arte Moreno – began publicly questioning if the Angel executives had lived up to their end of the Angel Stadium lease agreement that requires the team to maintain city owned stadium at a first class level.

In November, council members unanimously voted to solicit bids for a property condition assessment of the stadium.

[Read: Is Angel Stadium in Disrepair? Anaheim Officials Look to Find Out]

“We expect to have responses to a request for proposals in March-April time frame and to Council shortly after that. Work on an assessment would play out over months, with a potential finished assessment in hand in late 2023,” Lyster wrote.

Anaheim is still dealing with the fallout of the FBI corruption probe that was revealed nine months ago. 

An internal investigation into campaign finances and contracts is expected to be wrapped up and publicly released this spring. 

And Melahat Rafiei, once a highly influential Democratic consultant, agreed to plead guilty to attempted wire fraud stemming in part from trying to get favorable cannabis shop legislation passed in Anaheim.

She is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 6.

[Read: OC Democratic Power Broker Admits To Attempted Bribery of Irvine Councilmembers and Attempted Wire Fraud]

Last July, former Anaheim Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Ament pleaded guilty to a series of federal fraud charges. 

[Read: Anaheim Chamber CEO Todd Ament Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges, Could Face Decades in Federal Prison]

Shortly after the corruption probe became public last May, former City Manager Chris Zapata told Voice of OC that Ament was a regular presence at city hall, influencing policy making – essentially acting as Sidhu’s right hand man. 

Ament’s sentencing is scheduled for March 24. 

Spencer Custodio is the civic editor. You can reach him at scustodio@voiceofoc.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerCustodio.

Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at helattar@voiceofoc.org or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.

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