Angels Baseball owner Arte Moreno still wants the city to pay his development firm $5 million for what he says are the costs the organization incurred for processing the illegal cash sale of Angel Stadium in 2020. 

A sale that’s under investigation by the FBI.

On Tuesday, City Council members are set to revisit this request behind closed doors – a request which was filed as a legal claim by the Angels’ negotiating team, SRB Management, in June 2022. 

“This is an updated discussion on the original $5 million claim,” said city spokesperson Mike Lyster in an emailed response to questions on Friday. “Beyond that, we don’t have additional details as this is a closed session item and want to respect that.”

He previously told the Voice of OC earlier this year that the $5 million claim expired.

Mayor Ashleigh Aitken and the rest of the city council did not return a request for comment Friday. Aitken’s father, Wylie Aitken, chairs Voice of OC’s board of directors.

Council members are also set to discuss a host of reforms Tuesday in light of a scathing independent corruption investigation report alleging pay to play schemes at city hall.

Earlier this month, former mayor Harry Sidhu agreed to admit to lying to federal agents about leaking sensitive information from the city to the Angels’ negotiating team around the sale of Angel Stadium in an attempt to ram the sale to get $1 million in campaign finance from baseball club executives.

The plea agreement raises further questions about the role Angels Baseball executives played in the stadium deal with State Senator Tom Umberg demanding in an OC Register opinion piece the termination of the Angel Stadium lease.

[Read: Could The Angels Soon Be Playing Baseball Without A Stadium Lease in Anaheim?]

Marie Garvey, a spokesman for the Angels, issued a statement after the plea agreement saying the plea agreement alleges no wrongdoing by the baseball team.

Requests for comment from Garvey on the scheduled Tuesday council discussion went unreturned on Friday.

In May 2022, Sidhu resigned as mayor after sworn FBI affidavits surfaced alleging he was involved in corruption at city hall. That same day, the city council killed the Angel Stadium land sale.

In June 2022, SRB Management filed a claim against the city demanding $5 million dollars to cover transaction costs including consultant fees, inspection fees and legal fees spent over the canned stadium land sale.

[Read: The Angels Demand $5 Million From Anaheim, Threaten Lawsuit Over Fire Station]

By October, former City Councilman Jose Moreno called a meeting behind closed doors to discuss the best way to enforce the Angels’ maintenance obligations under the lease. The city council also ordered up a stadium maintenance report.

But questions on whether the new city council will use the report to enforce the Angels’ maintenance obligations remain up in the air.

[Read: Who’s on the Hook for Angel Stadium Repairs?]

Questions also emerged earlier this year if the current city council has plans to secretly negotiate another Angel Stadium land sale.

Anaheim City Council members in January secretly rejected a settlement agreement that would’ve called on Anaheim officials to publicly hammer out another stadium deal just a day after Arte Moreno announced he’s not selling the Angels.

[Read: Is Anaheim Looking to Secretly Negotiate Another Angel Stadium Deal?]

Aitken refused to disclose what the vote was in an interview earlier this year.

The mayor also did not disclose to the Voice of OC on multiple occasions in the past meeting with Angels President John Carpino when asked if she had met with Angels executives.

Aitken pushed back on hiding meetings with the Angels in a phone interview earlier this month.

“I have never hid my calendar or any interactions with the Angels. That’s an unfair statement,” Aitken said, adding that she hadn’t yet met with Carpino when asked by a reporter previously.

Yet public records obtained by the Voice of OC show text message exchange between Aitken and Carpino planning to meet on May 9 – roughly a month before a reporter questioned her about meeting with the Angels.

“The Angels have not reached out to me, nor has the city reached out to the Angels,” Aitken said in a June 2 interview.

Public records obtained by the Anaheim Investigator blog also shows a text message exchange between the two planning a meeting in February.

When asked if she reported the meeting with Carpino on her public calendar – something she has pushed other city officials to do – Aitken said the meeting was disclosed in a public records request.

A public calendar summarizing her meetings does not show any meetings with Carpino.

A few days after the June 2 interview, Aitken and five city council members attended a private luncheon hosted by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce at Angel Stadium which raised questions about whether officials violated the state’s chief open meeting law.

[Read: Did the Anaheim City Council Violate California’s Open Meeting Laws?]

A public record request shows photos of Aitken sitting at a table with Angels Baseball Sr. Vice President Molly Jolly at the luncheon and standing next to Carpino for a picture.

Aitken noted the luncheon in her calendar, but did not publicly report it during the following city council meeting.

The mayor has since demanded the resignation of any city official implicated in Sidhu’s plea agreement.

“We’ll be calling to look into how some of these deals came to fruition,” Aitken said in a phone interview earlier this month. “I have grave concern about the former mayor sharing confidential information and want to explore all of our options to make sure that we’re protecting the taxpayers.”

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

Brandon Pho is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at or on Twitter @photherecord.


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