Anaheim’s ex-mayor is refusing to comply with public records requests from the city, following accusations that he committed bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
"Embattled former Anaheim mayor Harry Sidhu has refused to publicly disclose emails and text messages from personal accounts he used to conduct city business, calling into question how thoroughly a city-commissioned investigation can probe a corruption scandal tied to the aborted sale of Angel Stadium and a self-described 'cabal' that allegedly steered city politics," the Los Angeles Times reports.
"In emails obtained by The Times, Sidhu’s criminal defense attorney claimed the former mayor’s past communications about city business on private devices were no longer public because he has resigned and invoked his client’s 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination."
Sudhu’s actions are a violation of California law, legal experts say. Nonetheless, they may encourage other government officials to conduct official business on private accounts in an effort to avoid transparency.
“That would create a disastrous situation for the public to know what its government is up to,” the First Amendment Project’s Paul Clifford told the Times.
Sudhu stepped down in May amid a wide-ranging corruption scandal involving the $320-million sale of Angel Stadium. The FBI has accused Sidhu of sharing confidential information with the Angels during negotiations over the stadium sale and soliciting a $1 million bribe, then trying to thwart a subsequent investigation.
The city requested Sidhu’s emails after the FBI affidavit came to light. In a June 22 email to City Atty. Robert Fabela, Sidhu’s attorney, Paul Meyer, refused.
Sidhu has not yet been charged with a crime.