The long anticipated results of an independent corruption investigation into the inner workings of Anaheim’s city hall have finally dropped – one that details Disneyland area resort interests improperly steering city hall policymaking.
In all, the report paints a picture of loose regulation over lobbyists, who exert huge influence at city hall along with a serious problem of leaks from city council closed session deliberations, largely to resort and developer interests.
In their over 350-page report, investigators from the JL Group found serious issues with the relationship between city leaders and the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, which they said operated “virtually as a money laundering operation.”
The report also states the Anaheim Police Department refused to help investigators unlock city-issued phones for two elected officials – disgraced former Mayor Harry Sidhu and former council member Trevor O’Neil – who were a focus in the investigation.
The Disney and Angels organizations declined to make people available for interviews at all, and leaders of the Chamber of Commerce – namely President Laura Cunningham – refused to hand over vital documents to investigators, according to the report.
Meanwhile, residents in Anaheim – home to the “happiest place on earth” – have waited for about a year now to get a sneak peek under the hood of city hall after an FBI corruption probe rocked the city in 2022, alleging the Chamber of Commerce had an outside control over the city.
Now the wait is over.
Read the report here.
On Monday evening, Mayor Ashleigh Aitken released a statement highlighting the report’s criticisms of Sidhu.
“The report released today is further confirmation that the actions of former Mayor Harry Sidhu and those who enabled him were not reflective of incompetence, but instead conscious acts of fraud, greed, and deception,” Aitken wrote.