Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu has resigned amid an FBI’s corruption probe related to the sale of Angel Stadium.
His resignation takes effect at midnight Tuesday.
The resignation comes as it was revealed last week that the mayor was the subject of a probe by the FBI, which alleged in a search warrant affidavit that he had fed insider information to Angels executives in the stadium deal and arranged to have a helicopter bought registered in Arizona so he could save money on taxes.
The FBI alleges that Sidhu was hoping to get a $1 million-dollar campaign donation from the team. That never happened and the FBI says the Angels were unaware of the scheme, but this has been building for a while now.
“A fair and thorough investigation will prove that Mayor Harry Sidhu did not leak secret information in the hopes of a later political campaign contribution,” Sidhu’s Attorney Paul S. Meyer said in a statement. “His unwavering goal form the start has been to keep the Angels in Anaheim, so that this vibrant social and economic relationship would continue…
“Mayor Harry Sidhu has has always, as his foremost priority, acted in the best interests of the City of Anaheim, and he does so today. In order to continue to act in the best interests of Anaheim and allow this great City to move forward without distraction, Harry Sidhu has resigned from his post as Mayor effective May 24, 2022.”
This comes as last week, three Anaheim City Council members called on Mayor Sidhu to resign amid the FBI corruption probe into his involvement in the proposed sale of Angel Stadium to team owner Arte Moreno.
Magic Johnson is one of the biggest names to have ever played in the NBA, and very few players have enjoyed the hype he did coming into the NBA. Having led his college team to the NCAA championship over his rival Larry Bird in what was the most-watched college basketball game ever, Magic entered the league as the man of the moment and would go on to be Finals MVP in his rookie season as well.
Understandably, Johnson was a coveted property when it came to endorsements and there was a bit of a battle in terms of which shoe company he would sign with. Both Nike and Converse made offers to Magic and the decision came down to whether he would take stocks instead of cash, with the 19-year-old choosing Converse, who had offered him $100,000 a year at the time.
However, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s the offer that Nike put on the table that would have made him a lot more money had he chosen to go with them. The company offered Johnson $1 for every pair of shoes sold along with 100,000 shares in stock options, with the stock valued at $0.18 at the time.
When contextualized, considering that Nike stock is worth $134 today, Johnson would have $5.2 billion to his name had he decided to sign with the company. However, Converse was a bigger brand than Nike at the time, which adds some more context as to why Magic made his decision as well.
In this clip, Gary Payton talked about receiving the news that Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash and recounted his initial reaction to the news. Gary reflected on his relationship with Kobe and how it extended beyond the game of basketball. To hear more, check out the clip above.
The board for CalOptima, which provides publicly funded health coverage for nearly 900,000 needy Orange County residents, abruptly fired its entire in-house legal team of attorneys and support staff late last week. Some had been with the agency for more than 20 years, according to records.
The agency instead will rely on a contract with Sacramento firm Kennaday Leavitt for legal services.
The board approved a $1 million contract with that firm in November, for two outside attorneys to support CalOptima’s nine-member legal team, whose salaries totaled roughly $1.5 million. The agency said at the time that additional help was needed as demands for legal services increased. CalOptima now says the decision during a closed session meeting Thursday night to fire the in-house team was about “improved efficiency.”
The move comes amid increasing concerns about how the agency is operating under the direction of its board chair, Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do, with substantial turnover in key positions over the past two years while salary levels for newly created or replacement positions have jumped significantly.
The agency’s chief medical officer, executive director of quality initiatives, communications director and other key staff members all have left in recent months. The last chief executive officer stayed only a year, with an interim CEO in his place. And the salary for that job jumped in September from a minimum of $400,000 to at least $560,000.
Do could not be reached for comment Monday.
A CalOptima spokesperson didn’t respond to a request about these concerns or additional information on the legal team’s departure. She instead emailed a statement that said: “CalOptima has taken action to utilize external legal resources to improve efficiency of the agency in support of its mission and to better serve our members.”
CalOptima is the health care insurer for poor and disabled O.C. residents, a majority who qualify for Medi-Cal coverage. The agency has an annual budget of $3.7 billion and operates under the direction of an eight-member board of directors.
The board started discussing the idea of contracting for outside legal services in late 2020. Do led an ad hoc committee that formed Dec. 3, 2020, to consider getting help to “address the substantial and increasing demand for legal services.”
During its Sept. 2 meeting, the eight-member board unanimously voted to request proposals from outside law firms to “augment, and integrate with, the legal services currently provided by the agency’s employed and contracted lawyers,” according to a board report.
Two months later, at the Nov. 4 meeting, the board approved using up to $1.05 million in reserves to contract for a year with Kennaday Leavitt, which has attorneys specializing in health care law, for general counsel to “work with internal lawyers.” The contract includes two additional one-year extension options and covers two full-time attorneys at $70,000 per month plus up to $210,000 in business expenses.
When the request for proposals went out, it included a requirement that the firm must have its main office in the Southern California area. But that requirement was dropped when the committee came back to the board with a recommendation to contract with Kennaday Leavitt, with veteran healthcare attorney James Novello in the top post.
During the Dec. 20 meeting, the board met behind closed doors to discuss Kennaday Leavitt’s job performance. Then, on Thursday, Feb. 3, the agenda listed a closed-door session to discuss “public employee discipline/dismissal/release.” Following that meeting, a clerk reported the board had “approved the closed session item.” The Register learned all seven in-house attorneys plus a supporting paralegal and office staff member were let go.
Supervisor Doug Chaffee, who said he recently moved from alternate to full board member and has only attended a couple CalOptima meetings, said the process of changing the legal staff started before his tenure. But he said the current interim CEO, Michael Hunn, reviewed the situation “and concluded that it was not very efficient,” Chaffee said, so Hunn asked the board to “make an organizational change” to exclusively use the new outside counsel.
Chaffee said the dismissed legal staff will receive severance packages per the agency’s policy, but he didn’t have details on the amount. As to using a contracted firm instead of in-house staff for legal services, he said, “I think there is a cost savings; time will tell exactly how much.”
In recent years CalOptima has weathered its share of criticism. In 2013, the county’s Grand Jury raised flags about a wave of CalOptima staff departures and issues with leadership.
The agency seemed to have course-corrected, with little controversy for several years. But since Do took the helm of the agency, some local healthcare officials have started to criticize recent changes.
In December, a past chairman of CalOptima’s board raised concerns with the recent appointment of Do’s deputy chief of staff to a newly created position at the agency, pointing to the staffer’s lack of experience in the healthcare industry and starting salary of $282,000, the Voice of OC reported.
The month before that, the Hospital Association of Southern California expressed dismay that a majority of the OC Board of Supervisors ignored its recommendation on whom to appoint to a vacant CalOptima board seat, picking someone from Los Angeles County instead of someone with local experience, according to another Voice of OC story.
A California hospital is being criticized for leaving the bodies of nearly 20 COVID-19 patients lying outside in the rain before security guards could eventually move them to a refrigerated morgue.
Soaking wet body bags are seen piled up outside the Los Angeles-based Memorial Hospital of Gardena, owned by Pipeline Health System, in footage captured by CBSLA. Employees are also seen in the footage rearranging the body bags of 19 deceased COVID-19 patients and carrying them into a mobile freezer in the hospital’s parking lot.
A morgue inside the hospital could only hold six bodies, which has posed difficulties throughout the pandemic, a hospital spokesperson told CBSLA.
The spokesperson added that the mobile freezer outside the hospital is kept at 34 degrees Fahrenheit, the necessary temperature to store the bodies, and denied that the bodies were left out in the rain.
‘Because of the overcrowding situation, hospital administrators took action yesterday to organize the outdoor cooling unit in a more orderly fashion,’ Memorial Hospital of Gardena wrote in a statement to CBSLA.
‘Hospital protocol calls upon security guards to assist in the process when mortuaries come to pick up bodies, primarily helping to lift and move the bodies,’ the statement continued.
However, a witness recalled watching teary-eyed employees carrying the bodies into the freezer in a recent downpour.
‘Security had tears in their eyes. They’re crying. Some of the security had to leave because they got fluid on their clothes when they did move the bodies,’ the anonymous witness told the news outlet.
The witness referred to what appeared to be body fluids on the bags and said there was no way the bodies were being stored at an adequate temperature. ‘Impossible. Those bodies were defrosted. They were decomposing,’ she said.
It is not clear how long the bodies were left outside before the were transferred, but the hospital confirmed that it has kept bodies in its mobile freezer for months at a time.
The hospital also claimed that 11 of the 19 people whose bodies were seen being transferred were not claimed by family members and Los Angeles County has yet to pick them up.
In this clip, Van Lathan spoke about moving to Los Angeles in 2005 and being determined to make his own way. When Vlad spoke about his experience living in L.A. for the first time and feeling like it was fake, Van explained that he sees a lot of people falling into the same trap because they get caught up in what they believe is the L.A. lifestyle. Van then detailed how he took the bus to his first job at a video game company, and he added that he met a lot of real L.A. people by interacting in his community. From there, Van spoke about how people succeed in L.A. by sticking it out and figuring out their own way. To hear more, including Van speaking about celebrities tricking him into not being filmed for TMZ, hit the above clip.
In the latest clip, Faizon Love offered his thoughts on Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden resigning after racist emails from a decade ago were exposed during the NFL’s investigation into the Washington Football Team’s work environment. The comedian questioned if the emails made Gruden racist, questioning if he himself would be considered racist if he made the exact same remarks. To hear more, view the clip above.
The University of Southern California is apologizing to former Japanese American students whose educations were interfered with by the school during World War II.
USC President Carol Folt will issue a formal apology to the former students and award them honorary degrees posthumously, according to the Los Angeles Times. The school is also asking the public for assistance in locating the families of around 120 students who went to USC from 1941-42.
“This is a stained part of our history,” USC Associate Senior Vice President for Alumni Relations Patrick Auerbach told the Times. “While we can’t change what happened in the past … the university can certainly still do right by their families and let them know that we are posthumously awarding them honorary degrees so that they can occupy that place in the Trojan family, which they deserve.”
An executive order issued by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943 forced the removal of people of Japanese descent from the West Coast, placing tens of thousands of people in detention camps.
USC refused to release the transcripts of Japanese American students so they could attend another university, the Los Angeles Times reported. When some students attempted to return to USC after the war, the school would not recognize their previously completed courses and told them they would have to start over, their surviving family members noted.
USC alumni have been pushing for the school to apologize for their actions toward Japanese American students during World War II for years, but the issue gained new momentum after George Floyd’s murder last year, which prompted many institutions to examine their roles in acts of racism.
USC law students last year publicized their research project centering on the issue, titled “Forgotten Trojans,” and an Academic Senate committee also pushed for the school to formally recognize the issue, the Times reported.
Folt will officially make the apology and award the degrees next spring at an Asian Pacific Alumni Association gala and will also recognize the former students at the school’s commencement in May, according to the Times.