Disney Cited In Anaheim Corruption Probe: Report

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Zinger Key Points
  • The company has not been accused of illegal activities.
  • A spokesperson said Disney was "prepared to cooperate with authorities if they so request ."

Walt Disney Co. DIS has found itself in a new political scandal, this time involving an influence peddling scheme that forced the mayor of Anaheim, California, to resign earlier this week.

What Happened: The Wall Street Journal reported on a 100-page affidavit filed in a California federal court that detailed the machinations of “Company A,” which allegedly exercises considerable influence over Anaheim’s political leaders. The affidavit accused a company employee of helping to arrange meetings between business executives and the city’s leadership.

The Journal, citing input from an unnamed “person with knowledge of the details of the investigation,” stated Disney was “Company A” and Carrie Nocella, Disneyland Resort’s head of external affairs, as the employee in question.

Why It's Important: Neither Disney nor Nocella have been accused of illegal activity. However, there is a guilt-by-association aspect in citing Disney and Nocella. The affidavit was filed in support of an arrest warrant for Todd Ament, the former president and CEO of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, who was accused of embezzling funds from the chamber and lying on a mortgage application for a vacation home at a California ski resort.

The investigation of Ament also uncovered details on former Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu’s alleged effort to broker a $320 million sale of the Anaheim Angels baseball stadium in exchange for a generous contribution to his political campaign.

See Also: New Photos Show Shanghai Disneyland's Derelict State After 2 Months Of Closure

What Else Happened: Nocella did not publicly comment on the report. A Disney spokesperson issued a statement that said, “We believe we have acted fully in accordance with the law and are prepared to cooperate with authorities if they so request in the course of their investigation.”

The California probe follows Disney’s tumultuous role within Florida’s political environment. Earlier this year, the company earned the wrath of Gov. Ron DeSantis for speaking out against the state’s controversial new law banning courses on sexual identity and orientation in school classes between kindergarten and third grade. DeSantis rebuked the company for bringing “California values” to his state and successfully coordinated legislation to dismantle a special tax district that Disney received in 1967.

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Posted In: NewsPoliticsLegalGeneralReal EstateAnaheimCarrie NocellaFloridainvestigationRon DeSantisTodd AmentWalt Disney Co.
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