The Most Corrupt Place on Earth: Disney Employee Part of Anaheim Government Cabal - Report
Disneyland was built in Anaheim, California in 1955. In the years since, it has become one of the most influential companies in Southern California. Disney claims that the park generates $5.7 billion annually for the Southern California economy.
An FBI affidavit that was released publicly last week detailed a small cabal that controlled the city government in Anaheim, California. A major part of that cabal was an unnamed employee of a company only identified as “Company A.”
A Los Angeles Times report
, citing a person familiar with the investigation, claims that “Company A” is Disneyland Resort and the employee is Disneyland Resort Director of External Affairs Carrie Nocella.
At this time, neither Nocella nor Disney have been accused of any wrongdoing, but it is a part of a larger investigation that saw Republican Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu and Democratic National Committee and state party secretary Melahat Rafiei resign due to accusations of bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering.
According to the affidavit, Nocella, along with a political consultant, scripted a speech given by Sidhu in front of a city council meeting. Sidhu was the only local official to speak on the item, which considered the spending of $210 million in grants meant to shore up lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The political consultant is believed to be Jeff Flint, CEO of FSB Public Affairs, who has worked with Disneyland Resorts in the past. Flint took a leave of absence from his job at FSB but has denied any wrongdoing.
After the meeting, a Disney employee – believed to be Nocella – texted the political consultant, complaining about the mayor’s performance, saying that he read “your script so poorly.”
The affidavit described the Company A (Disney) employee as a one of the group's ringleaders “to some extent.”
The cabal also included Todd Ament, the head of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, who resigned after being accused of laundering chamber mone
y through a consultant’s PR firm to his personal account. He used that money to secure a loan for a $1.5 million estate in Big Bear, a small lakeside California town known for its ski resort.
Disney is long thought to have major influence in Anaheim. Council members, current and former, along with a former mayor and political activists have all told the Los Angeles Times that Disney uses their power to get tax breaks and influences politicians through campaign contributions.
In 2015, the city council approved a plan that exempted Disney from sales tax on its ticket sales for 45 years, and then in 2016, the city gave Disney $267 million in tax rebates to build a luxury hotel.
But after city voters passed a measure requiring that any resort that receives subsidies from the city pay its employees a living wage, the company abandoned plans for the hotel and asked the city council to cancel their sales tax exemption.
Months before the mayor would give his speech in front of the city council, Nocella, Ament, the political consultant thought to be Flint and a still unnamed elected official discussed who should be allowed in a secretive meeting between elected officials and powerful business interests in the city.
During a phone call wiretapped by the FBI, “Elected Official 1” and the political consultant discussed who would be allowed in the meeting.
“No, I talked about it with Todd [Ament] and [Company A Employee],” the political consultant said. “We felt like for this first one we’ll kinda keep things big picture and stick with um, with, um, [Elected Official 4] and [Elected Official 3]. … But, um, [Elected Official 2’s], you know, I think he’s on the team, but he’s just gonna take some management because he’s got competing pressures.”
Other tapped calls showed that the group was obsessed with making sure only people they trusted were allowed into the meeting, saying that they had to “keep the family close” and Ament once called their group a “cabal.”
Sidhu resigned on Monday
in response to a separate affidavit that accused him of giving the Angels baseball team confidential information while the city was engaged in negotiations with the Angels over the sale of Angel Stadium, while hoping to receive a $1 million campaign donation from the team.
The sale of the stadium has since been put on hold. Sidhu’s lawyer denies any wrongdoing and says he will be cleared after the investigation. Still, Sidhu’s campaign website, which was active as of Monday, is now offline.
Nocella, who recently deleted her social media accounts, has declined to comment on the matter. Disney told the Los Angeles Times that “We have seen media reports of the complaint and no authorities have reached out to us about it.”