Former Palmdale mayor pleads guilty to perjury

Courtesy of the Los Angeles County District Attorney

Former mayor of Palmdale Jim Ledford pleaded guilty Thursday to withholding income that was illegally received by two consultants, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday. 

Ledford pleaded guilty to perjury connected to a corruption case from 2017 involving two city workers, and was sentenced to two years’ formal probation and ordered to pay $189,800 in restitution. 

“This case illustrates that some public officials are willing to deceive the public for their own greed,” L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón said in a press release. “I want to commend our investigators and prosecutors for their diligent work to uncover this scheme. It is imperative that we all work together to have a clean government.” 

Ledford was charged along with Palmdale city consultants Kimberly Anne Shaw and Susan Burgess Miller, who were accused of using shell companies to pay Ledford several thousand dollars a month to receive favorable treatment, according to a D.A. press release. 

Shaw ran the AERO Institute with Miller’s assistance, which received approximately $2 million annually from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In addition, Miller operated the company Complex Culture Change Consulting and hired Ledford in 2009. 

The AERO Institute paid the consulting firm $13,000 each month and in turn, gave Ledford $5,200 per month over the course of four years. 

Ledford failed to report the income he received from the AERO Institute on economic disclosure statements, the press release read. 

Shaw pleaded guilty to one felony count of filing a false tax return and Miller plead guilty to one felony count of misappropriation of public funds in January 2020, and both were sentenced to formal probation for three years. 

Ledford served 13 terms as Palmdale mayor since 1992, serving his last term in 2016 before being succeeded by current mayor Steve Hofbauer during the 2018 election. 

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