News Releases

April 22, 2021: Former Palmdale Mayor Pleads Guilty in Corruption Case

Greg Risling, Assistant Media Chief
(213) 257-2000

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced that former Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford pleaded guilty today to lying about income he illegally received from two consultants.

“This case illustrates that some public officials are willing to deceive the public for their own greed,” District Attorney Gascón said. “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 (dob 6/24/53) entered his plea to one count of perjury. He was immediately sentenced to formal probation for two years and ordered to pay $189,800 in restitution.

He was charged with co-defendants Kimberly Anne Shaw (dob 9/2/55) and Susan Burgess Miller (dob 6/26/48) who both were accused of using shell companies to pay Ledford several thousand dollars a month to receive favorable treatment by him.

Shaw had been a consultant for the city of Palmdale, and with Miller’s assistance, ran the AERO Institute, which received more than $2 million annually from NASA.

Miller operated a company known as Complex Culture Change Consulting and hired Ledford in 2009. Over a four-year period, AERO Institute paid the consulting firm more than $13,000 every month and the consulting firm, in turn, paid Ledford $5,200 per month.

Ledford did not perform any substantive work for AERO Institute and did not report the income he received from AERO Institute on economic disclosure statements, prosecutors said.

Shaw pleaded guilty to one felony count of filing a false tax return in January 2020 and was sentenced to formal probation for three years.

Miller pleaded guilty to one felony count of misappropriation of public funds in January 2020 and was sentenced to formal probation for three years.

NASA was entitled to receive roughly $1.8 million in restitution from funds sized from the AERO Institute.

Case BA458328 was investigated by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.