News Releases

June 21, 2017: Palmdale Mayor, Two Consultants Charged in Public Corruption Case

Greg Risling, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford has been charged with illegally receiving more than $60,000 a year from local consultants and failing to publicly disclose the income on economic statements, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Ledford (dob 6/24/53) was charged in case BA458328 with one count each of conspiracy and conflict of interest and three counts of perjury.

Also charged are Kimberly Anne Shaw (dob 9/2/55) of Yorba Linda and Susan Burgess Miller (dob 6/26/48) of Las Vegas. Both Shaw and Miller face the same conspiracy count as well as one count each of embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds.

Ledford is expected to be arraigned today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. The case was filed for warrant today.

Between Aug. 1, 2009 and May 3, 2017, the defendants utilized various shell companies to pay Ledford approximately $5,200 a month, according to the criminal complaint.

Shaw has been a consultant for the city of Palmdale for the past 20 years and with Miller’s assistance operates the AERO Institute, which receives more than $2 million annually from NASA.

Miller ran 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 company, in turn, allegedly paid Ledford $5,200 per month.

Prosecutors allege Ledford did not perform any substantive work for AERO Institute during that time frame.

In January 2012, the Palmdale City Council voted to boost Shaw’s consultant contract to an amount not to exceed $3.9 million over seven years. Ledford allegedly failed to reveal at the time that he was indirectly receiving income from AERO Institute, the criminal complaint said.

AERO Institute also has paid a $1 annual lease to Palmdale since 2004.

In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Ledford is accused of not reporting the income he received from AERO Institute on economic disclosure statements.

If convicted as charged, Ledford faces a possible maximum sentence of four years and eight months in state prison, while Shaw and Miller face up to four years in prison.

Deputy District Attorney Russell Moore of the Public Integrity Division is prosecuting the case, which remains under investigation by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.