Former Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony perjury charge for lying about income he illegally received from two consultants.
Ledford, now 67, was immediately sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay $189,800 in restitution to NASA, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
He was charged in June 2017, just over six months after being elected to his 13th term as Palmdale’s mayor. He subsequently lost his bid for re-election in November 2018.
Susan Burgess Miller, now 72, and Kimberly Anne Shaw, now 65, who had been a consultant for the city of Palmdale for two decades, were also charged.
Miller pleaded guilty in January 2020 to a felony count of misappropriation of public funds, and Shaw pleaded guilty then to a felony count of filing a false tax return, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Both women were sentenced to three years probation.
With Miller’s assistance, Shaw ran the AERO Institute which had received more than $2 million a year from NASA, while 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 each month and the consulting firm, in turn, paid Ledford $5,200 a month, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Ledford did not perform any substantive work for AERO Institute and did not report the income he received from the institute on economic disclosure statements, according to prosecutors.
“This case illustrates that some public officials are willing to deceive the public for their own greed,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a written statement. “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.”
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: