Crime & Justice

Palmdale councilman calls for mayor to step down during investigation

City of Palmdale, California.
City of Palmdale, California.
City of Palmdale

Palmdale councilman Austin Bishop on Friday took the unusual step of requesting that the city's mayor, Jim Ledford, temporarily step down. Ledford is the focus of an investigation by the Los Angeles District Attorney.

On Wednesday, investigators for the DA's office served six search warrants, including ones for Ledford's home and office, as part of the probe. The DA has not publicly stated the focus of the investigation.

Ledford, 63, has served as Palmdale's mayor for 25 years.

Drew Mercy, the Republican Party chairman for the Antelope Valley area, revealed he was one of two people who filed complaints about Ledford with the DA's office and the Fair Political Practices Commission.

"What I saw was shady activity," Mercy told our media partner, NBC Los Angeles.

Councilman Bishop wants Ledford to take a voluntary leave of absence until the investigation is complete. 

"This will show ours and his commitment to put our residents first," Bishop said in a statement released Friday.

Bishop said the investigation may center around Ledford's relationship with certain city contractors, and that the city should pursue options to suspend financial relationships with parties in the investigation. 

He also recommended contracting an independent attorney to ensure the mayor's cooperation with law enforcement.

Ledford has not made a public statement about the investigation.