Thomas D. Shepard

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Shepard in 1962

Thomas D. Shepard, or Tom Shepard, (born c. 1925) is a former Los Angeles City Council member who served between 1961 and 1967. He left office when he was convicted of receiving a bribe, and he served time in state prison.


Shepard was born in Ohio about 1925 and was an infantry sergeant in France and Germany during World War II. He moved to Los Angeles about 1949 after attending Ohio Wesleyan University, Ohio State University and Wittenberg College, all in Ohio; he received a bachelor's degree in social science from Wittenberg. Shepard did graduate work in economics at UCLA. He and his wife, Carolyn, and their four children, Mike, Susan, Connie and Barbara, lived at 4731 Natoma Avenue, Woodland Hills. In 1954–57 he was field secretary for City Councilman Robert M. Wilkinson and for Councilman Patrick D. McGee in 1959–60. He also was field secretary for Mayor Norris Poulson.[1][2][3][4][5]

City Council[edit]


See also List of Los Angeles municipal election returns, 1961, 1965.

Shepard was elected to a four-year term in the 3rd District in June 1961, succeeding his boss, Patrick D. McGee.[6] In that era, the 3rd District included West Hollywood, UCLA and contiguous territory and, on the other side of the Santa Monica Mountains a portion of the San Fernando Valley, including Tarzana and Woodland Hills.[7][8] He was reelected in 1965.


Shepard became known for his opposition to strip-tease shows in suburban areas[5] and once brought to a City Council meeting a magazine, which he kept in a manila envelope, "with many photographs of youngsters, completely nude, disporting themselves in a wooded area."[9] He told the council in 1964:

The rawest type of lascivious and lustful paperback magazines may be obtained from racks in almost any drug or liquor store and in many markets in the Valley, with much of the offensive material which features teen-age nudism disappearing rapidly from the shelves into the hands of impressionable youngsters.[9]

In 1967 he warned of "reports that an army of hippies proposes to visit Los Angeles during the summer and establish headquarters in the city parks" and said he would seek municipal legislation to prevent "commandeering" of the parks by such intruders.[10]

After three public meetings the same year, an eight-member City Council committee "cleared" Shepard and entertainer Art Linkletter of charges that they were linked in a scheme to influence city purchase of the "financially troubled" Valley Music Theater in Woodland Hills.[11]

In December 1967 he announced that he would quit the council early in order to enter the import-export business, basing his decision on the financial need for his family.[12]

Indictment and trial[edit]

Shepard and former Recreation and Parks Commissioner Mel Pierson were indicted by a grand jury in September 1968 on charges of bribery and conspiracy in the rezoning of land in the San Fernando Valley.[13] Shepard's trial ended in acquittal on one charge and a hung jury on another. On the advice of his attorney, John La Follette, he submitted the transcript of the latter case to a judge, who found him guilty. A new lawyer, Phill Silver, appealed and won a new trial for Shepard. He was convicted, in November 1969 of a bribery charge and was sentenced to state prison for a 1-14-year term by Superior Judge Pearce Young, who noted that the power to rezone was the power to create great wealth and using that power wrongfully "is just as bad as stealing public money." [14][15]


In May 1971, Shepard became general manager and vice president of Ries Biological of Los Angeles, which dealt in drugs and medical supplies and devices.[16] He served a 15-month sentence at the Chino Institution for Men, and after his release he was hired by City Council Member Ernani Bernardi in January 1975 "as a project assistant under the federal government's emergency jobs program."[17] He was working there in 1979.[18]


A library card may be required to access the Los Angeles Times links.

  1. ^ "Shepard Appointed," Los Angeles Times, July 5, 1967, page B-2
  2. ^ Bing map
  3. ^ "Winner," Los Angeles Times, June 2, 1961, page 8
  4. ^ "City Council Candidates," Los Angeles Times, March 19, 1961, page SF-A-ll
  5. ^ a b "Incumbent Councilman One of Three in 3rd District Race," Los Angeles Times, March 28, 1965, page SF-A-3
  6. ^ "M'Gee Will Leave City Post Early," Los Angeles Times, June 8, 1961, page B-1
  7. ^ "Outlook in City's Council Contests," Los Angeles Times, April 1, 1951, page 2
  8. ^ "Council OKs Changes in Its Districts," Los Angeles Times, November 1, 1960, page B-1
  9. ^ a b "Councilman Charges Smut Flooding Valley," Los Angeles Times, March 26, 1964, page G-1
  10. ^ Sid Bernstein, "Curb on Hippies' Use of Parks Asked," Los Angeles Times, July 11, 1967, page SF-7
  11. ^ Erwin Baker, "Probe Clears Councilman and Linkletter," Los Angeles Times, August 5, 1967, page 3
  12. ^ Erwin Baker, "Shepard to Quit City Council Early in 1968," Los Angeles Times, December 15, 1967, page 3
  13. ^ Ron Einstoss, "Grand Jury Indicts Shepard, Pierson," Los Angeles Times, September 27, 1968, page A-1
  14. ^ Robert Kistler, "Judge Orders Shepard Retrial in Bribery Case," Los Angeles Times, July 25, 1969, page A-1
  15. ^ Ron Einstoss, "Ex-Councilman Shepard Gets 1 to 14 Years on Bribery Count," Los Angeles Times, January 9, 1970, page A-1
  16. ^ Joan Sweeney, "Shepard to Start Bribery Sentence," Los Angeles Times, January 6, 1973, page A-1
  17. ^ Erwin Baker, "Convicted Ex-Councilman Gets City Job," Los Angeles Times, January 10, 1975, page 28
  18. ^ Jean Merl, "Block Grant Finally Used for Low-Income Housing," Los Angeles Times, page SF-1

Preceded by
Patrick D. McGee
Los Angeles City Council
2nd District

Succeeded by
Donald Lorenzen