Latest Reports Show Donations Total $442,000 in WeHo City Council Race

Mon, Mar 06, 2017   By Staff    10 Comments


Contributions to candidates in Tuesday’s election for two seats on the West Hollywood City Council have reached $442,000 as of the latest official report, with 79% of that going to the two incumbents.

Incumbent John Duran has received $132,000 in donations. Incumbent John Heilman has raised $99,000. Both also are benefitting from an independent expenditure committee (IEC) that has raised $120,000 to support them. If half of the money donated to Standing Up for West Hollywood Supporting Heilman and Duran for City Council 2017, is considered a benefit to Duran and half to Heilman, donations to the two incumbents total 43% and 36% respectively of all donations made through Feb. 18.

As has been the case in years past, contributions from real estate developers, their families and lawyers, lobbyists and other connected account for most of the donations. In Duran’s case, 56% of donations come from real estate interests. Half of Heilman’s donations come from real estate sources.

The recipient of the next largest amount of donations is Cynthia Blatt. Her $20,639 in donations includes a loan to herself of $600. Blatt also is the beneficiary of $25,000 raised by WeHo Money and Politics (WeHoMAP), an independent expenditure committee that also is backing challenger Steve Martin and campaigning against the incumbents. Martin has raised $8,800, to which he has added a loan to himself of $26,200, for a total of $35,000.

Other candidates who have reported donations are Nate Clark, whose $5,426 in campaign funding includes a loan to himself of $500; Michael Cautillo, who has raised $3,070; Reed Stillwell, who has raised $1,350 and Carla Romo, who has raised $760.

Candidates Amanda Goodwin and Joel Quaresimo have reported no donations.

The next campaign contribution reports must be filed by July 31 and will include donations from Feb. 19 through June 30. Those after-election reports usually include donations from people and entities with business before the city who postpone their donations until it is clear who has won the election.

In addition to real estate interests, Duran’s donations include $4,600 from city vendors such as Athens Services, the trash pick-up company, and people related to the owners of the vendors. Another $2,000 comes from billboard companies, which must have city permission to erect their lucrative sign platforms. Heilman’s donations include $500 from Athens Services.

Billboard companies donated $22,500 to the Standing Up IEC, with $10,000 from Ace Outdoor Advertising and the same amount from Orange Barrel Media. Five firms — 8920 Sunset Blvd. LLC, Emday Inc., Excel Property Management Services, SHAC LLC and Sunset Subsidiary LLC – each donated $10,000 of the $95,000 total amount given to the Standing Up IEC from real estate interests.

Literature from WeHo MAP has focused on donations to the incumbents from certain real estate interests in an apparent effort to get support from local voters who are concerned about what they see as too much development in West Hollywood. While one mailer says that neither Blatt nor Martin has taken money from those real estate interests, Blatt has reported a contribution of $500 from Kings 826 LLP, the entity behind the multi-unit building planned for 826 N. Kings Rd. against which Blatt led a campaign that put her in the political spotlight. The developers negotiated changes in the project and got Blatt to back down from her opposition. Blatt also has received a $500 donation from Boutique Homes LLC. An internet search shows the company as a home builder that is associated with the Charlie Hotel.

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10 Comments

  1. Don AzarsMon, Mar 06, 2017 at 7:31 am

    I find this totally ridiculous and suspicious that nearly 1/2 million dollars has been donated to support various city council candidates..even those I support. What do the candidates have to promise or at least owe the sources of such outlandish waste of money? Why is it profitable for donators … usually developers, business interests to do so. We should initiate a rule limiting individual donation amounts or if legal, limiting donations to only individuals or better yet eliminating or putting a limit on total donations. We have homeless people, others in need that could benefit from such money. I wonder why candidates really want to do this job…it can’t be to “give back” or “concern about our city” it doesn’t pay, the hours are extreme and there is little assistance currently.

  2. Neal Z.Mon, Mar 06, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Another uncomfortable fact that the WeHoMap folks don’t want us to remember is that when Steve Martin was in office, he took tens of thousands of dollars from real estate developers, including the developers of the single largest development in the city’s history at the time – the Sunset Millennium project. Steve would also like us to forget that he was fined tens of thousands of dollars by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) for his illegal political fundraising and was forced to disgorge tens of thousands of dollars of ill-gotten money.

  3. Shawn ThompsonMon, Mar 06, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Past all the shinny mailers with the Incumbents will fight for our #lgbt rights, (Which they don’t need to be on council to do), and all the other best spin that money can buy. Is the simple truth that our West Hollywood Democracy is bought and paid for by those who want to use our city for their benefit to make $$, versus what the residents want. For so much money needed in a sense to compete against our incumbents spin machine, it makes it almost impossible for anyone new to get elected. I also find the Blatt paper thin strength jabs. a ruse to try a distort what really going on. The residents passed term limits cause they wanted new face in new places. Not career politician’s like we have in Washington. But as we turn the corner to election day “Who Owns WeHo” hasn’t changed a bit, and being on council since the city started isn’t Democracy, that’s hoarding power. Finally Mr Duran in my opinion if he was a Honorable Elected Gay Man and role model for the #lgbt community would of resigned when his prior sexual contact with a employee he brought into the city’s payroll, at six figures became revealed. Its clear other #lgbt activist agree, including Ivy Bottini who isn’t voting for him. And yes one can also say look what they did good for the city, and its true, but that’s what council members are charged to do. But it doesn’t mean that Democracy and new residents shouldn’t get the chance to lead. Weho wont fail to pieces if the Incumbents don’t remain in power, that a ruse in my view. Fear mongering actually. And I’ll end my comments with some simple questions for every voter to ask, if they look at this money. PAY TO PLAY? HOW TO KEEP ZONING LAWS IN YOUR FAVOR?
    WANT TO BUILD A NEW BILLBOARD? WANT A CITY CONTRACT? I’m not fooled by what’s going on are you?

  4. Gloria VassyMon, Mar 06, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Heilman and Duran. A developers dream candidates. Duran’s sex scandal isn’t enough to vote him out of office, even though the city is out $500,000. One of Heilman’s trenchmen came to my door seeking a vote and told me that ,”these days, scandals don’t matter, in the case of Duran.” Trumpism is everywhere now. His voters didn’t care and still don’t care about his behavior. WeHo again will be in the hands of these two wretched incumbents, if the residents don’t wise up and “throw da bums out.” Gloria Vassy, W Hollywood.

  5. Larry BlockMon, Mar 06, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Its easy to discount a candidate because the smart money is betting on them. In this case, with a field of mostly unknowns with little or no track record it appears that experience counts.. and when one guy can donate $40,000 or $25,000 to one campaign and that is not ‘too much influence’ its hardly fair to call donations within law limits as ‘too much influence’.

    This total of less than $500k is half the amount in both 2015 elections when Heilman had almost half a million alone. So the real headline is. “CHEAPEST ELECTION IN YEARS” “DONATIONS FROM DEVELOPERS ARE DOWN ALMOST 30-50%”

  6. AllegraMon, Mar 06, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    John Heilman, Jeff Prang and Paul Koretz also took money from the developers of the Sunset Millennium.
    That was when nobody was developing in the city. Times have certainly changed.
    Spin it how you will but, it’s clear that Steve Martin no longer takes money from developers.

  7. Shawn ThompsonMon, Mar 06, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    @Neal rent you the lawyer that filed that politically motivated lawsuit against Larry Block that had no legal grounds to try and take him out of the race, For your Friends Duran/Heilman. The case you lost and had to pay Larry Block for his legal fees?

  8. Neal Z.Mon, Mar 06, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    No, Shawn, the suit that was filed on behalf of my client was not politically motivated at all; it was based on Block renting out an illegal unit – something that the City of West Hollywood had actually cited him for. And the Court did not throw out the lawsuit. There were 22 causes of action in that lawsuit, and the Court struck just 3 causes of action and agreed to allow 19 of the 22 causes of action to proceed. The Court specifically rejected the contention that the lawsuit was politically motivated. This is all a matter of public record, and you are welcome to pull the court’s file. And contrary to your contention, the case was ultimately settled out of court, without admission of liability, and with Larry Block actually paying money to my client as part of the settlement agreement.

  9. Come on Folks!Mon, Mar 06, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    Miss Preservation and Snow White who doesn’t take $$$ from developers, but did. Oh, but that was the past. That’s quaint.

  10. Shawn ThompsonTue, Mar 07, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    @Neal Acording to Hank Scott’s story on your law suit I quote “That lawyer is Neal Zaslavsky, a Duran appointee to the city’s Eastside Working Group and a director of the West Hollywood Library Foundation whose website identifies him as a political consultant as well as an attorney. Zaslavsky told WEHOville there is no political motivation behind the lawsuit, noting that half of his practice is focused on tenant issues. “This was not coordinated with any sitting City Council member,” he said. Zaslavsky declined to comment on why he sent copies of the suit to D’Amico, Duran and Gierach on the day he filed it.

    The lawsuit, which essentially accuses Block of evicting Snyder from a space that Block had illegally converted into a bedroom in his garage, mentions Block’s City Council candidacy numerous times.

    In one instance Zaslavsky writes: “Troublingly, while this type of behavior from any landlord would be repugnant to law, public policy, and common decency, it is particularly shocking in light of Block’s current aspirations. Indeed, at all times relevant herein, Block has been an announced candidate for the West Hollywood City Council, and has included tenants’ rights issues as part of his platform. When viewed in this light, Block’s conduct is simply shameful.”

    James W. Snyder, aka Jimmy Jimmy Coco (Facebook)
    James W. Snyder, aka Jimmy Jimmy Coco (Facebook)
    And in another instance, alluding to Block’s attempt to evict Snyder for several reasons, including the alleged theft of a parking pass, Zaslavsky writes: “Perhaps Larry Block invented his tall tale about ‘theft’ in the hopes of discrediting Mr. Snyder so that if the truth about all of Larry Block’s conduct ever came to light – behavior which was so vile and shocking that it not only ran afoul of well-established law in California, but if discovered, would most certainly have a negative impact on Larry Block’s chances of being elected to the City Council (the italics provided by Zaslavsky) – Larry Block would have a campaign-ready excuse to whitewash and spin his own malfeasance. Unfortunately for Larry Block, when you try to use the strong arm of the law to silence your potential adversaries, the truth usually manages to come out anyway. Cover-ups are rarely successful in the long term.”

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