Ian Owens Alleges His Boss, WeHo City Councilmember John Duran, Made Unwanted Sexual Advances

West Hollywood City Council Deputy Ian Owens, left, with Councilmember John Duran (Facebook)
West Hollywood City Council Deputy Ian Owens, left, with Councilmember John Duran (Facebook)

In a letter from his lawyer, West Hollywood City Council deputy Ian Owens alleges he was hired for the position by Councilmember John Duran after a sexual encounter, and that Duran has continued to make unwanted sexual advances.

In the letter to city officials, the lawyer, Aanand Ghods-Mehtani, describes Owens as a “whistle-blower” for sending out a mass email under another name that alleged that Fran Solomon, deputy to Councilmember John Heilman, was soliciting participants for a photo shoot promoting Heilman’s re-election campaign. Owens, who also alleges that Solomon has solicited campaign donations for Heilman from her office.

Owens was placed on paid administrative leave after Solomon complained to City Manager Paul Arevalo that she believed Owens was improperly monitoring her office telephone conversations. Earlier this month WEHOville identified Owens as the author of a document attached to the mass email that purported to chronicle Solomon’s calls, including what it said were direct quotes from her. Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputies are investigating the incident for possible inappropriate or criminal activity.

The letter from Owens’ lawyer was revealed today in a story in the Los Angeles Times. The Times reported that Owens said he decided to email information about Solomon’s alleged activities after Duran refused to act. According to the letter, Owens claimed that Duran refused to act on his complaints because Owens refused to have sex with him. Owens said he first met Duran on Grindr, the gay sex hookup app on which Duran does have a profile.

Duran, who supports the re-election campaign of Solomon’s boss, Councilmember Heilman, denied Owens’ allegations. He told the Times that Owens’ claim is “an outrageous false accusation meant to detract from the wrongdoing that he did.”

Owens’ lawyer said his client will sue the city unless Owens is reinstated. “City officials cannot continue to play games with Mr. Owens’s life,” Ghods-Mehtani wrote.

The dispute between Owens and Solomon is the latest in a history of fights among some Council deputies including Michelle Rex, deputy to Mayor John D’Amico, who has a fraught relationship with Heilman. Solomon has accused D’Amico of yelling at her and acting aggressively and she and Rex do not speak to one another.


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Very Concerned Citizen
Guest
Very Concerned Citizen

Why isn’t Duran, who is ALLEGED to have committed sexual harassment NOT suspended as is the ALLEGED whistle-blower? I do not understand? And why isn’t Ms. Solomon suspended as well for her ALLEGED activities?

mattmpr
Guest

More importantly is he seeking retribution against the MONSTER who did that to his eyebrows!?!

Tom Brueggemann
Guest
Tom Brueggemann

Full time council members is a terrible idea. You either get independently wealthy people or those who will be even more beholden to big money people so after the terms they have employment somewhere. You aren’t going to get many qualified people to run if they need to give up their careers for no more than a guaranteed four year period.

Alan Strasburg
Guest
Alan Strasburg

Seriously? These children (both the councilmembers and the deputies) are acting like sophomores in a high school class president election. It’s embarrassing, but not at all surprising, having watched these morons for several decades.

Guy Privaton (@guyprivaton)
Guest

Full time council will destroy corrupt deputy power

(The solution IS NOT to grant the overpaid city manager even more power over the city)

Irene Soderberg
Guest

John Duran does many things. i like his ethics. despite he gets everything covered

Larrabee Grouch
Guest
Larrabee Grouch

The unfortunate aspect is that nothing will happen to Duran. A few of us on this site are complaining and saying he should go. Well, he won’t – he never gets in trouble, he’d probably have to commit murder to do so. He’s going to continue his abuse of taxpayer funds for his own personal gain. This election I don’t like (or dislike) any of the candidates enough to volunteer or donate, but rest assured in 2017 I will be the #1 volunteer to get rid of Duran. Don’t forget stories like this one in 2 years.

Brian Holt
Guest
Brian Holt

@Bernadette et al: If these allegations prove to be true (and I’m suspicious of Owen’s motivations and integrity) then Duran needs to go. Once again: the overhaul of the deputy system must include the following: no council member has a direct hand in the hiring of deputies; disband this ridiculous union; and the compensation packages brought in line with similar cities with similar populations. These are good areas to start. Trust me folks, there’s more to come….

Mike Dolan
Guest
Mike Dolan

Oh my star’s! How do I love this “joetheplummber.” You put right into perspective. You that are judge and jury; shame on you. Pure Tabloid.

Pat Dixon
Guest
Pat Dixon

something is seriously wrong with Ian Owrns if he thinks he,s a whistle blower because he listened in or taped an innocuous phone call of Fran Solomon,s. This is such a minor incident I can’t believe it is getting all this attention. This is whistle blowing… .?? You people who are taking this seriously have been living in the ‘burbs too long. We have many more important matters of West Hollywood to attend to, like caring for our aging population, reducing the number of extremely ugly development that is taking over, etc. Honestly, Ian, you have a lot to learn,… Read more »

The Mule Woman
Guest
The Mule Woman

Gee I wish James Fuhrman were still around. He’d be all over Fran and her many “city expenses”…

FK
Guest
FK

The focus on this scandal seems a bit misplaced. The Duran/Ian Owens nonsense seems very Lewinsky-esque, circa 1998. It’s a dumb distraction. Gay sex… who cares. Workplace sex… ok, its titillating, but at the end of the day its not earth-shattering especially when the genesis of the workplace relationship was Grindr (by mutual consent of both parties). The real scandal is the pay for play politics coming out of John Heilman’s office through his deputy Fran Soloman… and Fran most likely acting by direction of her boss… John Heilman. Money for access… that’s what this is really all about. This… Read more »