WeHo’s ‘Deputygate’ Goes National with Story in NY Daily News

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)

The West Hollywood City Council frequently takes stands on major issues in the hope that they will gain the city a national reputation. Now that has happened with an issue on which the Council hasn’t taken a stand — West Hollywood’s “Deputygate.”

The New York Daily News, the nation’s fourth most widely circulated newspaper, published a story today on the scandal at our local City Hall with a headline that focused on its sexual aspect. ” ‘Deputygate’ drama: West Hollywood lawmaker acknowledges he had sex with deputy before hiring him,” the Daily News headline reads.

The story, which quotes from previous stories in the Los Angeles Times and WEHOville, repeats City Council deputy Ian Owens’ assertion that he met his boss, Councilmember John Duran, on Grindr, a gay hookup app, and had sex with him. And it includes the claim by Owens lawyer that Duran continued to make sexual advances on his deputy after putting him in the $150,000 city job.

Duran has denied making such advances after hiring Owens and says he hired him because of his qualifications, not his sex appeal. “People are trying to make him sound like he was unqualified and got the job based on a one-time incident,” Duran is quoted as saying. “It’s just not true and not fair to him.”

The Daily News story goes on to report that the Council last night postponed any action on the scandal at the request of Duran, who is attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, D.C.


26 Comments
  1. Well now that it is official who has been elected, the will of the people has been demonstrated. Had there been 4 seats Heilman would have come in 4th. Nevertheless, as he will be out, and Land is out and Owens is on Admin leave, I sincerely hope the new Council will immediately agree to “clean house.” They should start the slate clean and agree to work with fresh people that are professional. Eliminate all 5 deputy positions as of April 15,2015. Hire 4 people to work together at reasonable salaries. Any of the council that doesn’t agree to this is wasting our money and should be continually called-out. The old system is broke; eliminate it and let the constituents benefit! We elect the Council and they should fix this problem ASAP. #WehoDeputiesmustworktogetherfortheconsitutents.

  2. I’m sure his Grinder account is already flooded with “qualified” applicants 😉
    He really needs to go NOW so his seat, along with Prang’s, can be filled in June!
    What is the process to make this happen?? Does anyone know?? I doubt the new council will (or even can) do anything in time for the next election??

  3. more like moral bankruptcy. he’s not even sorry. watch. he’ll be hiring another handsome, “qualified” deputy sooner rather later.

  4. This is VERY EMBARRASSING for our city !!!

    How could this happen & more importantly what’s going to happen.

    This needs to be put to bed (no pun intended) & the offending parties need to resign. IMMEDIATELY !!!
    Marc Fogel
    310 684 0599

  5. in the previous comment I made misstatement that Mr Duran had filed for bankruptcy in the past. Apparently I was working with false information and I want to retract that and apologize for any trouble that may have caused him.

  6. No matter what you think of the guy, you’ve got give Duran credit for thinking outside the box and getting things done. His use of Grindr as a recruiting tool to fill vacancies at City Hall is brilliant. How long now before Grindr unveils a new option that lets users upload a resume to their profile?

    Seriously, I used admire John Duran for his contributions to the community and his commitment to public service, but lately he seems to have come unhinged. I respected his courage to run for Zev Yaroslavsky’s former seat of the Board of Supervisors, and although he lost the race he still built awareness and recognition among voters from outside of WeHo that might have been a base of support to build upon should he decide to try again in a future election. Now it seems he might never get that chance, and has no one to blame but himself.

    Another thing that makes me wonder whether he’s completely lost touch with reality is the decision to go ahead and send out campaign mailers endorsing other candidates for City Council in an election where he does not face reelection and at a time when the scandals involving him just became public. The glossy mailer with the big picture of Duran’s smiling face that almost took up the whole side made him look like a cartoon character in light of the recent allegations. There was still time to kill these before they were mailed, and that would have lowered his profile somewhat and allowed him to stay out of the spotlight while the focus was on the 3 council seats up for grabs. Did Duran truly believe that voters valued his opinion about how they should vote or gave any credibility at all to his ridiculous endorsements?

    Finally, if John Duran wants to trigger the implosion of his own political career, that’s his business. I just wish he would find a way to do this without causing so much collateral damage and embarrassment for West Hollywood and its citizens.

  7. its SO discouraging….would be interesting to know why Ian is on PAID administrative leave….so at $150k per year, is he really getting almost $3,000 per week to sit at home & cruise grinder all day looking for another man in his “40’s?!” HA HA HA If so, that’s the job i want.

    by the way @skywatcher what planet are you on that Herman worked to create a legacy? thank you for the comic relief in the middle of this ugly & very sad time in West Hollywood… I hope tonight there will be some changes & then a growing drumbeat to DUMP DURAN by recall in a few months. But really, Hernan’s legacy???? Please have your doctor check your meds

  8. That Duran gave a high-paid, high-profile, tax-funded role to a man he had recently met and had sex with on Grindr shows a lack of judgment, self-control and rational decision making that is so shocking, he should resign his post immediately. He exposed the city to financial risk as well as a tarnished reputation. Worse, Owens was known among city hall staffers as being hard to work with and creating an alliance with Michelle Rex that created a toxic work environment. They didn’t think they had to play by the rules or collaborate with other city staffers. Very poor form from our public servants. Go check out Owens’ LinkedIn page. The “hotel experience” Duran cites seems to mainly have been an internship, according to two recommendations from colleagues (one of whom is a professor in a class he was taking.) It looks like he leveraged a couple of small-time roles in Las Vegas companies to launch himself to LA, where he social climbed right onto Duran’s Grindr window. Read his description of his career and skills. the grandiose way he describes himself and his experience finds no basis in the modest jobs he performed in Las Vegas, nor his performance in West Hollywood city hall. I think Duran got played big time by a very clever schemer, and now that they’ve been exposed, they both need to go.

  9. No matter how you slice or dice this, incredibly poor judgment from someone whose sole responsibility on the City Council is supposed to be that same judgment. IMO Duran at least needs to apologize to the citizens of WH for sleazy hiring practices. It is certainly a slap in the face to the legacy Hernan worked so hard for.

  10. How is working at a Vegas resort and then some cosmetics company (not to mention NO experience with advocacy / community / politics / non-profits, and no previous connection to West Hollywood whatsoever), even remotely related to a city council deputy position?

    I was asking that even before I heard about this sexual encounter. That just makes Duran’s character look even worse! He is over-rationalizing, big time. The entire situation, including his lack of good judgment & his related behaviors, falls far beneath a position that is intended to serve the best interests of the people.

    Owens might be nice to look at – he may even be a really nice guy socially, but he has no business serving in such a position of responsibility. His actions alone prove how inappropriate he is for the job. However, since he’s still a grown-up, I pretty much reject his attempt to cast himself as a victim in this matter. At a $150K annual salary, the only victims here are the residents of West Hollywood.

    Duran should exit his seat, either voluntarily or by the will of the people. The whole “deputy” system needs to be radically revised, or just plain cut. In this case at least, it has amounted to a horrible abuse of taxpayer’s money.

  11. Really???? Nothing CLOSE to Weiner-gate and knowing John Duran and what he’s done for the community at large, nothing short of a witch hunt is taking place! But then again, what would you expect from “THE DAILY NEWS”????

  12. Someone should make an inquiry into Duran’s expenses. He uses our hard earned taxpayer money to pay for a lifestyle he couldn’t afford on his own.

  13. Barring another shoe dropping on the story, if this were between a single and straight politician and his ‘hot’ secretary, the story would have died on the editor’s desk. And the ‘hot’ secretary would probably be blamed. Clearly some bad decisions were made, but why the overblown attention? Double standard?

    I feel that covering it so salaciously is actually nothing more than journalism thinly veiled in homophobia in that it purposefully plays into people’s ignorant and bigoted views that gay men especially are sexual deviants with no self-control. So unfortunate, but ultimately so undeniable and predictable, they say. Well I have news for them, that’s just men in general. We don’t have a monopoly on that. And this stance, to take it a step further, has roots in a much deeper Hetero-normative belief system, one that directly fueled the perception that somehow AIDS was deserved by our community, our due punishment for being “out of control”. I have no tolerance for it in any form, well-written or otherwise.

    And if anyone the Council (John D’Amico) is publicly sharing his opinion, I hope he’d consider this: openly criticizing John Duran is both unnecessary and unprofessional, and is actually just as counterproductive to anyone who wishes to break free from this ignorance. West Hollywood has A LOT to be thankful for and John Duran is at the top of the list.

  14. Why is Duran at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, D.C. ? What does that have to do with WeHo? I’m with Tom Smart – I want to see receipts from this trip. Why was this trip necessary and work related?

  15. I’m sure WeHo is paying for his trip/conference too right? Expensive hotel, First Class air, lavish meals etc—-rent boys too? Can we see the receipts from this trip? This whole ordeal is sickening.

  16. It was only a matter of time before someone picked it up – who knows maybe Jerry Springer will Have John Duran and Ian fight each other. I still want to know how many signatures it takes to get a ballot measure certified….

  17. I think the NY Daily News picked up on the LA Times story that went live Monday afternoon on the LA Time’s website: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-west-hollywood-city-council-deputies-20150302-story.html

    Duran admits the one-time hook up with Owens, but says that Owens was hired based on his “finance degree and business experience.” Hum… I wonder how many other people have those rather vague qualifications. I bet there are plenty of qualified candidates with an MBA and previous business experience. I’d like to see the employment application!

  18. lovely. more disgrace brought down on weho thanks to duran, d’amico and their deputies owens and rex. there is no justice in weho. duran saw to that last night with the help of his number one accomplice d’amcio. shameful. just shameful.

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