Ed Buck’s Landlord Tells Neighbors an Eviction Won’t Be Easy

The owner of the apartment building at 1234 N. Laurel Ave. has responded to a petition from building residents requesting the eviction of their neighbor, Ed Buck, in whose apartment two African-American men have been found dead over the past 18 months.

In a letter to the tenants, Christopher Shane of David Shane Enterprises Inc. said “we are deeply concerned by this most recent incident and how the news coverage, and response both public and private, has effected your occupancy, use and enjoyment of the premises. We understand you fear for your safety and want to assure you that your safety is of utmost concern to us.”

1234 N. Laurel Ave.

However, Shane said, attorneys have told him that “eviction of a tenant, in  a ‘rent controlled’ jurisdiction, can be very challenging.”

“Under the law, a suspect/defendant is ‘presumed innocent until proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt.’ Attempts to evict a suspect who is presumed innocent, will likely be met with a vigorous defense and retaliatory action.  If an action to evict is initiated, we want reasonable assurances that we will prevail.”

“If Ed is arrested, criminally prosecuted and convicted of a crime, the likelihood of an eviction is greatly increased.”

Shane said his company is in close touch with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. “We are taking reasonable steps, a permitted by law, to make sure you are safe.”

He suggested that residents of the building file any complaints with West Hollywood’s Rent Stabilization and Housing Division.

On Jan. 7, Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call and found the dead body of Timothy Dean, 55, an African-American resident of West Hollywood.  The cause of death has not been announced by the L.A. County Coroner’s Office, whose ability to do so has been restricted by the Sheriff’s Department.  However, Buck’s lawyer, Seymour Amster, has said that Dean was under the influence when he arrived at Buck’s apartment.  On July 25, 2017, the dead body of Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old self-identified sex worker, who also was African-American, was found in Buck’s apartment. Moore’s family has claimed that Buck paid Moore to use methamphetamine, a deadly drug, with him. Buck is said to have paid other young black men to come to his apartment and do illegal drugs.

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the death of Dean and reopening its investigation into Moore’s death.  The building at 1234 N. Laurel contains one-bedroom and studio apartments with a total of 30 bedrooms and bathrooms.


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Cinnamon Mason-Hardwick
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Cinnamon Mason-Hardwick

I don’t know anything about Gemmel Moore. But I knew Tim Dean for over 30 years. He most emphatically was NOT a drug user. He always had a job or was in school. He dressed beautifully, was well traveled, cultured, smart and had a gorgeous, always tidy apartment in which he’d lived for over two decades. None of those things mean he was any better than the first young man. I mention these things solely to refute that murderer’s lawyer’s characterization of Tim as some drugged out, homeless vagabond who his client was trying to help. Untold numbers of Black… Read more »

WehoJoe
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WehoJoe

Tenants under rent control should need to qualify every few years based on their wealth or income. Not to let the rents skyrocket but to allow space for those truly in need.

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

If buck is so flush with cash, why doesn’t he just move? Who would want to stay in that hostile environment?

Randy
Guest
Randy

Perhaps he’s no longer flush with cash. Perhaps he doesn’t want to give up an apartment that is way below market rent. Perhaps he does a lot of drugs, which doesn’t always motivate people to make big changes in their lives. Perhaps he barely leaves his apartment and just stays high most of the time. I (thankfully) don’t know the man, but there could be lots of reasons. For the sake of his neighbors, and the community, I hope he goes away. I lived in an apartment on Larrabee years ago, and I remember coming home to the Sheriff’s department… Read more »

Nuissance
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Nuissance

Nuissance Abatement is the civil remedy used by the LA City Attorney on many occasions to cure drug activity on premises.

hifi5000
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hifi5000

Wow, the landlord of Mr. Ed Buck is afraid to do anything to get rid of this character.The letter is right in stating a person is presumed innocent until found guilty of a crime.However, I always thought evicting a tenant is a civil matter,not a criminal one.The evidence needed to proceed with a eviction isn’t the same standard as a crime such as robbery or murder. The landlord states that if Mr. Buck is found guilty of a crime,an eviction will be easier.Maybe if he loses a whole bunch of law-abiding paying tenants who don’t feel safe in the building,maybe… Read more »

Constituent
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Constituent

What you don’t understand is that Ed Buck and his coterie of WeHo politicians, city councilmembers, and co-conspirators to whom he has written sizeable checks for over 30 years, authored the rent control laws which all but preclude even an alleged murderer from being evicted. It’s called “just-cause” eviction, and as you suggest, is absolutely insane. The same issue arose when Whitey Bulger, another accused serial killer, was living in a Santa Monica rent controlled apartment. The landlord could not evict a serial killer because Bulger hadn’t yet been convicted and being a serial killer is not one of the… Read more »

rcnancy
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rcnancy

Perhaps the money he saves on rent is used to hire people who he can easily take advantage of either because of their situation or addictions. Very toxic behavior all the way around from this man.

Irony prevents anemia.
Guest
Irony prevents anemia.

What you seem to have not missed is shifting focus away from the deaths of two black men, and instead turned your outrage into an anti-rent control rant, as if by reference that was the root cause of their deaths. It wasn’t and to bring up that subject does nothing but continue to denigrate them as human beings, who lives only have worth comparable to lower monthly living expenses due to rent control. That is worse than when their characters were smeared by the press and many community members using every racist trope and dog whistle which they could deploy.… Read more »

Randy
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Randy

The landlord is correct. It is very difficult to evict a tenant in West Hollywood, and since most people are renters, I think most people want to keep it that way. Yes, this is a civil manner, but West Hollywood has rent control, and there are only a specific number of reasons one can legally evict a tenant. For example, taking the building off the market, moving a family member in to the unit, moving an apartment manager in, etc.. There might be something in his lease that says he can be evicted if he commits a crime. Here, you… Read more »

Alison
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Alison

Being a nuisance to the other tenants is a reason to evict under West Hollywood’s laws. Mr. Buck fits that criteria.

blueeyedboy
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blueeyedboy

I had a landlord once in a rent-controlled apartment who had no problem evicting me, even after he said I was his best tenant. He said he needed my unit for himself when he was in town from his home in Rancho Santa Fe. I took him to court and he won! I was told that the owner has the right to evict if he needs the apartment for the use of himself or a member of his family, and after six months he can then rent it to anyone he wants at the market rate. That apartment sat empty,… Read more »

Alison
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Alison

You could have gone back to court and won if you had documented the empty apartment.

jimmy palmieri
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jimmy palmieri

As I understand it, that apt. should have been offered to you first before any other tenant moved into it. A landlord does have the right to overtake an apt. for themselves or a family member but must not put it back on the market until the previous tenant has been offered, at their past rental rate, turns it down.

Rob Bergstein
Guest
Rob Bergstein

Correct, Jimmy. Also, the initial rent would have been the rent in place when the tenant was removed for owner occupancy, plus any annual adjustments since then. Blueyedboy could have contacted the Rent Stabilization Department at West Hollywood City Hall, no necessarily a need to go to court

blueeyedboy
Guest
blueeyedboy

This happened many years ago and it wasn’t in W. Hollywood. Because I thought the apartment was going to be for his use indefinitely, I committed to another place. I didn’t know what had happened with that apartment for quite a while past the six months when I talked to my old neighbors there.

Alison
Guest
Alison

I would think that the documented use of Meth would be grounds for eviction. The Sheriff’s Department found paraphernalia and baggies with suspected traces at the scene after Mr. Moore’s death and the journal of Mr. Moore documented the use of it and Mr. Buck’s usage. My landlord had a tenant evicted on drug use (and dealing) and nuisance grounds and it was a rent stabilized unit. It is possible without criminal charges. He is blowing smoke.

Randy
Guest
Randy

Perhaps you are correct. He should try, at least.