GMCLA Loses Prominent Board Member Over Allegations of Sexual Impropriety

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles has lost one of its most  prominent board members as it struggles with allegations of sexually improper behavior by its leadership and a budget shortfall that led the board  to consider filing for bankruptcy.

Ariadne Getty

The board of directors held a closed meeting last night to discuss the issues.  According to a post from GMCLA Chair John Duran, who is the mayor of West Hollywood, the board voted 12 to zero in favor of keeping GMCLA alive.  Two corporate board members abstained from voting.

A story about the board meeting today published by the Los Angeles Times revealed that Ariadne Getty, the well-known LGBTQ activist and philanthropist confirmed, has resigned from the GMCLA board because  of the allegations.

“I have supported the GMCLA for over a decade and have a lot of love and respect for the dedicated volunteers and what they do for the community,” Getty said in a statement emailed to The Times.

Getty is the granddaughter of J. Paul Getty and the president and director of the Ariadne Getty Foundation, https://www.ariadnegettyfdn.org/ which has supported organizations such as the Los Angeles LGBT Center and GLAAD.  

“My sole wish for the GMCLA is that it flourishes by finding leadership that will restore sound financial footing and is a safe place for the incredible volunteers who spend so much of their time bringing joy to their audiences and enriching their lives.”

A review of GMCLA’s IRS tax returns shows that revenue, which had been growing steadily over the past five years, in 2017 fell 21% to $1.36 million. It was in January of that year that GMCLA hired Weedman, former senior vice president of the Wells Fargo Foundation, for the executive director’s job. GMCLA also saw a 7.5% reduction in expenses in 2017. But with the decline in revenue, that still left the organization with a loss of $227,000. GMCLA’s IRS 2018 tax return is not yet available.

Duran’s leadership of GMCLA has helped it attract donations from companies that do business or seek to do business with the City of West Hollywood. Among the large donors have been Athens Services, the trash pickup company; Wells Fargo, the city’s bank; and Combined Properties, the real estate developer. In recent months, while a city-appointed independent group evaluated applications for cannabis retail licenses, several cannabis retailers also began contributing to GMCLA.

However, as WEHOville reported in a story published on Jan. 27, the GMCLA board of directors became concerned about allegations that Weedman forced a then-20-year-old young man who was a Chorus member to perform oral sex on him.  Another allegation was that Duran stuck his fingers told the waistband  of another young Chorus member at a concert in Glendale.

The WEHOville story and one published by the Los Angeles Times prompted a flurry of other allegations of sexually inappropriate conduct by Duran.  A loose group of at least 50 members of the Chorus, which is composed of about 200 volunteer performers, is said to have been pushing the board to not renew Weedman’s contract, which expires next month.  The group also has expressed concerns about Duran, who recently announced that he would step down as the Chorus’ chair at the end of the summer season.

Duran also is being pushed to step off the City Council by organizations such as the Stonewall Democrats and local LGBT activists because of his sexual behavior.  Duran has denied any inappropriate behavior, saying that those who have accused him should know to say “no” if they thought his behavior was wrong.


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Darren
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Darren

No surprise. Gotta say fellas, it must be a kind of hell for lesbians to have to coexist in the gay community with selfish child-men like I’ve been reading about on here lately.

Duran is a hypocrite
Guest
Duran is a hypocrite

I am here to tell you , that it is hell! Constantly being treated, straight & gay women, as if we don’t matter and this city only belongs to, “boys town” is tiring and played out.

Duran is a hypocrite
Guest
Duran is a hypocrite

As a lesbian who has lived and worked in WeHo for over 20 years, it’s insulting to read about “boys town” , guys being upset that there is a women’s only private club,that the pride parade should only be for gay men, etc. The general vibe of this city is that it belongs to gay men and gay men ONLY! I have been looked around in line, I have been told that this is, “boys town”, and I have been treated like I didn’t exist in a gay male dominated office and trust me, I am no shrinking violet. How… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Maybe GMCLA should disband, and re-form under the auspices of Vox Femina (which owes its own founding, in part, to GMCLA leadership back in the late 1990s).

I’m not being entirely facetious here.

Horrific Behavior
Guest
Horrific Behavior

No one wants to be associated with that behavior.

🙄 Question is what happened to $227,000. under leadership of a former WF entity, Duran’s pal.

So many questions too few credible answers only denial, denial, denial!🙄