The Mani Brothers, Owners of Major WeHo Office Buildings, Are Called Out for Donations to Donald Trump

Daniel and Simon Mani

West Hollywood is a city the describes itself as “progressive” and where the majority of voters are registered Democrats, where then-Mayor Lindsey Horvath declared in 2016 that Donald Trump was not welcome to the city, where then-Mayor John Duran declared May 23, 2018, as “Stormy Daniels Day” to celebrate one of Trump’s major antagonists, and where on Friday protestors are expected to gather outside Equinox gym on Sunset Boulevard to protest its owner’s plans to host a very expensive fundraiser (tickets for $100,000 and $250,000) for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign at his estate in the Hamptons.

It’s also a city that is home to five major office buildings owned by the Mani family, who have donated a total of $16,800 to Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign and whose Mani Brothers Real Estate Company is headquartered in West Hollywood.

That information was posted Thursday night on the Facebook page of Marta Evry, a film editor who describes herself on her Twitter account as “Rouser of Rabble/Film Editor/Photographer” and who once served as regional field organizer for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Evry’s page offers links to FEC data about donations to Trump’s re-election from residents of various Westside cities. The post about the FEC’s West Hollywood data shows the contributions of $5,600 each from Simon and Daniel Mani and Simon’s wife, Rachel, along with contributions totaling a total of only $335 from three other donors with West Hollywood addresses.

The Mani Brothers are owners of office buildings at 9000 Sunset Blvd., 9200 Sunset Blvd., 9201 Sunset Blvd. and 9220 Sunset Blvd. and the Piazza del Sol building at 8439 Sunset Blvd., which they plan to turn into a hotel.

In addition to their donations to Trump, they are known for their donations to the re-election campaigns of West Hollywood City Council members. Data from campaign finance filings for the March 2019 City Council election shows that Daniel, Simon and Tsipi Mani, Daniel’s wife, each donated the maximum of $500 to the re-election campaigns of City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath and Mayor John D’Amico.

Each of five members of the Mani family gave donations of $500 to City Councilmember John Duran’s 2017 re-election campaign. (Duran’s law office is located in one of the Mani buildings.) Simon Mani also has donated, at the request of Duran, $1,000 to the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, a non-profit whose board Duran long chaired until he stepped down amid accusations of inappropriate sexual conduct with its young members (an allegation he has denied).

Daniel and Simon Mani donated $15,000 to an independent expenditure committee formed to support John Heilman’s re-election to the City Council in 2015. Seven members of the Mani family also each donated $500 to Heilman and Horvath, for a total of $3,500. And Daniel and Simon Mani contributed $20,000 to another independent expenditure committee —Friends of West Hollywood —which identified itself as “a committee to elect John D’Amico, John Heilman, Lindsey Horvath and Joseph Guadarrama to the West Hollywood City Council.” That committee, one of whose organizers was Councilmember Duran, drew criticism for a mailer attacking Councilmember Lauren Meister that her supporters described as “misogynistic.”

  1. The Mani Bros and the other white male developers and their lobbyists who own West Hollywood are now in the WEHO corruption spotlight!

    They’ve been serviced by their political hacks … Lindsey Horvath, John Duran, John Heilman and John D’Amico. Involving Pay for play, cheap office rents, political influence, etc., that the FBI and the Department of Justice are rumored to be investigating.

    Does this collection of con artists think this is not going to be a major problem?

    Headlining this is John Duran’s $100,000 Federal Tax liens. Are people so naive they don’t believe the money guys don’t know this? And the all white guy developers don’t use it as a leverage over Duran . Then there’s Horvath, the princess of political grandstanding Her career seems to be self promotion subsidized by the likes of the Mani Bros. Plus you have the Cannibis potential scandal.

    This makes the mafia look like small potatoes.

  2. I get FEC reports but it didn’t occur me to do this or to look it up on the website. (Damn!) Next time.

    Thank you for covering it –

    RE has benefited with the tax plan. I wonder why…

  3. Sorry to break it to everyone, but it’s their First Amendment right to donate to whoever they want. As deplorable as their decision may be, it’s theirs to make. Calling them out like this reeks of McCarthyism.

    Just FYI, it’s also your First Amendment right not patronize their establishments and protest.

    1. To be fair, McCarthyism would involve unfounded accusations and blackballing suspects. If they don’t want to be called out for their genuine politics, they don’t have to donate. They can just vote like the rest of us.

  4. Maybe you are confused. We know the Mani Brothers are huge supporters of our local narcissistic version of Donald Trump, John Duran.

    It seems more than a tad strange that the Mani Brothers, who have been treated so well by City Hall and have reaped millions in profits in our fine City, seem so tone deaf to the community that has so enhanced their fortune. Needless to say in 2020 they will be investing tens of thousands of dollars into John Duran’s re-election campaign both directly and through “Independent Expenditure” campaigns. It is too bad that WeHo residences fail to connect the dots when it comes to big money donations and the slick mailers that the incumbents, (excepting Lauren Meister), send out during elections. Our “progressive” leaders are quick to seek cheap cheers for Trump bashing yet somehow seem immune to accountability when their own childish and selfish conduct is in the headlines. Perhaps the Mani Brothers thought they were immune from criticism due to all of their generous contributions to the Gay Men’s Chorus.

    1. Steve, you have very good points. I agree with most of what you say. However, to be fair, transparent and honest, Ms. Meister did in fact accept donations from the billboard companies and she did send out flyers. I got them in my mailbox. Of all five members, she is the only one I would trust to represent the truth. But, the truth is she too has participated in the pay for play swamp to a limited degree.

      1. People forget the IE that millionaire Bill Resnick did in 2015 for Lauren and one she’s already recruiting for Sepi (who she sees as a potential ally on council now).

        Everyone is bought and Lauren is no different. This site just doesn’t report anything anti-Lauren for whatever reason. The facts are out there. Go ask Bill how much he spent to get Lauren elected.

  5. So will D’Amico and Duran and Horvath return all that money that the Mani brothers donated to them? I’m guessing not since the Johns didn’t give that money from Ed Buck back. And somehow Horvath has to pay for her campaigning around the country. Maybe they should all just invite The Donald back to West Hollywood and a fund-raising party for all of them.

    1. I can certainly understand why John Duran needs a rent reduction for his offices considering he has over $100,000 in Federal tax liens. He certainly has a skill for making “pay for play” work like magic.

  6. John Duran will have to move out of 9000 Sunset immediately. Or he will be seen as a hypocrite. How can he stay there, in that racist edifice?

    The brothers are probably giving the money to Trump because they can make more money with him. Than someone like Warren, the candidate who lied about being a Native American.

    Frankly, let’s get real here, no one’s going to move out of their buildings or give up their membership at Equinox because a lot of tree huggers are condemning them, The whole issue is so pathetic.

  7. The most important news here is that Meister is NOT in the pocket of the developers and speaks for the PEOPLE of WeHo. Thank you Lauren!

      1. Maybe some chump change; unlike the others, Lauren does not cultivate the developers and lobbyists and her votes are always independent and free from the appearance of the being influenced by campaign contributions.

        1. The burden of proof is on her to admit what she took. The amount taken, “chump change”, puts her in the same boat as the others. It’s like saying a rapist only did a little to his victims so he should be forgiven. Any amount taken from developers, whether $500, $20,000 or even more in plain brown envelopes makes a person culpable.

          1. Hi Eric, my FPPC 460s for the 2019 election are all online. No donations or chump change asked for or taken from developers — no Mani Bros., no Faring, no Townscape. Two other Sunset developers offered, and I said, no thank you. I too look forward to wehoville’s analysis of contributions. I’m sure it will be very enlightening.

          2. Perhaps you didn’t take from the ones whom you have named, but what about the others and their influence on your votes? People don’t donate money without expecting something in return? Who are the contributors to the PAC’s? Who gave money in bundling? How many “donations” to campaigns are actually reported to the FPPC?

  8. The entire quest to become POTUS is revolting. We now have at least a billion dollars spent each four years to acquire the presidency. What we need is radical finance reform and a strict limit for electioneering. President Kennedy announced his candidacy in January of 1960 (the election was that November !). Now, before the oath of office is even said, the pundits start speculating who will be POTUS four years later. Barf !!!

  9. We still have the freedom to support anyone that we wish to. I frankly don’t know why they would want to invest in a city that does not welcome them.

  10. Duran takes a big stand against Trump and holds his hand out for money and a sweet rent deal from these guys. The real hypocrite is the City council member who will do anything to hold on to power including selling himself out.
    He also sells the rest of us out each day with his self promotion.

  11. REMINDER: “money is the mother’s milk of politics.” At which teat one sups is decided by which flavor one prefers. Covering all the bases (to offer alternative metaphor) is also prudent.

  12. Again, Wehoville, thank you for you investigative reporting. The devil is always in the detail. To get to the truth we mustn’t be shallow, we only have to dig a little to uncover the truth which you have done again.

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