The Election More Than 8 Months Away, John Duran Has Already Raked in More Than $100,000

John Duran

The Nov. 3, 2020, West Hollywood City Council election is more than eight months away, but already Councilmember John Duran has raked in $107,525 in donations.

Duran has been on the Council since March 2001. Also in the race for the two Council seats is John Heilman, the other incumbent, who has been on the Council since the city’s formation in 1984.

Others who have filed candidate intention statements include Larry Block, owner of Block Party WeHo and chair of the city’s Public Facilities Commission; John Erickson, a city Planning Commissioner who works for Planned Parenthood; Sepi Shyne, a lawyer who is a member of the city’s Business License Commission; Marquita Thomas, who heads the L.A. Lesbian and Gay Chamber of Commerce, and Noemi Torres, a real estate agent who serves on the city’s Public Facilities Commission.

Duran has become the most controversial person on the City Council since Valerie Terrigno, the city’s first mayor, who was convicted in 1986 of embezzling and misappropriating $9,000 in federal grant funds during her pre-mayoral time as chief executive officer of Crossroads Counseling Center, an agency for the poor and homeless in West Hollywood.

In recent years Duran has been accused of sexually inappropriate conduct by four young members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, whose board he chaired until the controversy led to him stepping down. He also was the subject of a lawsuit by his former Council deputy, Ian Owens, who Duran admitted to hiring after meeting the young man on Grindr, the gay hookup app, and having sex with him. The city settled that lawsuit with a payout to Owens of $500,000. Duran last year was censured by his fellow Council members for his behavior, which included giving interviews in which he bragged that he had a better sex life than they did and making a disparaging remark about a young Asian man because of his ethnicity.

Despite that, a review of donations to candidates in the 2020 election made between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2019, shows Duran got donations from 201 businesses or individuals (with only 31 of those coming from people or businesses located in West Hollywood.)

The largest percentage of donations (35%) to Duran’s campaign has come from real estate developers and those associated with them, including lobbyists, lawyers, architects and contractors. In its analysis, WEHOville also included in the real estate category relatives of real estate developers, who donations are way for the developer to provide more than the current $500 limit on an individual donation.

The $37,450 in donations from real estate interests include:

–$1,000 from the two managers of Townscape Partners, developers of the controversial 8899 Beverly Blvd. project, which is expected to offer multi-million condos, included one rumored to cost $85 million

–$500 each from Simon and Daniel Mani, whose Mani Bros. is the owner of major office buildings on Sunset Boulevard. The Mani brothers have stirred some controversy with reports that they are major donors to Donald Trump’s re-election campaign the Republican National Committee. They also have been consistent donors to Duran, Mayor John D’Amico and councilmembers John Heilman and Lindsey Horvath, who has been a vocal opponent of Trump and participated in a protest at Equinox gym after it was revealed that its owner was a major Trump donor.

–$4,250 from nine members of the Latham & Watkins law firm, whose Jim Arnone has represented several developers with projects before the City Council

–A total of $2,000 from four members of Silver Creek Commercial Development, the developer behind the 8850 Sunset Blvd. hotel and residences project, which has yet to go before the City Council for approval.

–$500 from Eric Courtnall, a lawyer with Browne George Ross LLP, the law firm representing the owner of the 8500 Sunset Blvd. hotel and condo project in its lawsuit against the City of West Hollywood over the city’s policy limiting short-term corporate rentals. Duran has publicly supported BPREP 8500 Sunset and said it should be allowed to offer such short-term rentals.

The only other candidates in the 2020 election who have reported donations between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2019 arr Noemi Torres, who received a total of $4,291.40, and Sepi Shyne, who received $5,345. Councilmember Horvath made two donations of $50 each to Torres’ campaign.

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WeHoMikey
WeHoMikey
4 months ago

Of COURSE he’s raised $100,000. He’ll raise a lot more. But just when you think campaign donation limits will stop his fundraising, ‘soft’ money – the PACs – will come to the rescue with another $300,000 to get their two boys back in office.

And you thought Mitch McConnell was corrupt.

enemyofthestate
enemyofthestate
4 months ago

West Hollywood is not a serious city. No more evidence needed than Duran’s presence on the city council.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
4 months ago

amen. it’s a national disgrace.

Vigilant
Vigilant
4 months ago

“Public service” was formerly known as serving the public. Because one had knowledge and the wherewithall to help the public good.
Currently it has become the concept of “self service” endorsed by Donald Trump at the top and locally by Duran, (Trump in disguise) and the affiliated feather your nesters past and present on city council. All those positions as head of charitable ventures…..not so good.

enemyofthestate
enemyofthestate
4 months ago
Reply to  Vigilant

“Public service”? In that case, may I please have a glass of water?

Carlos McKinney
Carlos McKinney
4 months ago

One of the most corrupt “Student Councils” in America. All three John’s are awful. Please resign.

Eric
Eric
4 months ago

Why aren’t these people in jail? Seriously?

Take money from special interests groups you better believe they want something in return. JD should be exiled from WH and in prison for what he has done.
If it was the president of the US everyone would be hunting him down, but it is ok to kick people out of homes especially seniors on a fixed income?

Eric Jon Schmidt
Eric Jon Schmidt
4 months ago
Reply to  Eric

Does that apply to all City Council members who have done the same thing? Or just Duran?

Déjà vu
Déjà vu
4 months ago

Here we go again.
FYI, John Erickson is John Heilman’s boy.

Vigilant
Vigilant
4 months ago
Reply to  Déjà vu

And doesn’t even know his way around the Planning Commission and wants to achieve City Council? Dilettantes be gone.

Susan milrod
Susan milrod
4 months ago

Thanks for this information about some of these donors. As somebody who opposes Silver Creek And that horrifying building they want to put on Sunset and Larrabee, it’s good to know which political candidates they are helping to finance

carleton cronin
4 months ago

PARTY!! PARTY!!

Eric Jon Schmidt
Eric Jon Schmidt
4 months ago

The only way anyone should take seriously this article about Duran’s campaign donations is if all the candidates campaign donations are scrutinized as obsessively as Duran’s is. This is called integrity in reporting and equal transparency. We know more about Duran than any Other Candidate or other City Council Members. We all know about Duran , but what we don’t know about the others should concern us. Despite the personal feelings some people have about Duran, he has done a great deal of good for West Hollywood and I believe he will work hard to preserve the LGBT community in… Read more »

Long Time Resident
Long Time Resident
4 months ago

The entire West Hollywood government is geared towards the LGBTQ community. Duran does more good for Duran than anybody else. His campaign donations are no more scrutinized than any other candidate. It is just that he takes so much from the people that are destroying WeHo for the people that MADE (the LGBT and renter communities) WeHo the community we all love.

Eric Jon Schmidt
Eric Jon Schmidt
4 months ago

Check back in five years. The entire city council will have sold out to the new straight “East Beverly Hills” I’ve seen this happen in other cities. No one thought Trump would win either. West Hollywood Residents have developed a serious case of denial over the past ten years. They have put their heads in the ground and hoped for the best.

Colette Zaeuner
Colette Zaeuner
4 months ago

I thought the whole point of coming out, going to the street to get equal rights was to be included. Are you suggesting that we need to have Gay Only neighborhoods? How is that equality? So we want to be included but only to a point?

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
4 months ago

good point.

Eric Jon Schmidt
Eric Jon Schmidt
4 months ago

We have real good diversity right now’s I just want to protect that diversity, not change it.

David
David
4 months ago

For god’s sake please don’t vote for this man anymore.

Gwen
Gwen
4 months ago
Reply to  David

It’s time for new person’s to represent West Hollywood.

kab1200
kab1200
4 months ago
Reply to  Gwen

Yeah, well, it would help if people would vote. Very few vote in this city.

Long Time Resident
Long Time Resident
4 months ago
Reply to  David

Hear, hear!

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