With Support from Real Estate Interests, John Duran’s Campaign Donations Top $200,000

Documents filed with the West Hollywood City Clerk today show that City Councilmember John Duran’s re-election campaign has raised $201,885 so far. That’s twice as much as has been raised by John Heilman, the other incumbent in the Nov. 3 election.

This latest report, which covers the period from Jan. 1 to June 30 of this year, shows Duran’s campaign received $94,360. As was reported in February, his campaign attracted $107,525 in donations in 2019. Duran also has loaned his campaign $2,500.

Forty percent of all money donated to Duran’s campaign ($79,850) thus far has come from real estate developers and their lawyers and lobbyists and family members. That includes donations from developers of projects like 8899 Beverly Blvd. and 8150 Sunset Blvd. and the developer behind the 8850 Sunset Blvd. project. Lawrence Korman of Korman Communities, the company behind the controversial AKA West Hollywood project at 8500 Sunset Blvd., has donated $500 as have two lawyers with Browne, George, Ross LLP, the lawyers who represented the owners of AKA West Hollywood in its lawsuit against the City of West Hollywood.

John Duran

The largest amount of money associated with any particular developer is $10,000 associated with Faring, a major West Hollywood developer, and its Robertson Lane project. Beverly Hills relatives of Jason Illoulian donated a total of $6,000 and $4,000 was donated to Duran’s campaign by Nate Goller and members of his family. One of Faring’s projects is Robertson Lane, a hotel-retail-office complex on Robertson Boulevard south of Santa Monica Boulevard. A partner in that project is Nate Goller. He and his wife, Irina, have each donated $1,000 to Duran’s campaign as has Goller’s daughter, Jamie Adler, and her husband, John Adler. The Adlers are the owners of Phyllis Morris Originals.

Duran’s campaign has received a total of $4,000 in donations from Mani Brothers, owner of major real estate in West Hollywood. Those donations some from Joseph, Simon, and Daniel Mani and Simon and Daniel’s wives Rachel and Tsipi. Duran, Heilman, and Mayor Lindsey Horvath have received contributions from the Mani brothers in the past, although those contributions have become somewhat controversial after it was reported that the Mani brothers are major donors to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The Manis have donated thus far a total of $249,900 to the re-election campaign of Donald Trump and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Despite their condemnation of Trump, none of the City Council members have declined the donations from one of his major supporters.

Another donor who stands out is Latham & Watkins, the law firm whose Jim Arnone represents Faring, the London Arts Club and other real estate developers in their negotiations with city appointed and elected officials. There is a $1,000 limit on each individual donation (which the City Council raised from $500 in February). But Latham & Watkins has effectively worked its way around that limit, with individual donations from the firm itself and 10 of its lawyers totaling $9,000.

Arnone is the only one of the Latham & Watkins lawyers who have donated to Duran’s campaign who also has an obvious connection with West Hollywood projects. It is illegal for a company to make donations in the name of its employees. So it is unclear why Latham & Watkins attorneys who live in cities like Altadena, Hidden Hills and Manhattan Beach would be donating money to candidates in an election in West Hollywood.

The latest round of donations to Duran’s campaign includes $3,000 from billboard companies and their owners and executives and their wives, who are listed as “homemakers” on the donation forms. Employees and relatives of employees with Athens Services, which has a 15-year contract with West Hollywood to provide trash pick-up services, have donated a total of $4,500.

Today’s campaign finance report shows donations of $3,700 from lobbyists, including $500 each from Jeff Seymour and Afriat Consulting. Sean Walsh of WWGR Consulting and his wife and two children donated a total of $1,700. WWGR is a consulting firm whose website describes it as representing a major pharmaceutical company under a multistate investigation, working to ease environmental restrictions on some of its client, and helping a major oil and gas company that was under local, state and federal investigation. It is not clear if it has a client involved in West Hollywood.

Duran hasn’t received any donations from his fellow City Council members. Of his 154 donors, 28 live in West Hollywood or list their office addresses as being in West Hollywood.

So far, John Heilman ranks second in total donations, with $99,020.  John Erickson, one of the five challengers in the race, ranks third with $60,856 in donations. . Noemi Torres has reported $17,279 in donations, and Larry Block has reported $12,334 in donations, with $1,000 of that coming from him. Block also has loaned his campaign an additional $20,000.

Tomorrow is the deadline for filing this latest round of campaign contribution reports, which will include reports from candidates Sepi Shyne and Marco Colantonio. 

  1. Say what you like about John Duran, and whatever past indiscretions. But since the start of this COVID crises, it has been Duran’s voice that I have heard everyday during this mess. No word, ZERO form the other counsel members like I have heard from Duran, who has expressed hope and optimism, while keeping us updated on City programs to help us get through this difficult time.

    As far as the ineradicable Mayor of West Hollywood, I only hear her for her own self promotion.

    When I had trouble getting Rental Assistance form the city, Mr. Duran replied and helped intimately. While I still have not heard back form the Mayor or the other John on the counsel.

    Once more, say what you will, about past actions, digressions and such, but in my experience not option over the past 6 months, Mr Duran has been a true statesman for West Hollywood, and I for one will support him. I know he helped me and my household out over the course of the current crisis.

    1. I’m with ya pal! People criticize him for sticking his hand down the pants of a young guy in his chorus. And they try to shame him for saying he wouldn’t have sexy with a kid cause he’s skinny and Korean and has a pimple on his cheek. And they complain that the city had to spend $500k to settle that lawsuit with his deputy, who he hooked up with on Grindr. But look at all the good he has done!!! He is our Donald Trump. Sure, Trump talks about grabbing women’s pussies and says some are too ugly for him to have sex with. And he had to pay off Stormy Daniels and others. But he has done amazing things for our country! Donald and Duran — Let’s Re-Elect D&D to Make America and WeHo Great Again

  2. No surprise here. What people need to understand is that this city is corrupt and unethical to the core. Those who run this city are dirtier than you can imagine. They cover for each other and wear fake masks. This is why so few residents vote. Decency and justice are lost causes in West Hollywood.

  3. Figures, this is the guy who thinks it’s a great idea to have Airbnb take over the rentals in our town. Same guy who voted for Wells Fargo as the preferred bank for Weho – thank God that vote didn’t win. Also, I think it’s about time a major outlet covers all his dirty deeds over the years. It’s shameful that he’s still part of our council. Are we that blind?! Let’s find better candidates who aren’t willingly accepting briefcases from developers who can’t stop building for the rich and aren’t obligated to put aside units in their properties for the disadvantaged in our community. Yea, I said it. Folks, try calling the numbers for any of the newly erected luxury apartment buildings is they have any affordable units, how many do they have & who’s the contact person. See for yourselves.

  4. While they may disagree with each other, they all agree on the same developer contributors: Duran, Heilman, Erickson and Horvath all happily take developer $$ while pushing their own personal pet projects in WeHo.

    Read the campaign reports.

    Time for new blood on the council.

  5. So between the THREE of them, Duran, Heilman & his protege, Erickson we are looking at being close to almost a HALF A MILLION DOLLARS to get a PRO-development majority on council. What can one expect when this is BUSINESS AS USUAL?

    I am looking at the candidates that DO NOT TAKE DEVELOPER MONEY.

    And who DO NOT NOMINATE THEMSELVES OVER A MORE QUALIFIED SENIOR FEMALE Commissioner, as Erickson DID on Planning Commission: https://www.wehoville.com/2020/07/24/opinion-white-male-privilege-it-was-on-display-at-wehos-planning-commission/
    It’s going to be up to ALL of US come November to VOTE VOTE VOTE!

  6. DISGUSTING !! All that this man has done and cost this city including previous allegations of fraud and financial impropriety and he collects $200 K from “Donors” Sad what this city has become and what this “accepting city” will allow in its own leadership.

  7. John Duran is facing multiple sexual harassment allegations. What happened to #MeToo? These donors & companies need to be called out for donating to someone who’s literally been censured by his colleagues for the extremely disgusting sexual harassment allegations he’s facing.

    I hope John Duran gets voted out!

  8. John Duran has sold us to the highest bidder.
    He’s cost the city tax payers enough money with his sexual antics in city hall.
    Kick John Duran out of West Hollywood city business. Do not re-elect John Duran.

  9. Thanks Wehoville, I should have waited for your Cliff Notes before perusing the donation lists for John and John looking for garden variety residents. Well, let’s say they must be extinct. This shows a situation of being out of touch with reality and coasting on the fumes of good work passed.

    What are folks willing to do today, every day until problems are solved and the city is in a relative state of balance. Other wise it is a grand monopoly game which probably keeps the city manager up at night losing sleep.

  10. Wehoville. Thanks for your great reporting on these financial donations. When only 28 of 150+ donors live or work in West Hollywood, it is very understandable why so many citizens feel the fix is in. What is frustrating is why aren’t we banding together to say this is unacceptable?

    1. Maybe you should be banding together and giving your favorite candidate some money. It’s always disappointing when Weho residents are only 15-18% of total contributors, at any amount. There are plenty of candidates who can’t raise money, especially from developers. Their only resource is residents chipping in $25, $50 or $100. Step up, pick one or two, make a contribution and help them get their message out.

      1. What makes you assume that I don’t give money to other candidates? I do.
        That doesn’t detract from the disgust I feel when we’re able to see the reality of who contributes to John Duran’s campaign.
        Or my disappointment in John Heilman who remains the City Council’s voice of reason in opposing the absurd oversized buildings on sunset

  11. The Ethics Reform Task Force began in 2015- finished its work this past February Four years of meetings, and the only thing they really did was double the donation limit to $1000. So that’s Ethics reform.
    Wake up West Hollywood #FlushTheJohns

  12. Congratulations to Duran and his developer contributors. OMG!

    It does get a little fuzzy, doesn’t it? Especially since Duran has all those outstanding tax liens. It’s great that his developer contributors and their sleazy lobbyists have come to Duran’s rescue.

    But it might not be great for the reputation of West Hollywood. Especially if some DOJ or FBI type gets a hair up their a–!

    Duran could become the Steve Pougnet… (Palm Springs X-Mayor now under indictment facing 20 years in prison for taking money from developers) . ..of West Hollywood.

Leave a Comment

No profanity, and please focus on the issue rather than attacking other commenters. All comments are moderated and must be focused on the issue, not other commenters.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.