LOS ANGELES (AP) — A second man who died at the Southern California home of a Democratic donor in less than two years was identified Thursday.
The Los Angeles coroner’s office said 55-year-old Timothy Dean of West Hollywood was the man pronounced dead at the donor’s apartment on Monday.
Dean is the second black man in a year and a half to have died at the West Hollywood residence of Ed Buck, a 64-year-old white man who has donated tens of thousands of dollars to California candidates and is well known in LGBTQ political circles.
Activists have been calling for Buck’s arrest, saying if Dean and the other man who died, 26-year-old Gemmel Moore, had been white, there would be more attention and action on the case.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the investigation into Dean’s death will include a review of Moore’s death.
Moore died of a methamphetamine overdose in July 2017. He was found naked on a mattress in Buck’s living room, which was littered with drug paraphernalia.
Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, has said Buck and Moore were friends and that his client had nothing to do with his death.
He told The Los Angeles Times this week that Buck was cooperating with the investigation into Dean’s death and called it accidental.
“From what I know, it was an old friend who died of an accidental overdose, and unfortunately, we believe that the substance was ingested at some place other than the apartment,” Amster told The Los Angeles Times. “The person came over intoxicated.”
Amster did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Thursday.
Buck came to political notice in Arizona in the 1980s as a leader of a recall drive against then-Republican Gov. Evan Mecham, who had attracted widespread publicity for canceling a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday for state workers.
During the campaign it was disclosed that Buck had been arrested twice, in 1983 for fondling another man in an adult bookstore and in 1987 for trying to obtain a drug without the proper prescription. The public indecency charge was reduced to disturbing the peace, and Buck paid a $26 fine. Prosecution in the drug case was suspended after he agreed to counseling.
At the time, Buck said he was gay and acknowledged that he had tried to obtain a painkiller with a photocopy of a prescription his dentist had given him earlier.
In California, Buck ran unsuccessfully for the West Hollywood City Council about a decade ago. He has frequently opened his checkbook in recent years to support Democratic candidates. His donations include $2,000 to then-candidate and now Gov. Gavin Newsom’s campaign and $5,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
In a statement, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat from California, said he was “deeply disturbed” by the disclosure of a second death at Buck’s home and would donate $18,500 in contributions he received from Buck to charity.