The second black man to die inside the West Hollywood apartment of Ed Buck was identified Wednesday as some politicians began to distance themselves from the prominent Democratic donor.
Timothy Dean, 55, worked at Saks Fifth Avenue’s Beverly Hills location and was well-liked in the community, according to his roommate, Ottavio Taddei.
“He was a wonderful person,” Taddei said. Neighbors described Dean as always well-dressed and always friendly.
Taddei, who had lived with Dean for three years, said he was shocked when news broke that he turned up dead in Buck’s home early Monday morning — less than 18 months after 26-year-old Gemmel Moore fatally overdosed on methamphetamine in the same apartment.
According to Taddei, Dean did not involve himself with narcotics.
“I lived with him, and he never did drugs,” he told KTLA. “I’ve never seen him on drugs, ever.”
Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, has denied the wealthy donor’s involvement in either death. On Monday, he claimed that Dean was a longtime friend of Buck’s who had “already taken some substances” before arriving at the home in the 1200 block of Laurel Avenue.
A neighbor said she saw Dean enter the apartment around 12:15 a.m. Paramedics responded and found him unresponsive at 1 a.m.
Activists who condemned District Attorney Jackie Lacey for failing to file charges against Buck in Moore’s death — which was ultimately ruled accidental — renewed their calls for the donor to face prosecution. Buck has given political money to Lacey.
Sheriff’s officials have said they will review Moore’s case in conjunction with the investigation into Dean’s death.
So far, no cause of death has been released for Dean.
But many believe he is the latest victim of a deeply disturbing pattern of behavior — including, according to DailyMailTV, a man who dated Buck last year.
Jermaine Gagnon, 28, said he thought he was going to be the next victim at Buck’s house after meeting him on dating site Adam4Adam in May 2018.
“He has a type: young, black, handsome,” Gagnon, who is also black, told Daily Mail.
Gagnon shared a video he said he took in Buck’s home. It shows a large, white mattress on the floor, and Buck can be seen wearing white long johns with a tank top.
Moore’s body was found naked on a mattress littered with drug paraphernalia, and Moore’s mother has said Buck made the young black men he solicited wear “these long white ‘under-johns.'”
According to Gagnon, “When you first come into the house, you come out of your clothes and you put on his clothes.”
Gagnon said the two were smoking meth when Buck asked him if he’d tried a “point,” something Gagnon was unfamiliar with. Then buck explained it was when “you inject crystal meth into your vein.'”
Gagnon said the drug sent him into a rage, and Buck kicked him out — after paying him between $200 and $250.
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 donating $18,500 in contributions he received from Buck to charity.
West Hollywood City Council candidates have also distanced themselves from Buck.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.