LOS ANGELES (AP) — A second man who died at the Southern California apartment of a Democratic donor in less than two years was identified Thursday as a fitness buff who once won a gold medal at the Gay Games and was looking forward to a year of personal and professional growth.
Fifty-five-year-old Timothy Dean of West Hollywood was pronounced dead at the apartment Monday after police responded to a report of a person not breathing.
Dean is the second black man in 18 months to die at the West Hollywood apartment 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 and family members 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 on the case.
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.
Prosecutors didn’t file criminal charges, citing insufficient evidence.
Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, said at the time that Buck and Moore were friends and his client had nothing to do with the death.
Amster told reporters Monday that Buck was cooperating with the investigation into Dean’s death, which he called an accidental overdose.
He said Dean was an “old-time friend” of Buck’s who showed up at his apartment after he “had been partying, apparently, and had already taken some substances.”
“There are some individuals in our society who have a huge heart, maybe bigger than what they should have, and they allow individuals to come over ... and then things happen after — not being involved in their death, trying to help them and counsel them to change their ways,” Amster said. “But this is what happens.”
Sheriff’s officials say the investigation into Dean’s death will include a review of Moore’s death.
Dean’s roommate of three years, Ottavio Taddei, said Dean was adopted as a child and grew up in Florida before moving to Los Angeles 30 years ago. Dean worked at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, Taddei said, and was looking forward to meeting new fitness and professional goals this year, including hopes of becoming a costume designer in Hollywood.
“I think it’s going to be an amazing year of flawless change in my life,” Dean texted Taddei on Jan. 3.
“He was full of life, full of goals, and full of hopes to live and love and all of that,” Taddei said. “He was just a good guy.”
On Nov. 1, Dean posted pictures of the sunset and a martini from his balcony, writing on Facebook: “Life is simple, life is good!!!”
Dean and his basketball team won a gold medal in the Gay Games in Sydney in 2002, organizers of the global sporting event said.
Taddei said Dean was a “bon-vivant” who enjoyed good food, fine wine, hiking and fashion, and never once expressed interest in or did drugs in their three years of friendship.
Taddei said he’s disturbed by the circumstances surrounding Dean’s death and wants answers.
“I highly doubt that he was on drugs when he got there,” he said. “It wasn’t his thing.”
Dean’s death renewed calls from Moore’s family for Buck’s prosecution.
“We are heartbroken. We are sickened. We are outraged,” Nana Gyamfi, an attorney representing Moore’s mother said in a statement that criticized police and prosecutors.
“Instead of heeding our warnings and following the leads we presented to them, they spent our meeting time alternatively trying to convince us that there was not evidence to charge Ed Buck with a crime or that even if there was enough evidence, the charges would not be worth pursuing,” Gyamfi said.
Buck has frequently supported Democratic candidates, including giving $2,000 to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s campaign and $5,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, 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.