Unmasking The Ed Buck They Thought They Knew
In the week since news outlets across the globe picked up a story WEHO TIMES broke last Monday about the death of a 26-year-old Texas youth at the home of a politically influential West Hollywood resident, a disturbing picture began emerging of a man who evidence suggests is equally comfortable mingling among America’s uppermost-echelon citizenry, as he is rattling the nerves of sex workers by way of alleged coercion, heaps of cash, piles of illicit drugs and allegedly involuntary injections of methamphetamine.
A growing mountain of evidence obtained by WEHO TIMES —including multiple eyewitness accounts, smartphone images, background interviews, on-the-record interviews, court documents, hospital bills and text messages—reveal a pattern that depicts a well heeled politico named Ed Buck as a man with a history of allegations that he pays young, good-looking African American men anywhere from $500-$3500 to inject, smoke and otherwise ingest potentially fatal doses of crystal methamphetamine and GHB during allegedly paid sexual encounters.
But the sex takes a back seat to Buck’s alleged primary fetish, according to several sources, who say his first interest is getting young, black men to take dangerously large doses of street drugs.
“My situation [with Ed Buck] was always, ‘how long do you want to see me for and we’ll come up with a number that we both can agree on,” said a 28-year-old, part-time sex worker who asked to be identified by the alias, “Damar Love” to protect his full-time job as a security guard.
“When I get there, I always want my money up front, and that’s how it always started,” Love told WEHO TIMES during an interview Saturday. “Initially, when I got there I understood that he was already well under the influence because he told me he had already been up for two days and was still doing drugs as far as liquid GHB, shooting meth—crystal meth, and smoking it. When he insisted that I get high and continue to get high, that’s when I started to do my research on him.”
Damar Love believes that Buck was unaccustomed to his level of concern for his own safety as a potentially vulnerable sex worker in another man’s home environment. Buck, he says, did not like his unwillingness to turn off his smartphone, which he used to ensure his girlfriend knew where he was. Nor did Buck like him using his phone to shoot photos inside the apartment. He didn’t know the young man was also using his smartphone to research his host a little before letting his guard down.
Says Love, the money Buck paid was incredibly good, but the scene was unsettling.
“I was like, ‘why are you insisting that I be high?'” he said, recalling his thoughts during the first of three visits he says he made to Bucks apartment.
Indeed, WEHO TIMES has confirmed that photos of Love in his underwear were taken inside Ed Buck’s apartment in West Hollywood.
“‘Why are you insisting I shut my phone off and I don’t have any contact with the outside world while I’m here with you alone in your place,'” Love continued. “At that moment I knew it was time to forget about pleasing the client and start asking questions for my personal safety. That’s when I wanted to know what he did for a living and when I wanted him to know that I had people who knew where I was.”
Damar Love says he had never seen anyone as intoxicated as Buck allegedly was during that first encounter.
“Being under the influence to the level that he was and the idea that he was trying to get me to that level was—let me put it this way, the only thing I could think of that was not about him wanting to get me that high so he could do something bad to me that I didn’t want done, was maybe he just didn’t want me to remember anything,” Love said.
“Either way, I couldn’t see myself letting him get me that high. First of all, GHB? The only thing you’re supposed to take with GHB is water. It doesn’t mix with anything, not meth, not alcohol, not poppers—not anything. You can die if you start mixing that shit.”
The July 27 death of Gemmel Moore at Ed Buck’s Laurel Avenue apartment near Norton Street in West Hollywood was quickly classified by the Los Angeles County Coroner as accidental and methamphetamine-caused. Multiple sources who have known Buck for several years say, while they were shocked by the tragedy of Moore’s death at the home of the Democratic Party donor, activist and organizational heavy-hitter, they weren’t totally surprised.
Allegations of a Violent Temper and Requests for Restraining Orders
When former West Hollywood City Councilmember, Steve Martin ran again along with a slate of candidates that included Ed Buck in 2007, the two were friends and allies. Yet according to Martin, by 2011 Ed Buck had become openly hostile and unstable, both in his public demeanor and in his personal interactions with Martin and others when they disagreed with Buck.
“It was clearly obvious after 2007 that this guy had a serious personality disorder,” Martin told WEHO TIMES, noting that after an effort that Buck helped lead to saving a local historic resource didn’t go exactly as he planned, the activist became “erratic and unpredictable.” Asked if he and his colleagues suspected drug abuse as a potential cause of Buck’s allegedly hostile behavior the former councilman was definite in his reply.
“Everyone knew it,” Martin said. “It’s bullshit if they say they didn’t. It was like a family; you know, everyone in the family knew it. There were people who embraced it and they were, frankly, members of city council. They knew Ed had a lot of problems; they knew Ed was a controversial member of the community.”
Although John D’Amico was the Councilmember who sponsored the ordinance that led to the ban on retail fur sales, everyone familiar with the story knew the fur ban was Buck’s baby. It was an advent that not only enhanced his reputation in WeHo, but it also put him on the map nationally as a progressive who can get things done. USA Today quoted Buck as saying, “This is monumental…a sea change in the [animal rights] movement.”
The fur ban wasn’t universally supported in West Hollywood. The fact that one of the world’s largest fur trade associations, the Fur Information Council of America is based in West Hollywood may not be a coincidence either.
Buck, whose list of friends, acquaintances and “picture-with” photo opportunities includes some of California’s most powerful and popular Democrats, such as West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran, Congressman Ted Lieu, Gov. Jerry Brown and even former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, scared some people during the fur-ban debate in 2011.
Says Martin, Ed Buck’s interest in politics wasn’t any less sincere than anyone else’s. His love of animals is real, Martin says.
The former Councilmember points out that Buck’s first success as a political operative was in leading the push to impeach and oust Arizona’s 17th governor, the late Evan Mecham, who was convicted of obstruction of justice charges and misuse of government funds.
That was 1988, not long after Buck had sold “for a million-dollar profit” his Phoenix-based tech company, according to the Arizona Republic. The Arizona Republic, the state’s largest daily paper, reported in a Page Two story that Buck had changed his name from Edward Buckmelter and built the company while sleeping on a mattress in a storeroom of its office.
“I don’t think initially Ed was cultivating political relationships for anything but personal affirmation,” Steve Martin said. “But he soon learned there was an upside to it, that it did give him a certain amount of protection, a certain amount of buffer when it came to acting out in ways that were bullying.”
Martin, the former WeHo mayor, City Councilmember and participant in the founding of West Hollywood, believes meth has distorted Buck’s native personality, and that while the city and the local community has done a great deal to try to mitigate the ravaging affects meth has had on the local gentry, the community continues to be hammered by the drug.
Ed Buck, says Steve Martin, is no more immune from West Hollywood’s long-running meth epidemic, than anyone. According to a PBS Frontline report, which cites a prominent UCLA study, meth use can lead to brain damage as well as “psychotic behavior, including paranoia, insomnia, anxiety, extreme aggression, delusions and hallucinations, and even death.”
Martin, who was opposed to the fur ban, recalls how Buck allegedly tried to bully him into changing his position.
“He really got up in my face,” Martin said. “It was really peculiar. I remember thinking, ‘does he really think I’m going to be afraid of him and change my mind?’ I mean the idea that you’re going to somehow frighten someone with physical confrontation into changing their political position is to me completely obnoxious.”
“The death was shocking news, but not surprising news,” Martin said. “You can quote me on that. – If there was ever anybody in West Hollywood whose bed you expected a dead body to turn up in, it was Ed Buck.”
Purported reputation notwithstanding, there’s very little documentary evidence of Buck’s below-the-radar alleged penchant for erratic and temperamental behavior. Background reports and other searches yield little more than his names, previous addresses and age.
One exception to the dearth of legal documentation regarding Ed Buck’s alleged threats of violence is a copy of a petition for a restraining order filed by a marriage and family therapist who Buck came to see in 2002.
“…He talked of narcolepsy and seemed to want amphetamines,” the therapist, James E. d’Jarnette testifies in the court document. “When I told him I am not a medical doctor and could not prescribe medications, but could talk to him about his feelings and interpersonal relationships, defendant leaned forward aggressively, began shouting and behaved irrationally…”
D’Jarnette’s 2002 complaint further states that Ed Buck continued for days to harass him by posting strange fliers defaming him throughout his building, and by phoning him, allegedly at one point threatening to make the therapist feel his (Buck’s) pain.
According to Steve Martin, Ed Buck’s neighbors have, for years, allegedly experienced similar bullying.
“But no one wants to do anything about it because they all know Ed is politically well connected,” Martin said.
‘Shot up Against His Will’
LaTisha Nixon says she got a disturbing phone call from her son, Gemmel Moore a couple of years ago when he was still living in L.A. “He said he had been shot up against his will by this man, this rich white guy,” Nixon told WEHO TIMES. “He was terrified.”
Damar Love’s last visit to Ed Buck’s home allegedly ended with a similar incident.
“I’m a security guard for my real job, and I work sometimes 10- or 12- or 13-hour shifts,” Love said. “I was at Ed’s house and I fell asleep. I woke up because I felt a prick on my arm. My arm was tied down and it was red. I got myself untied and I grabbed a taser Ed had on his table. He had two tasers and we both had one pointing at each other. He ran to the back of the apartment and I used his phone to get an Uber and got the hell out of there.”
“I called 911 in three different police jurisdictions from the Uber that day,” Love said. “I called West Hollywood, Hawthorne and Inglewood.”
Grieving Mother Awaits Apology, Expects Investigation
LaTisha Nixon, a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier who lives in Humble, Texas, a suburb of Houston, wants to know if her son was still alive when first-responders came to Buck’s house. She wants to know who called 911. She wants to know who the first-responders were—what agency arrived on the scene first.
Was it the Sheriff’s Department or the L.A. County Fire Department? What did they see when they arrived? Who was at Ed Buck’s apartment when they arrived? Where was Gemmel’s body?
“So far, no one at the sheriff’s station will tell me or provide me with a report,” she says. “I leave messages and no one provides information. I think there’s something they’re not telling me. It’s like they’re hiding something.”
Nixon told WEHO TIMES she wants a proper toxicology report, a full accounting of the events surrounding her son’s demise and an apology from Ed Buck. She’d like to know more about why there are so many reports that her son and other young, African American men were allegedly injected with dangerously large doses of methamphetamine by Ed Buck.
If such an investigation uncovers wrongdoing by Buck that led to her son’s death, she also wants him to serve time behind bars.
Nixon can’t help but wonder if there’s another reason that authorities, including the sheriff and the coroner have dispensed so quickly with her son’s case.
“I do not play the race card, but can you imagine if this was a white young man, and my black son was the one whose apartment he died in?” Nixon said. “But because it’s a young, black man who died at a wealthy, white man’s apartment who has powerful friends, you have a coroner’s report that says he died of an accidental meth overdose—end of story, no investigation.”
Buck’s own attorney told WEHO TIMES that he is dubious about the coroner’s claim that Moore died of a meth overdose. The attorney said he doesn’t believe the coroner’s report reflects even accurate terminology, nor that one can die of a “meth overdose.” The attorney, who asked not to be identified by name because there are currently no charges against Buck in the Gemmel Moore case, also doubts is LaTisha Nixon is Moore’s mother.
According to LaTisha Nixon, Gemmel Moore flew back to L.A. the same day he died. He had been back at her home near Houston for about three months after a few years in the Los Angeles and West Hollywood area, some of that time spent at Ed Buck’s apartment. She says Ed Buck bought her son’s plane ticket to L.A.
A “homegoing” memorial service is now being organized by friends and family for Gemmel Moore, also known as Juelz Carter, Saturday, Aug. 19 at 2:30 p.m. at 5138 S. Broadway in Los Angeles. Anyone who cared about the deceased is invited, keeping in mind that seating capacity is 200.
A GoFundMe page has been established to assist Gemmel’sfamilyy with funeral expenses. For more information: https://www.gofundme.com/rip-gemmel-juelz-moore
The highly influential Stonewall Democratic Club, on whose board and steering committee he sat until late last week, has asked Buck to step down. According to their official statement, Buck agreed to resign.