Man who died in Democratic donor Ed Buck’s home worked at Saks Fifth Avenue

This sign was left at the front door of West Hollywood political activist Ed Buck. In the last two years, two black men, Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean, have died in Buck's home.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office on Thursday identified the man who died this week in the home of Ed Buck, longtime Democratic donor, as 55-year-old Timothy Dean of West Hollywood.

Dean worked at the department store Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills and was active in a religious group, according to law enforcement sources. He also once worked in the adult film industry, one law enforcement source said.

Buck’s West Hollywood apartment has been the scene of the apparent overdose deaths of two black men in the last two years, authorities said.


Law enforcement officials have placed a security hold on the case and will release no further details, said Sarah Ardalani, a spokeswoman for the coroner’s office.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide detectives are investigating Dean’s death. His body was found just after 1 a.m. Monday in Buck’s Laurel Avenue apartment. An official cause of death has not been released, but Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, said Dean died of an apparent overdose.

Buck, a 64-year-old white man, previously was investigated in the July 2017 death of Gemmel Moore, 26, a black man who died of a methamphetamine overdose in Buck’s apartment, which was littered with drug paraphernalia, according to a Los Angeles County coroner’s report. Prosecutors this summer declined to file charges.

Buck is a onetime West Hollywood City Council candidate and well-known figure in LGBTQ political circles. In the past, Buck has donated money to President Obama, Hillary Clinton, former state Sen. Kevin de León, West Hollywood city council candidates and numerous other politicians.

This week, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu announced he would donate more than $18,000 in campaign contributions he received from Buck to LGBTQ and African American civil rights organizations.

Ted Lieu says he doesn’t want Ed Buck’s money, will give contributions to civil rights groups »

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Monday that Buck was present at the time of Dean’s death — as he was when Moore died — and that there would be a secondary review of the Moore case.

Amster said Dean was an “old friend” of Buck’s who ingested a substance at another location and “came over intoxicated.”

Buck, he said, was not arrested in either case and was cooperating with authorities.

Nana Gyamfi, a Los Angeles attorney, released a statement Thursday on behalf of Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon of Texas, saying Dean’s death is the “direct result of the failure of law enforcement and District Attorney Jackie Lacey to charge and prosecute Ed Buck for the murder of Gemmel Moore and the crimes he committed against all of his victims.”

In 2017, Gyamfi told The Times she represented at least three black men who complained about Buck and that she was seeking a way for them to speak to law enforcement with immunity from prosecution for other potential crimes, such as drug use or prostitution.

Gyamfi said this week that “deputies continually and consistently ignored every witness,” including those with screenshots of communications with Buck.

“We know that Ed Buck has escaped any level of discomfort as a result of Gemmel’s death because of white privilege,” Gyamfi said in the statement. “If a young white man was found dead in a wealthy Black man’s apartment with syringes and drugs all around, that Black man would have been handcuffed and taken directly to jail.”