This is a tale of soap-operatic proportions. Let’s meet the characters of this story, in fair West Hollywood where we set our scene.
First, there is Ian Owens, a deputy to a city councilman of West Hollywood. He is accused of bugging a co-worker’s office to prove her of wrongdoing.
Enter the co-worker, Fran Soloman, who is the deputy to another councilman that works with Owens’s boss. She is accused of soliciting unethical campaign contributions for her boss from wealthy developers.
Now comes the two bosses at the heart of the matter. Owens’s boss was Councilman John Duran. He is accused of having a sexual encounter with Owens and then hiring him after they met on Grindr, a dating app for homosexual men. Afterward, Duran purportedly continued his attempts at a sexual relationship with Owens, despite Owens’s consistent rebuffs.
Soloman’s boss was Councilman John Heilman. Heilman isn’t directly accused of everything but is swept up in this dramatic tale.
So here’s how the story unfolds. Owens, suspecting Soloman was up to no good, reported it to his boss, Duran. Duran refused to entertain the idea because he was upset at Owens for not engaging in a relationship with him. So Owens took matters into his own hands and became what he calls the “whistleblower.” He placed surveillance bugs in Soloman’s office, though Owens’s is now claiming he just heard her through the thin walls. Regardless, after listening to these conversations one way or another, Owens created a spreadsheet of quotes from Soloman’s phone conversations in her office. That spreadsheet was then emailed to city residents and the city’s resident bloggers.
Owens had emailed out the spreadsheet under an alias, but metadata from the document revealed Owens was the creator. He has since been suspended, on paid administrative leave while the city investigates the allegations from all sources. His attorney is claiming that he is being wrongly punished because he was blowing the whistle on Soloman’s wrongdoings.
Owens’s attorney is demanding that his client be restored to his position, outlining the whistleblowing status of his client as well as the sexual encounters between Owens and Duran.
We’ll keep you updated on the every growing drama that is the West Hollywood City Council.
Source: Los Angeles Times