Edward Bernard Peter Buckmelter
August 24, 1954
Steubenville, Ohio, U.S.
|Residence||West Hollywood, California, U.S.|
|Education||North High School|
|Alma mater||Phoenix College|
|Occupation||Political activist, donor|
|Known for||Being a Democratic donor|
Edward Bernard Peter Buck (born Buckmelter, August 24, 1954), known as Ed Buck, is an American businessman, political activist and political fundraiser. A former model and actor, he made a significant amount of money running and selling the data service company Gopher Courier. He became involved in politics after the election of Evan Mecham as Governor of Arizona in 1986; Buck, an Arizona native, led the effort to recall him from office due to Mecham's perceived racism and corruption. (Mecham was impeached by the Arizona Senate in 1988 on the basis of various charges, including misusing government funds, before a recall election could occur.) The experience led Buck to change his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, and he has since donated heavily to Democratic politicians. In 2007, he ran an unsuccessful campaign for the city council of West Hollywood, California.
Two African-American men have been discovered dead in Buck’s West Hollywood home since 2017 due to drug overdoses. Several reports indicated that Buck had a history of bringing African-American men to his house, where he would reportedly inject them with crystal methamphetamine for sexual gratification, and 50 civil rights organizations called for the Los Angeles Police Department to investigate.
Ed Buck was born as Edward Bernard Peter Buckmelter on August 24 or 25, 1954, in Steubenville, Ohio. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, where he was educated at North High School and graduated from Phoenix College.
Buck began his career as a fashion model in Europe, where he also acted in television commercials and two movies. He purchased Gopher Courier for $250,000, and became a millionaire upon selling it.
Buck led the campaign to impeach Arizona Republican Governor Evan Mecham in 1987 by founding the "Mecham Watchdog Committee". He announced the campaign on December 21, 1986, before Mecham had even been sworn in, and was the "leader" of a protest on the day of Mecham's inauguration. In particular, Buck highlighted Mecham's "opposition to a King holiday, his proposal for voluntary drug testing and his plan to reduce the state police force by up to 300 officers". Buck distributed bumper stickers that read "Mecham for Ex-Governor", and Arizona Attorney General Robert K. Corbin ruled that state employees were allowed to use them on their cars. The anti-Mecham campaign "made Buck a household name in Arizona" according to The Arizona Republic, Arizona's largest newspaper by circulation. In retaliation, Buck was attacked by Julian Sanders, the chairman of Arizonans for Traditional Family Values, over his homosexuality. Buck switched his registration from Republican to Democrat because of homophobia in 1988.
After moving to West Hollywood, California, Buck ran unsuccessfully for city council in 2007. He formerly served on the steering committee of the Stonewall Democratic Club. He has donated "nearly $30,000" to Democratic candidates like Hillary Clinton, Ted Lieu, Pete Aguilar and Raja Krishnamoorthi as well as the Getting Things Done PAC.
Deaths at Buck's residence
On July 27, 2017, a young African American man named Gemmel Moore died in Buck's apartment. Paramedics found Moore, who had worked as an escort, naked on a mattress in the living room with a "male pornography movie playing on the television", according to a Los Angeles County coroner's report. A spokesman for the coroner's office, Ed Winter, said Buck was inside his Laurel Avenue home at the time of Moore's death and that drug paraphernalia was recovered from the scene. Police found sex toys, syringes, and "clear plastic bags with suspected methamphetamine in a tool box roll-cabinet in the living room", 24 syringes with brown residue, five glass pipes with white residue and burn marks, a plastic straw with possible white residue, clear plastic bags with white powdery residue, and a clear plastic bag with a "piece of crystal-like substance". The death was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and prosecutors declined to charge Buck on July 26, 2018.
On January 7, 2019, another African American man, 55-year-old Timothy Michael Dean, died at Buck's home. Dean, originally from Tampa, Florida, had lived in West Hollywood for two decades and had acted in pornographic films.
Since the death of Gemmel Moore, multiple reports have indicated that Buck had a history of luring young, black gay men to his apartment, where he would inject them with crystal methamphetamine for sexual gratification. Jasmyne Cannick, a local writer, activist, and political candidate who investigated Gemmel Moore's death, predicted on Twitter on July 28, 2018, that any further deaths at Ed's residence would be the responsibility of the Los Angeles County District Attorney for failing to bring charges.
Following Dean's death, a coalition of 50 civil rights organizations released a statement calling on local law enforcement to conduct a thorough investigation of Buck's role in the incident and on elected officials to return all contributions received from Buck.
Buck came out to his parents as gay at the age of 16. He changed his surname from Buckmelter to Buck in 1981 or 1983. He was the Grand Marshal of the 1989 International Gay Rodeo. Buck formerly lived near Piestewa Peak in Phoenix, Arizona. He has lived in West Hollywood, California, since 1991.
- Branson-Potts, Hailey (11 January 2019). "Ed Buck's attorney says critics have unfairly used race to blame his client for two deaths in his home". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
- "Recall drive. Bucking the system: unlikely figure leads challenge to Mecham". Arizona Republic. June 28, 1987. p. 10. Retrieved November 21, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Who Is Ed Buck?". WEHOVille. August 16, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
But it has attracted a lot of attention from the right-wing media here and abroad, including publications such as the Drudge Report; TruNews, a Christian news site; Political VelCraft, a right-wing conspiracy site, and Voat.com, a website that promotes conspiracy theories such as PizzaGate.
- Van Der Werf, Martin (November 29, 1987). "Buck mirror image of Mecham, critics say". Arizona Republic. Phoenix, Arizona. pp. 9–10. Retrieved November 21, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Stanton, Sam (February 13, 1987). "Recall-Mecham stickers OK'd for state workers' cars". The Arizona Republic. p. 16. Retrieved November 25, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Stanton, Sam (December 21, 1986). "Recall bid on Mecham a bit early". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved November 25, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Mecham begins term as 17th governor of Arizona with call for 'new beginning'". Arizona Daily Star. January 6, 1987. pp. 1, 2. Retrieved November 25, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Harris, Don; Stanton, Sam (January 6, 1987). "Special budget session to be called by Mecham". The Arizona Republic. pp. 1, 6. Retrieved November 25, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Carson, Susan R. (March 15, 1987). "Opponent of Mecham lambasted". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. pp. 11, 12. Retrieved November 21, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Phoenix man seeks to recall Mecham". Arizona Daily Star. December 22, 1986. p. 32. Retrieved November 25, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Cullen, Terence (August 22, 2017). "Los Angeles investigators probing death of male escort at home of prominent Democratic donor". The New York Daily News. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
- "Investigation Underway Into Fatal Drug Overdose At Democratic Donor's WeHo Home". CBS Los Angeles. August 15, 2017. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
- Branson-Potts, Hailey; Winton, Richard (November 18, 2017). "Democratic donor's home was littered with drug paraphernalia after man died, coroner says". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
Moore, who was black, had been homeless and had worked as an escort.
- Branson-Potts, Richard Winton, Alene Tchekmedyian, Hailey. "Homicide detectives probe man's overdose death at the home of prominent L.A. Democratic donor Ed Buck". latimes.com.
- "LA County DA Declines to Charge Ed Buck in Death of Gemmel Moore". WEHOville. July 26, 2018. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
- "Death Reported at West Hollywood Home of Wealthy Political Donor Ed Buck — For the 2nd Time". KTLA. January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
- "'Serial predator': L.A. writer has been sounding alarm on Ed Buck for over a year". NBC News. January 11, 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2019.