WEST HOLLYWOOD—Ian Owens, the West Hollywood City Council deputy to Councilman John Duran, has been suspended and is being investigated by sheriff’s detectives on charges of spying on another council deputy.
Owens is accused of bugging the City Hall office of Fran Solomon, the deputy to Councilman John Heilman, and then e-mailing the transcripts of her private conversations to West Hollywood bloggers and residents using a false name, Matthew Mills.
Owens purportedly suspected that Solomon was soliciting illegal campaign contributions for her boss, Councilman Heilman, who is running for re-election in March. He allegedly composed an Excel spreadsheet detailing a record of Solomon’s private conversations, which he then emailed to various news organizations, along with the following message: “Fran Solomon is illegally campaigning from Councilman Heilman’s office at City Hall…see attached.”
According to the California State Controller’s Office, West Hollywood council deputies are paid an average of $137,487 annually—a stark contrast from the salary range of the same position in Beverly Hills ($52,283 to $64,543).
Some argue that the inflated wages of West Hollywood City Council deputies, which also include $38,294 in health and retirement benefits, should command more accountability.