A major figure in the dark saga of Andrew Cunanan, the gay serial killer from San Diego who made international headlines when he murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace in Miami in 1997, has turned up as a big donor to the campaign against Prop. 8, the proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in California.
Norm Blachford was a sixtysomething La Jolla investor and patron of the arts when he befriended Cunanan in 1994. Blachford, who had a mansion in Scottsdale, Arizona, reportedly provided Cunanan with use of a green Infiniti J30, a walletful of credit cards, and a $2500-a-month allowance, and he accompanied him on European trips. Blachford was said to have hosted two high-profile birthday parties for Cunanan, one at his La Jolla beach house and another at Laurel, a restaurant near Balboa Park, and introduced Cunanan, a 1987 Bishop’s School graduate, to members of the secretive Gamma Mu, an exclusive national fraternity of wealthy gay men who cruised on private yachts and gathered in posh hotels around the country for parties and formal-attire dinners.
Cunanan split with Blachford around the time he took up with David Madson, a 33-year-old architect he’d met in a Russian River bar. During his six-month coast-to-coast killing spree, Cunanan murdered Madson, along with four others, including Versace, before killing himself on a Miami houseboat. He was 27.
On June 16 of this year, Blachford, who has consistently declined interview requests regarding his relationship with Cunanan, contributed $15,000 to the “No on 8 — Equality California” committee opposing the gay marriage ban. Another recent donor to the cause was Jennifer LeSar, longtime companion of San Diego city councilwoman Toni Atkins, though the two say they aren’t registered domestic partners. On May 31, LeSar, a redevelopment consultant, gave $2500 to the Center Advocacy Project Issues PAC, a San Diego–based group also opposing Prop. 8. John LeSar of Tampa, Florida, listed as retired, gave $1000. … More local money for the prospective gubernatorial campaign coffers of California attorney general Jerry Brown, who’s been getting a big boost in the funding department of late from friends of San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders. This time it’s the Sycuan tribe, which last month anted up $30,000 for an independent campaign to get out the vote for the mayor’s successful reelection bid. Brown did his bit for Sanders when he released a report just before the election saying the mayor had done no wrong during the Sunroad overheight building scandal. On June 30, Sycuan gave Brown a total of $12,000.