What’s it like being an accountant and a leather daddy? West Hollywood’s Donald Anspauch explains.
Everyone wants their accountant to have a strong, firm handle on their money. They want someone who can confidently whip their finances into shape and, if things get messy, that person can help figure it out. You need someone who can dominate your purse.
Daddy Don can do that. Daddy Don is a West Hollywood accountant whose tax services are designed to help you be you. Catering to a diverse roster of clients, ranging from everyday Angelenos to LGBT celebrities, Daddy Don—whose real name is Donald Anspauch—has been servicing the community for nearly thirty years.
To get an idea of how Daddy Don can manhandle your taxes and where his relationship to the term “Daddy” came from, we sat down with the financial practitioner for a little chat in his daytime den.
How did you get into accounting? Did you always want to be an accountant?
I was working in Houston, Texas for the AFL-CIO. That’s a union organizer. I worked with healthcare workers, government employees and teachers. We were told that as employees who worked outside an office, we could take business related deductions off your taxes for related expenses. I was driving around to all different schools and they said to track your mileage and your car expenses; that’s a deduction. I went to the IRS office and got the Pub 17 form, read through it, and was preparing my taxes and helping other people doing theirs. I mean, everyone has to take care of their taxes. Nobody wants to pay a penny more than what they owe. That’s how I kind of started.
So you were doing taxes for your friends?
For my friends and myself. When I came out to California in 1988, I was working with an insurance company for a while then I worked for a nursing agency doing contracts and marketing for three years. I took a tax course to learn more and to become credentialed as a registered tax preparer in California. I was also a production accountant on a TV pilot and had been an accountant on a movie about Mommie Dearest.
Those jobs always seem crazy.
Well, the base thing I learned is, “What part of ‘No.’ don’t you understand?”
Well, as a result of doing entertainment accounting, my clients became everyone in front of and behind the camera. I was doing taxes for the whole crew. I started working out of my apartment and networking then I worked out of my garage. I had an office for a couple of years at The French Marketplace until it sold and now I have a new office at Santa Monica and Harper: Daddy Don Towers! Everybody needs to do taxes. People say I’m expensive—and I say thank you. A worker is always worth his hire, especially when dealing with tax issues.
It’s Daddy Don’s tax service. I teach clients how to be financially responsible—and I do honest tax returns. You can’t bullshit me. I’ve seen enough bullshit. I need facts to back everything up. In the event of an audit, I have to show them what my work is based on—if you don’t have it, we don’t deduct. Bottom line: you need a receipt to support everything.
Exactly. I’m teaching people to be financially responsible. Save receipts for everything, then at the end of the year total it all up. Receipts saved are dollars not paid in taxes!
What’s it like being an accountant in a historically gay neighborhood?
I want to be an accountant that serves our diverse community. Everyone has their specific issues that they come in with—but they understand that I’m giving them the truth, regarding what the situation is. I advise on tax rules and reality, to follow the correct course is an easy path—an audit is not. I’ve been in this city long enough that I know how it works.
Have you always lived in West Hollywood?
Yep. I lived on Norton, Harper, and am still on Norton. I’m a Cancer: I nest. I don’t move a lot. I live at Daddy Don’s Leather Lodge, a sober household compound.
Do you think LGBT persons—or gay men or whoever within the spectrum—are different with money? Are they better or worse at certain things? What are the trends with queer money?
Well, in the gay, lesbian, transgender community, if they don’t have a partner or family, in some instances they have a great degree of disposable income. They’re going on vacation and they’re buying, sometimes for conspicuous consumption. I had a guy come in asking if he could get a Bentley on a lease and I said no because he’s married and he has a kid. So he showed up with a Porsche Carrera. Where was he going to put the kid? He had a custom seat for the child put in.
We do a lot of marketing in the a gay and lesbian community because there’s more expendable income. It’s important for me to be able to work with people in the community to try to get them to be financially responsible. Besides taxes, I assist in retirement planning, that special person to push around the wheelchair in later years may be high maintenance. Save for today with a vision of tomorrow.
Do you think that, like sexuality, there is a lot of shame associated with money?
Sometimes we have no cognizant value of money and that’s really a sad point because we swipe, swipe, swipe with credit cards and debit cards.. Why don’t we have any money? Because we don’t know how much we can spend.
So how did you get the name Daddy Don?
My friend gave it to me after I was asked to lead a meeting. I was in full leather that evening and my friend Greg said, “When Terry Sue asks who should lead the meeting, have Daddy Don do it.” And I was introduced as Daddy Don. So, that began my name sake. I was also Los Angeles Mr. Leather 2002.
I like to say I always will be Los Angeles’ Mr. Leather 2002. Can’t take the crown away! And I work to mentor young men who want to enter the leather community as representatives and explore different fetishes.
OK: I’m aware of the leather community and have been to the Eagle but not an actual leather event. What does the title entail?
You become a representative for the community. During my title year, I talked about safe sex, the utilization of condoms and gloves whenever you’re having sex. Some people say “Don’t tell me how to have sex!” but, even with PReP, that may prevent you from becoming HIV positive but it doesn’t keep you safe from syphilis, gonorrhea, clap, non-specific urethritis, herpes, etc. Daddy Don says, “Wrap it before you tap it.”
...so winning a leather title is like winning Miss America in that you have your platforms and activist causes and then on top of it you look good in leather?
We represent the BDSM Leather community.
We’re out there, talking to young people, representing the community. We do fundraisers, I participate still in an annual toy drive for children's hospital—
You do a lot! A lot more than I thought. Do you still participate in leather activities?
Mmhmm. When possible, as much as possible.
Where is the leather place in LA? Is it The Eagle?
The Eagle, yes. The best thing about The Eagle is that the owners are there and they purchased the business and the property.
Like they purchased part of the franchise?
No, there is no franchise. Each Eagle is an independent business.
So...it’s just coincidental that other cities have Eagles?
And they’re all known for being leather?
New York City Eagle, Atlanta Eagle—
They’re all independent?
There’s no Eagle family. There’s a leather family!
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to get into leather?
The LA Band of Brothers are past title holders and our primary purpose is to mentor people who want to enter a leather contest season: we’re like the stage moms for leather, giving advice, direction, and assistance. It’s like drag: drag is just what you put on your body. It could be a three piece suit, skirt, leather gear, sports gear—whatever you’re comfortable with. Everyone has their kinks and fetishes. We create a safe environment to mentor people in the leather community. Way back when, the leather community started at the end of World War II.
With leather motorcycle clubs. There were no bars for people to congregate so there would be weekend trips on motorcycles. We had a very vibrant leather motorcycle club in Los Angeles in the eighties and late eighties: Oedipus…Blue Max…CCMC…and The Satyrs, who is the oldest motorcycle club and there’s actually a movie done on them. That was how the leather community began to socialize. That butch, macho mystique—along with Tom Of Finland’s art work—became the uniform.
Are there any counterpoints? Is there a softer, femme version of a leather person?
Captain America? I don’t know how to qualify that.
That makes sense.
Dollars and cents. That’s what it’s about.
Dollars and cents, yes.
My wrap line, as always: Daddy Don’s tax service. Located in West Hollywood, serving the world.