" ... The mystery is compounded by the fact that, while Johnson was found dead on the 20th, he was not identified until this week, after some of his New York friends became worried and called Washington cops. The delay and unanswered questions left the pals angry and frustrated.
"'Why didn't the police ask this guy who Dean was?' asked friend John Penley.
"'Why did it take so long for him to be identified? Why was there no drug bust after the first [death]? This is just crazy. ... "
'VIAGRA DEATH' PROBE/TRAGIC GAY-CLUB LEGEND
By TODD VENEZIA and TIM PERONE
October 4, 2007 -- Cops want to know if a bad reaction to Viagra or Cialis could be behind the mysterious death of a New York gay-club legend who died in a Washington, D.C., apartment last month, a pal said.
Dean Johnson - the second man in several days to die in the apartment - may have had a bad reaction by mixing the erection-enhancing pill with other drugs or medication, according to pal Dale Corvino.
Corvino said Johnson traveled to D.C. to comfort an acquaintance, Steven Saleh, whose friend died in his apartment just days earlier, according to e-mails Corvino found on Johnson's computer after his death.
Corvino and other friends who saw the e-mails said Saleh told Johnson that pal Jordan Cronkin, 26, died from a drug overdose on Sept. 16.
Saleh sent Johnson an Amtrak train ticket, and soon the flamboyant, 6-foot-6 punk-rocking club promoter headed off to be by his side, the e-mails said.
An on-and-off drug user, Johnson had recently been working as an escort, his friend and fellow drag queen Lady Bunny told The Post.
When he got on the train, however, it was not for any sordid purpose, according to the e-mails.
What happened next is unclear. But on Sept. 20, Johnson, 45, also wound up dead in Saleh's apartment.
"He went to D.C. to visit Steve, whose friend was found dead," said Johnson's pal Joe Birdsong, the owner of the Rapture Cafe on the Lower East Side, where Johnson sometimes performed poetry readings.
"Dean went to D.C. on Sept. 19 and his body was found on the 20th. Steve wasn't someone any of Dean's friends knew. I don't think they were close friends."
Police yesterday said the deaths of Johnson and Cronkin are open cases being investigated by the violent-crimes bureau of D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department.
Officer Josh Aldiva, a department spokesman, would not say if Saleh is a suspect or if he had been questioned. He could not be reached for comment at his home yesterday.
"We've just got to wait," said Aldiva. "They're working on it, I can tell you that."
The mystery is compounded by the fact that, while Johnson was found dead on the 20th, he was not identified until this week, after some of his New York friends became worried and called Washington cops.
The delay and unanswered questions left the pals angry and frustrated.
"Why didn't the police ask this guy who Dean was?" asked friend John Penley.
"Why did it take so long for him to be identified? Why was there no drug bust after the first [death]? This is just crazy."
Friends gathered at the Rapture yesterday to remember a unique and beloved member of the Lower East Side gay community.
"He was unstoppable, larger than life," said Birdsong. "He bucked convention and was a free spirit. His parties were always the parties to end all parties.
"As a musician, party planner performer and writer, he was one of the last true renegades in the city."
Friend Implicates Unknown Saudi
Oct 2, 2007
" ... There are a few rumors floating around, including talk of murder.
Lower East Side photographer John Penley told Page Six that e-mails from Johnson’s computer reveal he’d been going to D.C. regularly 'to set up weird sex parties for a wealthy Saudi guy. Nobody knows his identity, but it’s all very suspicious.' Dean, who had a history of drug use, had no ID on him when his body was discovered, and stayed in the morgue for several days before he was identified. His death in under investigation. Johnson, 45, promoted the weekly Rock ‘n’ Roll Fag Party at the old CBGB. ... "