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Father, son in tangled web

October 25, 1999

Wonder why cops don't trust the feds? Take the case of ex-detective John Wrynn, who resigned earlier this year amidst allegations he had leaked confidential information to mob pals and that his father, Inspector James Wrynn, of the Internal Affairs Bureau, had covered up for him.

That, at least, was the story that came to light in the New York Times in March, 1997. But the feds appear to have held back key information from the Times, just as they have been accused of holding back key information about who was present during the sodomy of Abner Louima.

In the Wrynn case, these allegations-and the fact that the NYPD knew of them and allowed the Wrynns to remain in their positions-shocked Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's well-meaning though mealymouthed Commission to Combat Police Corruption into beginning its own investigation.

The commission questioned IAB Chief Charles Campisi and his top inspector, John Moakley, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney George Stamboulidis of the Eastern District, who had been attempting, unsuccessfully, to indict the Wrynns since the allegations surfaced in 1993.

Campisi and Moakley told the commission's executive director, Joseph Gubbay, they never investigated the Wrynns because Stamboulidis asked them not to due to his investigation.

In repeated commission interviews, Stamboulidis denied saying any such thing.

His denials, said a source familiar with the case, "were making Campisi and Moakley wild." Finally, sources told Newsday, Stamboulidis acknowledged to Gubbay he had indeed asked the NYPD not to investigate the Wrynns.

It turned out that in 1993, Stamboulidis had also warned off Campisi's IAB predecessor once removed, Walter Mack. "I was asked by Stamboulidis way back, no question about it, to bow out," Mack said last week. "It was a direct request from him. It was the only time I acceded to a request by another law enforcement authority not to be involved. I am sorry I did." Alas, the mayoral commission offered only an obscure and watered-down description of the incident. (Not for nothing did Your Humble Servant call the commission "mealymouthed.") On pages 32 and 33 of its August, 1998, report, the commission refers merely to a "Detective A" and an "Inspector B." Nor does it identify Stamboulidis-who didn't return calls from Newsday over the past two weeks.

Still, there's enough between the lines to confirm all of the above. "In light of the scope of the investigation," the report reads, "the prosecutor, neither surprisingly nor inappropriately, requested the Police Department to defer ...proceedings against the detective."

Referring to Pops, who was transferred in 1997 to the department's Office of Technology and Systems Development, the report concludes with this footnote: "The Eastern District of New York informed the commission it would have objected to the Department going forward while the criminal investigation was pending." .

The Ladies.
The mayor's press secretary, Sunny (The Silent) Mindel, had plenty to say to a sergeant in the police department's Public Information office after the department - without Rudy- returned Yo Yo Ma's $2.5 million cello, which Ma had left in a taxi.

Sunny, who is paid $120,000 to not provide information to the public, roared so loudly that Rudy should have been the one to return the cello, she received a call from the sergeant's boss, the Giuliani administration's senior public relations Specialist, Marilyn (I have nothing for you) Mode.

Marilyn, who earns $113,000 to provide about as much information to the public as Sunny does, must have said plenty to Sunny because she called back the sergeant and apologized.

"I don't know what you are talking about," said Sunny when asked about the incident.

Where are you, Cristyne Lategano? .

Thursday night, Oct. 14, outside Yankee Stadium just before the Boston playoff game. A three-car police motorcade of black sedans, lights flashing, motorcycle escort front and back, pulls up on Rupert Place, closed to the general public. Out steps ... Police Commissioner Howard Safir.

He does a 360 before the television cameras, but no one recognizes him. His detail clears a path so he can cut the line and pass through the big-shot entrance, where he's whisked up the elevator to the private box directly behind home plate of Ed Arrigoni, founder of COP-SHOT, an organization that funds rewards to find criminals who shoot police officers.

He's less interested in the game than in attempting to make it down the corridor to Steinbrenner's suite behind third base, where George can look across into the Yankee dugout.

Oh, and who paid for Howard's ticket? .

Calender Check.
Mar 19-21: Dates of Oscar Howard's Hollywood trip on Revlon jet, including two free nights at four-star hotel-estimated cost, $7,000.

Oct. 25: today's date.

218: number of days without resolution of trip's propriety by Conflicts of Interest Board and Corporation Counsel.

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© 1999 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.