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Convicted Crook With Ties To Mob Was Clinton Guest

Washington Post

A New Jersey stock promoter, convicted of criminal securities fraud that benefited a member of the Bonanno organized crime family, was among eight guests who accepted an invitation to join President Clinton and top Democratic Party leaders for an early morning coffee four days before Christmas in 1995, White House records show.

Eric Wynn bilked millions from investors and already had served two years in prison after a 1989 guilty plea on theft and tax charges. A close associate said that Wynn is trying to win a pardon for his July 21, 1995, stock manipulation conviction.

“Eric will do anything to stay out of jail,” the associate said. A Justice Department official said there was no record of any formal request by Wynn for a pardon.

It was unclear who issued the invitation. Lanny J. Davis, White House special counsel, and Amy Weiss Tobe, spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said they could not comment until they collected more information.

Wynn was brought into Democratic fund-raising circles by Richard T. Mays, according to sources familiar with the stock promoter’s background. Mays is an Arkansas lawyer who served as a Clinton appointee on the Arkansas Supreme Court in the early 1980s.

Wynn, whose second conviction occurred five months before the Dec. 21, 1995, coffee with Clinton, was known in Democratic fund-raising circles as someone who went to various Democratic National Committee events on tickets purchased by Richard Tienken, a New Jersey man who also has ties to organized crime figures, according to court testimony.

In October, the DNC returned as “inappropriate” $25,000 in donations from Tienken and $50,000 from a company he was associated with, Interactive Wireless Technologies.

Wynn, who is in his late 30s, is not listed as having given any money directly to the DNC. But Wireless Advantage Inc. wrote a $25,000 check to the DNC two days before the coffee with Clinton.

Two persons with firsthand knowledge said that Wynn worked for and had partial control of the company.

According to court testimony and evidence in the 1995 trial, Wynn set up an account for Tienken, as he did for the wife and three children of Frank Coppa, whom federal documents call a Bonanno family captain.

Wynn has told associates he considered Coppa one of his mentors.

Tienken was a business partner of a man who was an admitted capo, or chieftain, in the Luchese crime family. The partner, Peter Chiodo, became a government witness in a 1991 Mafia trial after he learned the Luchese family had issued an order that he be murdered. He was shot 12 times a few months later but survived. Wynn, Mays and Tienken did not return phone calls Friday.

Two participants in the gathering said Clinton asked his guests to talk about business issues. They could not recall what Wynn said.

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