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NYPD Brass Promotes Cop Wrongly Accused of Links to 'Millionaire Madam'

By Murray Weiss | April 3, 2012 7:27am

MANHATTAN — A police officer wrongly linked to “Millionaire Madam” Anna Gristina has been handed a special promotion as an apology from his bosses.

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly gave Sgt. Richard Wall “special assignment” status — the equivalent of a lieutenant’s rank — at a promotion ceremony at police headquarters last week, sources told “On the Inside.”

The elevation, together with an $11,000 pay rise, came after he was cleared of wrongdoing in the investigation of a prostitution empire Gristina allegedly ran from an East 78th Street apartment.

Sources said Wall, a conditions officer in charge of monitoring incidents in the NYPD’s 19th Precinct that covers East 78th Street, had his name leaked to the press as being linked to the multimillion-dollar call girl operation that was subject to a five-year corruption investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney.

Part of the DA’s probe involved boasts Gristina allegedly made of law enforcement connections, and Wall had been identified by block residents as someone who was frequently at the building.

The sources said Wall's name may have been leaked from someone inside the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.

He was summoned by the IAB and ordered to hand over five years of memo books.

But investigators found Wall actually had a perfectly legitimate reason for visiting the address — he had been ordered there by a supervisor to check out complaints about pot smoking in the vestibule.

IAB eventually determined that the 14-year veteran and Gristina had no connections.

"On The Inside" sources said that the Chief of Internal Affairs, Charles Campisi, recently contacted Wall, saying he was personally upset "at what took place."

Anna Gristina, 44, appears in Manhattan Supreme Court to face a charge of promoting prostitution on Mar. 6th , 2012.
Anna Gristina, 44, appears in Manhattan Supreme Court to face a charge of promoting prostitution on Mar. 6th , 2012.
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DNAinfo/Paul Lomax

Campisi said he was concerned that a member of his bureau might have been responsible for the damaging leak.

"I want to apologize," Campisi told Wall, a source said. "What would you say to getting a promotion?”

Edward Mullins, president of the Sergeant's Benevolent Association, noted, "It is the first time in my 37 years that I know of where the department rewarded someone that was wrongly accused of something. It has never happened.

"I want to thank DNAinfo for putting this story out and putting things right. It is important because no one has retracted their story. People are accused of something in the news, but when they are cleared it does not receive as much attention or the whole story does not come out.

"The department did the right thing and I compliment them. They should do it more often. Officers are accused in trial rooms, and when they are cleared they can rarely get their reputations back."

Sgt. Wall is a "terrific officer with an unblemished record" and he "deserves" his promotion, Mullins added.

DNAinfo broke the story of the Millionaire Madam probe and followed it with a series of exclusives, including revelations that Gristina’s alleged money man Jonas Gayer, a former IRS auditor and convicted accountant, had been cooperating with authorities for years, and that one of her call girls told prosecutors she had a tryst in 2007 with former Sen. John Edwards.

Gristina is being held in Rikers Island on a charge of promoting prostitution. Her alleged accomplice, Jaynie Mae Baker, posted bail and was released.