NEWS

Wiretap story a money-making scheme, Peterson says

Danya Hooker

Drew Peterson said Wednesday he was shocked to hear that two formerly close friends and confidants reportedly acted as police spies and for seven months recorded private conversations they had with him.

Peterson remained jovial and joked with reporters Wednesday. He said Paula Stark and Len Wawczak were simply trying to make money off his notoriety by creating an exaggerated and possibly even false story.

“I think we got another Ric Mims,” Peterson said, referring to a former friend who turned his back on Peterson and sold his story to the National Enquirer. “They were desperate for money and I couldn’t borrow them any and now they're doing this and they're taking advantage of my family’s grief.”

Peterson referred to his attorney Joel Brodsky all questions regarding the couple’s allegations that they had recorded him making derogatory remarks about his wives and about state police.

Brodsky said the fact Wawczak and Stark gave their story to the Chicago Sun-Times proves they were not working with state police.

“There’s no way the Illinois State Police or the FBI is going to allow an extensive police investigation like [wiretapping] and then allow the informants ... to disclose that investigation to a newspaper,” Brodsky said. “It's not logical and it doesn't make sense.”

Illinois State Police Sgt. Tom Burek declined to comment on the allegations.

Brodsky said Wawczak and Stark are in severe financial trouble and are looking to make easy money.

“They’ve probably seen several people make money off this,” Brodsky said, listing off people who have been paid by the National Enquirer and also a reporter who has written a book on the Peterson case. “I'm sure they're thinking they can make money too.”

Although he has a feeling the alleged tape recordings do not exist, Brodsky said his client has nothing to worry about it even if they do.

“He doesn't have to watch himself because he didn't do anything,” he said.

But Stacy Peterson’s close friend and neighbor Sharon Bychowski said she is confident Wawczak and Stark are sincere in their words and their intentions. She said the couple contacted her more than a week ago to tell her they were informants for the police and that they were going public to show their support for Stacy Peterson. Bychowski also said the couple showed her pictures and police reports of the wiretapping equipment.

Although Wawczak and Stark were not at their Bolingbrook home Wednesday, Bychowski said she has been in contact when them and that they are staying at another, undisclosed location.

“They’re just not sure what to expect,” she said.

Drew Peterson’s third wife, Kathleen Savio, was found drowned in a dry bathtub in March 2004. At the time, her death was ruled an accident. But the Oct. 28 disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife led investigators to reopen the case. Savio’s body was exhumed in November and two pathologists, one at the request of Savio’s family and one on behalf of the state, performed separate autopsies. Both recently ruled her death a homicide.

Peterson is the sole suspect in Stacy’s disappearance, which police are calling a “potential homicide.” Police have not named a suspect in Savio’s death.