Double Crossed

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* In 1984, Ingram persuaded an LAPD officer to sign a letter authorizing him to surreptitiously videotape or wiretap a former Scientologist who had become a critic of the church. Chief Daryl Gates angrily denounced Ingram, writing in a public announcement: "The Los Angeles Police Department has not cooperated with Eugene Ingram. It will be a cold day in hell when we do."

* A Chicago teenager, Jonathan Nordquist, says he was convinced in 1991 to sign a misleading declaration by Ingram. Nordquist testified in a court case that Ingram paid him $300 just for meeting him to discuss making the declaration. "[Ingram] said, 'Now this isn't paying you for the declaration.' He insisted it wasn't. It was just for my time. It is the highest paying job I ever had," Nordquist testified.

* In 1994, a warrant was issued for Ingram's arrest on charges of impersonating an officer after he flashed a badge at a Tampa, Florida, woman and told her he was a police detective seeking information about a local sheriff's possible involvement in a prostitution ring.

* In 1995, Rubye Ward, 74, says Ingram identified himself as "Jack Hoff," saying he was a former classmate of her son, Grady. She turned over some photographs of her son, who was an outspoken critic of Scientology being sued by the church. Scientology officials later admitted in court documents that Ingram had, in fact, persuaded Rubye to turn over the photographs.

Ingram tells New Times that he did not identify himself as a police detective to Robert Cipriano when he visited his apartment in May 1994. Ingram insists that he handed Cipriano a business card that clearly identified him as a private investigator and says he couldn't have intimidated Cipriano about the New Jersey matter because he wasn't aware of it. He says he didn't learn that Cipriano was serving a probated sentence until years later when Cipriano mentioned the probation himself.

Cipriano says that the improbability of an LAPD detective showing up to drag him to face a criminal charge in New Jersey didn't really register with him. "There was a cop at my door, and I think, 'I'm going to New Jersey and I'm going to be arrested and I'm going straight to jail,' " he recalls in an interview. In his August court declaration, Cipriano claims that Ingram told him he was aware of the New Jersey matter and told Cipriano that he should be helpful. "It was a natural presumption for me to conclude that if I did not assist him in any [and] all manners that he would arrest me and take me to New Jersey before I could retain legal representation," Cipriano states.

Cipriano tells New Times that he was relieved when Ingram moved on from the subject of his legal troubles to Spiegelman and Berry. Cipriano assumed that Ingram was really interested in reports that Spiegelman's clients had never retrieved all their money. But then Ingram bored in on questions about Berry and his lifestyle.

"He started getting accusatory and sick. Homophobic. 'Did Berry like to suck cock? Did he take it up the ass?' " Cipriano recounts in his court declaration.

Cipriano says that he acknowledged to Ingram that Berry was gay and that he had had numerous young -- but not underage -- male partners in 1984.

From his declaration: "Without warning, the discussion turned domineering and combative when Mr. Ingram started to ask seriously deranged questions. For example: 'You saw Graham Berry with underage boys -- 12-year-olds, right?' 'Graham was a cocaine addict, right?' and 'Graham Berry was a really sick faggot, right?' He was not questioning me any further, yet demanding that this had happened and that had happened. I asked him to back off and slow down."

But Cipriano says Ingram continued, asking him whether he knew if Berry took boys to The Anvil, a Manhattan after-hours gay club. "I stated that 'I have never gone to a place like that; I would not know if he did or did not,' " Cipriano writes.

Cipriano says that when he said he didn't know the ages of Berry's partners, Ingram angrily "pushed the New Jersey buttons" again.

"Now I just wanted him out of my house. But he lightened up," Cipriano says. Ingram asked if he could write up a declaration and bring it by the next day. Cipriano says he acquiesced just to get Ingram to leave. Drained, Cipriano says he left the house for a drink. When he came back, he learned that Ingram had returned to talk to his wife. "As my wife had no part or knowledge of my lifestyle, friends, or business associates in the early 1980s, this caused me some serious anxiety."

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Tony Ortega
Contact: Tony Ortega