National City auto dealer Tony McCune arranged for as much as $20,000 to be paid to a San Diego woman who fled to the Philippines after she was charged with running a prostitution ring out of a Linda Vista condominium, according to court documents made available Tuesday.
The alleged madam, Karen L. Wilkening, is quoted in the documents as saying in a tape-recorded telephone conversation with an unidentified police informant that she received $20,000 from McCune in two installments and that McCune still owes her $5,000.
Although the reason McCune was making the payments was not detailed, the informant was quoted as saying that Wilkening told her in the summer of 1987 that McCune had offered her $10,000 "to leave town rather than go through with the case."
Wilkening had evaded authorities since she dropped out of sight before a Sept. 22, 1987, preliminary hearing on 28 felony counts of pimping and pandering. She was apprehended in Manila last week and has since pleaded not guilty to three felony counts, including conspiracy, in connection with her alleged flight. She is being held on $4-million bail.
Prostitutes and Drug Users
Wilkening was returned to San Diego after information developed by a task force investigating the killings of 40 women, many of them prostitutes and drug users.
Wilkening was sought because of her knowledge of prostitution in San Diego and because she might have known at least one of the victims, said Lt. Liz Foster, spokeswoman for the San Diego Metropolitan Homicide Task Force. Foster declined to identify which of the victims.
McCune, who could not be reached for comment, has not been charged and is not a suspect in the slayings, authorities have said. But his office and home were searched May 8 by officers of the task force, and he was identified in the court documents by authorities as a customer of Wilkening's alleged call girl service.
Wilkening is quoted in the tape-recorded conversations as saying she received the first payment directly from McCune, money she used for living expenses, according to the documents.
She goes on to say that the second installment was paid to her San Diego lawyer at the time, Buford B. Wiley, who purportedly picked up the money from McCune's lawyer. Wilkening also is quoted as saying that Wiley later talked to McCune's lawyer about the final $5,000 payment, which she said was never delivered.
Armando L. Odorico, a San Diego lawyer, represented McCune when he was subpoenaed to testify at Wilkening's 1987 preliminary hearing, and search warrants issued for the homes and offices of McCune and Wiley specified that authorities could search for documents relating to Odorico.
Odorico could not be reached for comment.
Wiley, 45, has been charged with four felony counts, including conspiracy, in connection with aiding in Wilkening's flight. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday at an arraignment before Municipal Judge Lillian Lin Quon.