A whistle-blowing detective inside the NYPD's Intelligence Division is warning of an impending tragedy because of the shenanigans of a key boss.
"Safety is the most important thing in that unit and he takes it for granted," the detective said of Lieu. Eddie Maldonado, who heads the Dignity Protection Unit.
"That is the shame of it."
The detective's charges - spelled out in letters last November to Commissioner Ray Kelly, Chief of Department Joe Esposito and Chief of Internal Affairs Charles Campisi -- have rocked Intel, prompting a hush-hush, high-level Internal Affairs investigation [as well as the inevitable investigation to determine the letter writer's identity.]
Specifically, the detective charges that Maldonado devotes more energy to moonlighting with celebrities than to his day job - which is protecting high-profile diplomats and heads of state visiting New York.
"This comes from someone who has seen something going on and doesn't like what he sees because it is destroying one of the most prestigious units in this department," the detective told this reporter.
"The reason I am so perturbed and pissed is that this guy is protected for some reason and we don't know why. If it were anyone else, he would be suspended or on modified duty and transferred out of the unit - and that is not happening.
"People know the repercussions of not doing the job the right way," the detective explained. "You cannot even fathom what goes into the organizing of these events.
"You could get a head of state or visiting dignitary maimed or killed so it is important to be on your game when you are out there. You are not dealing with the CEO of a bank or Joe Shmo who went to Harvard. You are dealing with the presidents of Pakistan, Iraq or Iran, with the British prime minister, foreign heads of state, world leaders - people who have had death threats made against them. "
Instead, the detective says that Maldonado is distracted and often out-of-town, working for private clients like J. Lo, Marc Anthony and Major League baseball.
When Maldonado is around, says the detective, he treats his job as a chance to have fun and get his friends into VIP events.
"You are working with the Secret Service and the State Department," the detective continued. "And the fact that he [Maldonado] would not be present or sitting in a car during a presidential visit or say, 'This is great fun.' Well, it is not about fun. It is about doing your job. It is not about replacing guys who have done this for years and instead hooking up your guys who have never done this before and putting them in a motorcade with foreign dignitaries or to have photos taken with them at state dinners.
"He [Maldonado] uses his influence as a ranking member of the NYPD to gain access to certain VIP events . Because he is a lieutenant in Intel, he uses his influence for Major League Baseball and celebrities to get over on supervisors. There is no secret that these guys come and go as they please in Yankee Stadium. It is like they own the house. They use dignitary protection as a ruse.
"When Obama visited the city as a candidate, he [Maldonado] brought someone into the inner perimeter and shot a picture with him. That person was someone from the Yankees, not a big wig but a friend who brought his own camera."
The detective describe this as "corruption at its worst, meaning he [Maldonado] is working two and three jobs and when it doesn't work for him, he takes it out on his subordinates."
Two longtime sergeants in the unit recently quit. "One got a good outside job but he loved the unit and never would have left if it weren't for what was going on," says another Intel source.
Sources say IAB has asked Maldonado for his memo books to determine whether he was moonlighting when he was supposed to be working for the NYPD.
Investigators are also examining a West Coast trip Maldonado made for Major League baseball during the playoffs last October and his 11th-hour return on a Delta Airlines red-eye flight that landed at Kennedy airport on the morning of Oct. 20th, the day that President Obama arrived in the city.
"The two-star chief who is running the show, Thomas Galati, is just as guilty," says the detective. "We know he and Maldonado worked together in the past and that Galati brought Maldonado into the unit.
"I am a proud member of greatest police department in the world," the detective continued. "No one does it better than us.
"No other police department in this country gets access the way the NYPD does to the president when he visits New York.
"We have had detectives walk side by side with the president and his Secret Service staff. Wherever he went, we went. They have kicked staff members out of elevators to accommodate us.
"People need to open their eyes. It may take months, maybe a year for disciplinary action, but he [Maldonado] is still in place and he should be out of there."
No response from Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne, Internal Affairs Chief Campisi or Assistant Chief Galati. Maldonado, who was said to be off last Friday, did not return a phone message left with a subordinate. Previously, through an intermediary, he has said that his off-duty employment is sanctioned by the department.
MINEO FALLOUT: WINNERS AND LOSERS
Winner: Attorney John Patten. 2-0. Represented police officer Richard Kern, who was acquitted of sodomizing drug suspect Michael Mineo with a police baton. Previously Represented Sgt. Michael Bellomo, who was acquitted in Abner Louima trial.
Winner: Attorney Stu London. 1-0-1. Represented police officer Alex Cruz, who was acquitted in Mineo trial. Represented police officer Thomas Bruder, who was acquitted in first Louima trial, found guilty in the second, then acquitted on appeal but dismissed from NYPD.]
Loser: Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes. 0-1-1. Lost in Michael Mineo trial as all three officers were acquitted. Took a pass in Louima case and gave it to the feds. [We won't include in the standings his last high-profile case, that of former FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio, whose case was dismissed in middle of the trial when it was brought to light that Hynes' key witness had given a contradictory account in the past.]
ANOTHER BIG LIE. So Paul Browne says the police department can't release a tape of the 911 call to police that the girlfriend of the governor's aide, David Johnson, made to police, supposedly describing Johnson's choking her and stealing her cell phone.
Browne gives as his reason that the tape is not a public document. Maybe. Maybe not.
Authorities in California apparently had no difficulty releasing a tape of the 911 call from the anguished mother of actress Brittany Murphy, who was found in the bathroom of her Hollywood Hills home last Dec. 20 and pronounced dead at a local hospital. In an eight-minute phone call to 911, Murphy's mother is heard crying and telling a fire dispatcher that she believes her daughter is dead. A tape of the call was released to the Associated Press on Jan. 8.
Releasing the tape will, no doubt, make it harder for Brown to explain why the responding officers charged Johnson only with "aggravated harassment," a misdemeanor -- rather than with a felony, and did not arrest him.
The line out of Police Plaza is that the cops knocked the crime down because they saw no bruises on the victim.
So now cops are doctors?
Or is this just another day in the office of lowering the crime rate in New York City.
THE GOVERNATOR. Finally, let's give credit [yet again] to the Times' Willie Rashbaum. Two years ago, his disclosure that former governor Eliot Spitzer was diddling a prostitute led to Spitzer's resignation and a Pulitzer Prize for the Times. Last week, Rashbaum's disclosure that Spitzer's successor, Gov. David Paterson, had intervened to protect his aide for allegedly beating up his girlfriend, led to Paterson's announcement that he will not seek reelection.