Is the NYPD's Intelligence Division star-struck?
Intel's head of Dignitary Protection and Threat Assessment, Lieu. Eddie Maldonado, apparently has so much time on his hands that he's moonlighting as security muscle for both Major League Baseball and for Commissioner Ray Kelly's New Year's Eve pals, Jennifer Lopez and her husband, Marc Anthony.
Maldonado's outside employment, which is approved by the department, has become so demanding that other officers have complained he is frequently out of the city, sources say.
Intel's Integrity Control Officer, Lt. William Brosnan, has passed along at least one written complaint about Maldonado to the Division's commanding officer, Assistant Chief Thomas Galati, and possibly beyond.
Last time Intel officers became so exercised, a deputy inspector had to resign.
In that case, a formal, albeit anonymous, complaint to Internal Affairs alleged that Deputy Inspector Vincent Marra had improperly wheedled $1,000 from a Fireman's 9/11 victim's fund and forced Intel subordinates to contribute money for his elective surgery.
When those allegations surfaced, Marra was forced to retire.
It's unclear if Maldonado has violated department rules, if he is getting preferential treatment or if officers in Intel are just jealous of his high-profile job and off-duty gigs.
The mumbling and grumbling comes at a time when the department's Hispanic Society has publicly praised Kelly for promoting a record number of Hispanic officers.
Intel itself has become a home for top Society officials, including president Jeffrey Stella, First Vice President Daniel Coats, now assigned to Kelly's personal detail; and Second Vice President Dennis Gonzalez, now Stella'a Intel partner.
Brosnan did not return a call to his office.
Galati, who sources say brought Maldonado with him when he joined Intel in 2007, didn't return a call.
Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Browne did not return an email message.
Maldonado did not return two phone calls, although he told an intermediary -- Rob Gonzalez, president of the rival Latino Officer Association -- that Galati has never mentioned any complaints to him, adding, "I don't speak to the media."
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY DEPARTMENT. Remember when President Obama tacitly supported Mayor Michael Bloomberg by tepidly endorsing his Democratic opponent William Thompson - a stance highlighted by the president's failure to campaign for him in New York?
So what's Obama received for helping Mayor Mike?
Although the president is supporting Kirsten Gillibrand for the U.S. Senate, Bloomberg has sent subordinates, including his $400,000 campaign wiz Bradley Tusk, to encourage her would-be opponent, Harold Ford. The police department has also provided Ford with free helicopter benefits.
Obama also plans to bring the 9/11 terrorists to trial in Manhattan federal court. This has prompted Bloomberg and Kelly to complain they were never consulted and that the estimated cost for security around the Lower Manhattan courthouse could be a budget-busting $275 million-a-year.
Last week, President Obama announced a tax on banks and their record profits. Mayor Mike -- who in overturning the two-term limit law maintained that only he could lead the city through the financial crisis -- screamed that the tax would could cripple the financial sector and turn New York into Detroit.
SOME QUESTIONS FOR THE COMMISSIONER. New York Press Club members are usually more concerned with obtaining press passes and parking placards than with asking hard questions of public officials. They'll have a chance to mend their ways this Tuesday night when Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is scheduled to appear before them. Here are some questions they might consider asking:
1. Why has Kelly made the police department less transparent than even under the darkest days of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani?
Why did Kelly order detectives' phones "dumped" to ensure they will not talk to the media?
Why are the top brass afraid to talk to reporters?
Why did Kelly oppose the investigation of former mayoral corruption commissioner Mark Pomerantz, who sought to determine whether the department was downgrading felonies to misdemeanors as the presidents of the PBA and sergeants union charged?
2. What exactly was the role of the NYPD in thwarting what Kelly now says were 10 terrorism plots against the city? Which plots were they?
3. Why is the police department now speaking for the Police Foundation, the allegedly independent, non-profit body that was formed as an anti-corruption measure after the Knapp Commission in the early 1970s?
Why do the foundation's new president Greg Roberts and its chairwoman Valerie Salembier, a vice president of major media company, refuse to speak to reporters?
Why were only reporters selected by the police department permitted to attend the foundation's annual breakfast, which featured Kelly as a keynote speaker? One such reporter was Judith Miller, the former Times correspondent whose reporting that pushed the Iraq war led to her departure.
4. Will the police department obey the latest order from a federal judge to turn over Intelligence Division files concerning their spying on political protesters across the country and overseas before the 2004 Republican National Convention? Or will they try to keep the files secret and settle with the 1,700 protesters who were kept in custody for the three days of the convention until the District Attorney dropped virtually all charges against them?
5. Why was Harold Ford given a police helicopter ride around the city? Despite Bloomberg's attempts to push him into the Senate race, Ford is still a private citizen.
When was the last time a reporter received a police helicopter ride? Who was he/she?
Has Judith Miller received a helicopter ride? Has Christopher Dickey, who wrote a fawning book about Kelly and his efforts to combat terrorism?
6. What is Commissioner Kelly's position on last November's ugly incident in which a sergeant from the Public Information Office threatened to assault a Daily News reporter who was just trying to do his job?
Why didn't Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne, who has refused to publicly acknowledge the incident, discipline the sergeant?
Why hasn't the sergeant apologized to Cruz?