The Trouble With Eddie
February 15, 2010
Internal Affairs Bureau’s Group One, which investigates ranking officers and sensitive situations, is now scrutinizing Intelligence Division Lieutenant Eddie Maldonado over his upscale moonlighting, sources say.
While heading Intel’s Threat Assessment and Dignitary Protection units, Maldonado is juggling two high-profile outside security jobs — with J. Lo and Marc Anthony, and with Major League baseball.
Although the NYPD approved these outside gigs, some in Intel feel that Maldonado’s free-lancing takes him out of the city for too long, hurting his performance in his high-visibility Intel job.
As head of Dignitary Protection, Maldonado is the department’s point man in protecting important visitors to the city.
And there’s nobody to step up when he’s gone because, say Intel sources, the two sergeants who ran the Dignitary Protection Unit for years both recently retired.
Some speculate they may have voted with their feet after Maldonado became their boss three years ago.
Without them, some at Intel say relations have frayed between the NYPD and the State Department’s security service — as well as with the Secret Service, which is charged with guarding the president.
The sources say that IAB is examining a West Coast trip Maldonado made for Major League baseball during the playoffs last October and his 11th hour return on a red-eye flight that landed at Kennedy on the morning of October 20th, the day President Obama arrived in the city.
Sources say Maldonado ordered three on-duty officers, including a sergeant, to pick him up at Kennedy Airport and drive him to Intel’s Brooklyn headquarters.
His absence and late return, sources say, left the unit not fully prepared for the president’s visit.
Sources say an anonymous three-page letter triggered the investigation. A detective secretly wrote to the Police Commissioner, the Chief of Department and the head of Internal Affairs.
Someone then ordered Intel’s Integrity Control Officer Lt. William Brosnan to start his own in-house investigation. He passed his findings up the chain of command to Intel’s Assistant Chief Thomas Galati, Maldonado’s buddy, who brought the lieutenant with him to Intel in 2007.
Maldonado did not return phone messages left at his office. Last month, through an intermediary, he said his off-duty security jobs were department-approved and that he had heard no word of complaint from Galati.
Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne was said to be out of town. Inspector Edward Mullen — to whom Browne’s voice mail said questions should be addressed — did not return a call.
IAB Chief Charles Campisi also did not return a call. In the latest twist to the department’s normal stonewalling, a detective who answered the phone at Internal Affairs said he could not connect a reporter to Campisi because “the chief is not expecting your call.”
Schoolcraft says he was admitted to the psychiactric ward of Jamaica Hospital for no reason, and held there for six days against his will.
He landed there on Halloween night after the NYPD came to his home in Queens and ordered him back to work after he says he fell ill and left his tour of duty an hour early.
When Schoolcraft refused to return to work, officers called the Emergency Medical Service, which determined he had high blood pressure and, against his will, transported him to Jamaica Hospital, where he was admitted to its psych ward.
A senior Queens law enforcement official apprised of Schoolcraft’s case says he can’t believe Jamaica Hospital would throw Schoolcraft into its psych ward simply on the word of police officers.
“The suggestion that they [the hospital] would listen to the cops on something like this doesn’t sound right. I have never seen a hospital succumb to that type of pressure.”
However, the official also believes that something is not right with the Schoolcraft scenario. “I have never heard of someone being held for six days for no reason. We have people we pick up who we think are crazy, and they throw them out of these hospitals and back on the street within a day. If they held him, there has to be a reason.”
Schoolcraft’s father Larry says he was unable to obtain his son’s medical records from Jamaica Hospital.
As is understandable, the hospital requires written permission to release confidential records. The Schoolcrafts have retained attorneys to obtain them and to pursue a lawsuit against the city.
Schoolcraft also claims that the NYPD has been harassing him and his dad at their home in upstate Johnstown by appearing there at least a dozen times, aided by the local police.
A Johnstown police official says the NYPD was only trying to serve Schoolcraft with legal papers. “We have been there three times,” says the official. “The last time was on Jan. 21. We had a request from a Lieu Hudnell and a Captain Perez of the NYPD to serve Schoolcraft with paperwork that he appear for a court hearing in regards to his suspension. But he never answers the door.”
Your Humble Servant is taking this step for purely selfish reasons.
If Billionaire Mort runs, he will finally have to explain how he manipulated Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Deputy Commissioner David Cohen into using NYPD detectives to conduct a private investigation on his behalf — all paid for by taxpayers.
Back in 2004 Mort became alarmed when he learned that someone was tailing him, and turned to Cohen for help. Mort wanted to believe that terrorists were following him because of his public support for Israel. Others say that the terrorism threat was a cover story to justify Intel’s intervention.
Regardless, Cohen assigned a team of Intel detectives to tail Zuckerman’s tail.
During one surveillance, Intel cut off its pursuit at the Jersey border, where the NYPD lacks legal jurisdiction, prompting Cohen to accuse the team’s leader of acting like a wuss.
Ultimately, Intel determined that two retired NYPD detectives, one of whom had actually worked for Intel, had been following Zuckerman — not terrorists as Mort’s spokeswoman was forced to concede.
Whom these retired detectives were working for remains a mystery.
Speculation has centered on his ex-wife, since Mort was going through a divorce at the time; a business rival; or someone looking for dirt on where or with whom he might be spending his time.
Run, Mort, run.
Copyright © 2010 Leonard Levitt