Officers making extra money doing security at Madison Square Garden work under a disgraced former cop who did time in federal prison for ripping off a drug dealer, the Daily News has learned.
Manhattan Narcotics Det. Carlos Rodriguez was sentenced in 2004 to two years behind bars for conspiring to steal $45,000 – money he used to renovate his Long Island home.
Rodriguez later remade himself as a security official at the Garden, where he deals regularly with active NYPD officers who work second jobs there, in uniform, at Knicks and Rangers games, as well as at concerts and other events.
The arrangement came to light at One Police Plaza, recently and the NYPD said it had no plans to prohibit cops from working at the World’s Most Famous Arena.
“The NYPD has determined that this is not something that would be considered a criminal association under department policies,” said Sgt. Mary O’Donnell, an NYPD spokeswoman, “and as a result officers are not required to give up employment at MSG.”
A source familiar with the decision said the department’s Paid Detail Unit, which contracts with a number of organizations looking to hire cops to work in uniform, typically vets an employer’s executive staff.
But the source said it’s impractical to do background checks on every worker, particularly at a company as big as MSG.
A second source familiar with the decision said that reasoning flies in the face of what often happens in the NYPD trial room — where cops are brought up on departmental charges for associating with felons.
“Total double standard,” the source said.
An NYPD supervisor said the department claimed it has no concerns with the arrangement because it has been known for some time that Rodriguez worked there, “no one wanted to raise the issue.”
Rodriguez, who on his LinkedIn page is described as event security director, didn’t want to talk when reached by phone.
MSG said Rodriguez is actually head of building security.
It was unclear if Garden officials knew about Rodriguez’s criminal past.
“We do not share personnel information as a company policy, but will say that Carlos has been a long-term, model employee who has consistently performed his duties with the utmost professionalism and integrity,” the company said. “We have had an excellent long-standing relationship with the NYPD, which we expect to continue.”
Rodriguez resigned in April 2004, just eight months before completing his 20th year of service.
A day later he pleaded guilty and admitted he and an accomplice stole $100,000 from a drug dealer, with Rodriguez pocketing $45,000.
“The worst decision I ever made in my life.” Rodriguez said in court. “It has ruined my life and brought disgrace, shame and embarrassment to myself, my friends and my family and the NYPD and my fellow law enforcement officers.”
The plea was part of the worst police scandal in a decade, with 10 cops narcotics cops under investigation.