People magazine has always been sickeningly nice in its celebrity coverage-it interprets kid-glove coverage as "respectability" in the generally not-nice celebrity news world. They've even crowned Anne Hathaway a "princess" for finally breaking up with her con man boyfriend, for chrissake. Part of the problem is editor Peter Castro, last seen here partying it up in the Bahamas on the corporate dime while the rest of the company crumbled. Shady anonymous whisperers tell us he likes to suckle at the teat of Madonna, figuratively!

According to a tipster, Castro has been accepting free tickets to Madonna shows since at least the early 90s. Those tickets, of course, sell for exorbitant amounts, and can be scalped for even more—in all they add up to "thousands" in value, the tipster says. The most recent case, they say, was the Madonna show in New York that Yankee superstar A-Rod attended, and which is now the subject of great interest because of the rumored fling between the two.

And who is bestowing all these tickets on Castro? Reportedly it's Liz Rosenberg, Madonna's lying flack! You may also have noticed People's recent sappy and credulous coverage of the supposed strength of Madonna's marriage to Guy Ritchie. Our source says that the friendly Castro deliberately chose to overlook the A-Rod affair rumors and "play nice" with Madonna and Rosenberg.

But we're sure it was a coincidence. Have other info? Email us.