Two large banners touting Michael Venditto for State Senate towered over the Massapequa train station parking lot for at least a week after Labor Day, each hung between metal poles cemented into a strip of Oyster Bay town land next to Sunrise Highway.
They were gone by yesterday afternoon -- after Newsday inquired about the signs for Venditto, a Republican county legislator from Massapequa who is running against fellow Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick) for the Senate seat vacated by Republican Chuck Fuschillo.
According to a campaign and town official, the banners were taken down after longtime Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, Michael's father, complained.
"It was a mistake, plain and simple," said James Moriarty, a campaign spokesman for Michael Venditto and town public information officer for John Venditto.
"In fact, just last night the supervisor had driven by there, saw it himself and said, 'How did this happen?' Separate and apart from your call, he had directed it to be taken down," Moriarty said.
"Some overzealous supporter put up the sign. We had them take it down. The campaign would not intentionally be putting signs on town property. It was an honest mistake," Moriarty said.
Denenberg was skeptical. "Do they have a bridge to sell you, too?" Denenberg asked.
Denenberg said he saw the banners -- one facing east and one west -- yesterday morning on his way to Copiague to campaign for the South Shore district that runs from Nassau into Suffolk. Only the poles were left when he returned.
"Instead of placing signs on public property like highways and parkways, I will continue to walk door to door to meet taxpayers and discuss their issues and concerns," he said. "My campaign is about protecting taxpayers and reducing taxes, not misusing taxpayer property for political purposes."
Newsday had received complaints about the signs since Sept. 3. Denenberg supporter Lisa Oldendorp, a retired teacher who lives in Massapequa, said she called the town on Sept. 2 and filed an official "request for investigation" on Sept. 8.
"The signs were up about 8 to 10 feet in the air so you could see them forever coming down Sunrise Highway," she said. "I thought, 'My God, they're humongous.' "