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Opinion: Sorry, wrong number

Newsday was alerted to the out-of-date listings by reader Richard Siegelman of Plainview, who wrote that he hopes the "fake news" listees are not still drawing salaries.

Credit: Newsday/Larry Striegel

Want to call an elected official on Long Island about a problem? The Verizon Yellow Pages might give you the phone number of someone who has been in jail or is dead.

The government pages in the March 2019 Nassau County edition of the phone book will take you on a tiny-type trip back in time. They list Thomas Suozzi as county executive, even though he was voted out in 2009 after two terms (and is now in Congress). The Nassau County Legislature listings are a roster from way back in 2006. Three of the 19 members in the list – Judy Jacobs, Peter Schmitt and John Ciotti – have since died. Former Legislators Roger Corbin and David Denenberg have done prison time for various crimes. Edward Mangano is listed as the 17th District legislator, even though he served two terms as county executive from 2010-17 and now awaits sentencing for his own criminal convictions. However, five members on the list – Denise Ford, Kevan Abrahams, Vincent T. Muscarella, Richard J. Nicolello and Rose Walker – still serve on the legislature.

Newsday was alerted to the out-of-date listings by reader Richard Siegelman of Plainview, who wrote that he hopes the “fake news” listees are not still drawing salaries.

The Suffolk County government listings in Verizon’s Huntington-Smithtown and Brookhaven editions, published this past fall, aren’t 100 percent reliable, either. They correctly list the Suffolk County executive as Steven Bellone, but also list five people who no longer hold the title of county legislator: Jay Schneiderman, Kate Browning, Monica Martinez, Thomas Barraga and Louis D’Amaro. Fortunately, 11 of the 18 Suffolk seats are listed correctly. Unfortunately, the line for District 2 includes both Schneiderman and 2016 successor Bridget Fleming. District 12 has no name at all, and District 5’s legislator is listed as Kara Kahn instead of Kara Hahn.

David Weissmann, East Area public relations manager for Verizon Consumer Group, said in an email that Verizon provides phone listings to an outside publisher. He gave a link to dexpages.com, a website of phone book publisher DexYP of Texas. Asked who is responsible for the outdated listings, Weissmann replied that any questions should go to the publisher. A telephone message asking for comment was not returned by DexYP.

Meanwhile, Siegelman can only joke about it. “I haven't bothered to actually check the ‘United States’ listings in these same ‘Government Pages,’” he wrote, “but I wonder if our president is still listed as ‘George Washington.’”  

Editor's note: This item has been corrected to indicate that Kara Hahn represents the 5th District. An earlier version gave the wrong district.  

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