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"The way our job is, we got a lot of people we drive around," he explained. "And all of them, the foreign dignitaries and the commissioners, are allowed to use our phones. So it's not fair to assume that a call on our bill was made by us. Besides, my phone has been cloned repeatedly."
In that case, we won't even speculate as to who might have been calling a selection of American Express information numbers; it might well have been one of those visiting dignitaries trying to figure out what to do with his lottery winnings.
Besides, Zanconata is not someone we want to make angry. He's the man who informed a New Times colleague that if his name were mentioned in this story, he'd rough up the author.
Of all the hard-working county employees with whom we spoke, however, only one distinguished himself as worthy of the Joe Gersten award for most creative excuse.
And the winner is...
Donald James, division chief of community relations for the fire department. James entreated us not to highlight his calling record, explaining that his phone had been cloned so often that he'd make a lousy sample. Why, then, did his home number crop up among the others on his December bill? "I've been getting a lot of crank calls to my home. It might be that the person who cloned my phone is calling my house as a practical joke," James theorized. "The phone company could verify that."
We'll get right on it, chief.
Editorial intern Roberto Manzano assisted in the reporting of this story.