Main Events

Ivan Seidenberg, left, and
Sumner Redstone

Sumner Redstone and
Paula Fortunato

Howard Stringer and
Edgar Bronfman Jr.

James Earl Jones and wife Ceci.

Nebbish or Mensch,
Seidenberg’s the Man

Story and Photos by Tim Boxer

ERIZON chief Ivan Seidenberg, honoree at UJA-Federation’s Steven J. Ross Award dinner, was pleased by all the comments from the likes of Sony’s Howard Stringer, Citicorp’s Sanford Weill, Viacom’s Sumner Redstone and Vivendi Universal’s Edgar Bronfman Jr.

“It’s not often you get to hear such nice things said about you – and you’re still alive!” Seidenberg remarked.

Seidenberg was instrumental in reshaping the communications industry when he merged Bell Atlantic with NYNEX in 1997, and Bell Atlantic with GTE in 2000.

The dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria raised $1.2 million for UJA-Federation of New York.

Redstone’s special guest was the lovely Paula Fortunato. She teaches the third grade at PS 158.

James Earl Jones was befuddled with Sumner’s name, calling him Redfield. But that’s okay – Jones doesn’t work at Viacom.

Jones, the Verizon spokesman, groped for the right Yiddish expression to describe his boss: “Ivan Seidenberg is a nebbish. No, that’s not it. He’s a mensch. That’s it.”

Jones can be sure his job is secure.

The Steven J. Ross Humanitarian Award is presented every year by the Entertainment, Media & Communications Division of UJA-Federation of New York. PR titan Howard J. Rubenstein,  News Corp. general counsel Arthur M. Siskind and National Basketball Association commissioner David J. Stern are the division’s chairmen.

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