April Fool’s Comes but Once a Year


April 2, 2014

Quite a few more readers than we expected were fooled by yesterday’s story reporting that Town Council was selling the Inner Harbor for $10. We thought we had planted enough clues to make everybody realize it was a joke, but in retrospect we realize the story was close enough to reality to be somewhat believable.

For example, after the first sentence reporting the $10 sale, we wrote: “The original offer was $1, but was raised ten-fold as a demonstration of goodwill by the buyer.” But that’s exactly what happened with the old school property: the buyer originally offered $1 and then raised it to $10.

The next clue was the Harbor purchaser: J. David Schmick of St. Petersburg, Russia, owner of Sketch-Along Resourcing LLC. Readers who have closely followed the sale of the school and park property know the buyer was J. David McCormack of Petersburg, Virginia, owner of Echelon Resources LLC. But not everyone remembers that, so it wasn’t enough to give the hoax away.

But then we reported that Schmick planned to turn the Shanty into a Hong Kong style floating restaurant, and that he might rebrand it as a McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant. If that wasn’t a giveaway, we thought that surely the Disney waterslide, jet ski race course, and ferry boat casino would not pass the reality test. An added clue was that Charade Adventures LLC would operate the ferryboat casino. The contract to buy the old school was with Echelon Resources, but the town actually sold it to another McCormack company – Cheron Ventures.


Then there was Scmick’s advice to Town Council to “liquidate the Harbor,” supported by town financial advisor Wally Webber & Associates. But for readers who still believed, we scheduled the public hearing for 6 a.m. Sunday at St. Charles Parish Hall. Of course, Town Council does hold its meetings in the Catholic Church, so again there was a degree of plausibility. And a Town Council member had asked Father Mike what he thought Jesus would do about the old school.

Readers who might be rusty on the New Testament could have missed the reference to feeding the group with five loaves and two fishes, and expecting to have food left over.

And then the next part was actually true: the town did plan to give away control of the north side of the harbor in 1988.

We concluded with a reference to Council member Frank Wendell’s opposition, which sounded perfectly logical. He has led opposition to selling the school and park property for $10, so he could be expected to oppose selling the Harbor as well. Wendell has posted large signs in his vacant downtown storefront opposing the old school sale, so why not have a SCHMICK IS A SCHMUCK sign? And yes, the new town sign ordinance makes that illegal.

But for readers who still believed the Wave story, we ended with a simple CLICK for complete details. Most folks did not click. Now you get a second chance.

As of last night the story had generated nearly 1,400 page views.  But don’t worry; it won’t happen again. We promise to remember that April Fool’s comes but once a year.



7 Responses to “April Fool’s Comes but Once a Year”

  1. Joseph Corcoran on April 2nd, 2014 8:16 am

    Did you hear the USPS announcement yesterday that we could now take our ZIP Codes to different states when we moved ?

  2. Dana Lascu on April 2nd, 2014 8:37 am

    Our reality is an April Fool’s joke. Jesus would give away the Old School to the poor, so Town Council gave it away to a higher-net-worth individual and friend of the Town Manager – act of charity in reverse and the joke’s on us.

  3. Melanie White on April 2nd, 2014 11:14 am

    I must say, I found this article quite clever and have enjoyed such a good laugh I have shared it with my coworkers. Well done!

  4. Janet Dudley on April 2nd, 2014 12:07 pm

    April Fools joke aside (I think it was in poor taste) but that is neither here nor there, something of a lesser importance i.e. Mr. Corcoran’s comment about USPS maybe, but please people, some folks take everything you say as the absolute truth, no matter what. And don’t read the “rest of the story.”
    As for the statement about the gentleman that made the offer on the school being a friend of the town manager, well here is a reality, I am friends with a lot members of town council as well as the mayor and if I had enough money to buy the school, the park, the harbor or whatever would you hold it against the members of council for being my friend, and blame them for my offer? Probably so.
    Sometimes I wonder about the people who report the news and the ones who love to stir up news for the sake of getting a rise out of its readers. Is there anyone out there that would just report the facts and only the facts without any personal thoughts injected?

  5. Ron Wrucke on April 2nd, 2014 3:16 pm

    Hey, the April Fool’s article was well composed; there was no need to subsequently explain the “astounding cleverness” behind the story looking for a pat on the back.

    If you only knew how many people believed it, you might understand the need for a follow-up article “for the record.” See Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds.” –EDITOR

  6. Gabriel Southern on April 2nd, 2014 11:16 pm

    “If I had enough money to buy the school . . . “? It sold for $10 and that’s not an April Fool’s joke.

  7. Kelly Williams on April 3rd, 2014 10:09 pm

    Well I feel silly!