The McCabe Paving Co. isn't going out of business. But apparently someone wishes it was.
For the second consecutive year, someone has managed to evade the the Baltimore Sun's procedures for running going-out-of-business ads at McCabe's expense.
The person placed phony advertisements that ran July 3 and 4 in The Sun and The Evening Sun, stating that McCabe, a 13-year-old Churchville company, is closing.
Jack Ross, classified advertising manager for the newspapers, said he has since distributed a memo reminding the staff of the company's policy on accepting advertisements from individuals who claim to be closing their businesses.
Ads must be placed in person with identification and documentation about the closing of the business, and all such ads must be paid for in advance, he said.
The person who placed the ad stating that McCabe was going out of business called the advertising department and claimed to be Michael Corasaniti, co-owner of the paving company.
"The representative never questioned it, and the ad ran," said Ross. "It was, as we call it, a hoax ad."
Hoax ads are not an "everyday occurance," Ross said, adding that the McCabe case is particularly unusual because the ad has been placed twice.
The person who placed the call must also know that the advertising department uses a computer program to check phone numbers in an effort to prevent people from placing false ads more than once, Ross said. He said the caller who placed the McCabe advertisement used a different phone number each time.
"It's obviously someone who's out to get these people for some reason," Ross said. "Someone who's placed ads before." Corrections have run for five days in both papers.
Corasaniti, who said he learned of the false ad from a customer, says he knows who placed the ads. All he has to do now is prove it.
"We have our suspicions," he said. "Whoever's doing this used our phone number from eight years ago. And he used our exact street address in Churchville, and no one knows what that is."
The suspected ad-placer, who Corasaniti says is a family member, has also called several of the company's employees and told them that McCabe is having financial problems.
"We're not in any trouble," Corasaniti says. "This is a long-standing family feud of jealousy because we have a little something and he doesn't. It's jealousy and he's trying to hurt my business because he doesn't have anything."
Corasaniti says he's unsure of the suspect's whereabouts, and has enlisted the help of the State Police in an effort to catch him.
"It's a very uncommon case," said Trooper Ray Domico, who is conducting the investigation. "I don't know anyone else who's worked on [a case like this] before."
Corasaniti says he will never know how much, if any, business the false ads have cost him.
"It's impossible for me to know if you were going to call me, saw that ad and decided not to," he says.
But he wants the person responsible to be caught and stopped, and "get more than just his hand smacked.
"I know it's terrible and cold-hearted, but I'd like to see him go before a judge," he says. "I haven't received any letters from my creditors, thank goodness. But if he's not stopped, he's going to keep it up . . . and that's going to hurt us."