Lets step back in time to December of 2022.
Local scammer, Michael Smith, was feeling unstoppable, riding the high of the failed bond, his pretend “news” page telling lie after lie about our public schools, as well as enjoying the several hundred new and unsuspecting followers that came along with all of it. After successfully scamming his followers out of small amounts of cash for fake fundraisers over the year, he decided it was time to go bigger by asking them to fund his $300 “news” website.
Then, there was us… feeling defeated, frustrated, powerless, and silenced. Every day we watched as Smith’s page gained more and more engagement by pretending to be an actual news source, while lying to our community, often about other community members- with us being unable to do or say anything about it. He had immediately blocked anyone who would point out the lies from his “news” page, many before they even had the opportunity to join the group.
We watched as unsuspecting victims got scammed out of money. We watched them believe his made-up news stories and get angry for no reason, just how he wanted. We watched him divide our community. His goal was to divide and conquer, and divide and conquer he did. For a while, at least.
After threatening all of his new followers with taking away their “good” news, Smith began receiving donations for his website, which he claimed would cost $300. He said that having this expensive website was the only possible way he could ever keep providing the “good” news. He challenged anyone who asked why the site would cost so much to build their own website for less. We decided we had to do it.
Desperate for any opportunity to get the word out about the scam, we spent $7 on a website. But not just any website… his website. We used the name of his “news” Facebook group, and what was likely going to be the name of his $300 website: therealnordonia.com. This was finally our chance to show the community who they were donating money to, and believing the lies of. When they went to search for Smith’s website, they’d instead find ours. A place we weren’t blocked from, where we could freely point out how exactly Smith’s “news” page was tearing our great community apart.
Our initial plan for the website was to just post the details of Smith’s extensive criminal history, to hopefully discourage any more people from donating money to him. Over the last 9 months, countless people have reached out to us. People who have shared their own stories. People who had felt powerless just like we did. People thanking us. Because of those people, our website has turned into so much more.
Initially, Smith said our page was posting lies about him, however eventually, with the overwhelming amount of evidence we’ve posted, he’s now unable to deny the truth about his record. He’d lost any of the credibility he had gained during his group’s then near 18 months existence. He started referring to us as the “Smear Page”. We decided to use that as our Facebook name since we never really had a name of “our own”. But it never really felt quite right.
After much thought and many discussions with our volunteers, we’ve concluded that our name has always been just that: ours. We’ve told the truth. We’ve called out the specific instances that are causing the division in our community. We’ve worked hard to bring awareness to lies and scams. We’ve raised hundreds of dollars for actual charity. We’ve protected innocent members of our community, and employees of our public schools who were being targeted. We’ve given back the voices of those who were previously silenced, and we’ve managed to do all of that without lying or scamming anyone.
We’ve always kept it real. And therefore, we are, and always will be, The Real Nordonia.