Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill CEO Doug Guller didn’t buy Bankersmith, but rather a piece of land nearby. Tax records show the actual town site is owned by Rudy Klinkseik, an adjacent landowner. And it’s actually in Gillespie County.
And what he bought was not an abandoned ghost town. Caretaker Maggie Montgomery lived there for 15 years, holding fundraising concerts for local groups that sometimes featured her son, acclaimed singer-songwriter Monte Montgomery. She put a “Banker Smith, TX” sign on her home.
And Guller may not have found it on Craigslist. A source told me that placing the ad, for the purposes of storytelling and branding, was part of the final settlement of a lawsuit over the land transaction.
When I told Guller what I’d discovered, he laughed: “For the record, I found it on Craigslist.”
Details weren’t disclosed, but sometime between June 19 and Tuesday’s news release, the town was put up for sale on Craigslist. Three sources familiar with the situation — two being Mrs. Montgomery and daughter Meredith Guyton — say the ad wasn’t real. Mrs. Montgomery quotes Borchers as saying, “That’s the story we’re going to tell them.”
Well, so much for that. I suspect the correction won’t get nearly the coverage as the original story. Whatever else you may think about this – and apparently Guller’s new neighbors aren’t too thrilled with the whole thing – you have to admire the success of this particular publicity stunt. Well played, sir.