Clayton's "Heartbreak Hotel," a dirty mouth and criminal foot doctors all make headlines

 Joe Buck Washes Daughters' Mouths with Soap
At Daily RFT we occasionally poke fun (and misspell the name of) Post-Dispatch columnist Dan Caesar. It's not that we dislike Caesar's writing. It's fine. It's just that we wonder why St. Louis needs a dedicated sports-media columnist. (Do the contract negotiations of the local sports shock-jock really qualify as news?)

That said, in sports-talk parlance, Caesar "hit it out of the park" on June 17 with his interview with Joe Buck, which came in the wake of the horrendous June 15 debut of the sports broadcaster's new talk show on HBO, Joe Buck Live. You know, the show that was hijacked by potty-mouthed guest Artie Lange.

Buck tells Caesar that his biggest concern throughout the Lange segment was that his children were in the audience, watching as the comedian went on profanity-laced tirades about jizz, homosexuals and why Buck's show won't make it.

"The whole time I'm listening I was thinking of my two daughters [ages ten and thirteen] who were in the crowd. I went back to the hotel afterward and preemptively washed their mouths out with soap."

And while Buck says he's not all that upset with Lange, his bosses at HBO aren't nearly as forgiving.

HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg tells Caesar: "Frankly, we were stunned. There was no way to get him off the stage without it looking like a skit. The whole thing caught us off guard." On June 16 Lange fired back on a satellite-radio program: "Artie Lange's on HBO. You think I'm going to do a psalm from the Bible?"
—Chad Garrison

Podiatry and Crime: Who Knew?
Until the week of June 15, we here at Daily RFT had no idea that there's a clear connection between foot medicine and crime.

But certainly such a connection exists. Consider the case of Dr. David Quang Pham. He's the St. Louis podiatrist indicted for fraudulently billing Medicaid and Medicare for work he claimed to have performed on his patients' feet.

But according to the U.S. Attorney's office, some of Pham's "patients" didn't even have feet! They were amputees whose feet were removed prior to the date of service Pham submitted on his medical claims. Now the U.S. Attorney's office has announced the sentencing of another local podiatrist, Dr. Bic Chau Stafford, who pleaded guilty of obstructing a federal audit into charges that she falsely billed Medicare. According to prosecutors Dr. Stafford billed Medicare for numerous complex foot-surgery procedures when she was really providing these patients with routine foot care, such as toenail-clipping. (Yuck!)—Chad Garrison

Clayton's "Heartbreak Hotel" to Close
The 23-story high-rise in downtown Clayton has been many things in its brief nine-year existence.

Clayton on the Park, at the corner of South Brentwood Boulevard and Bonhomme Avenue, began as a boutique hotel and apartment building catering to the city's well-heeled visitors and wealthy residents. Monthly rent started at $1,300 and rose quickly from there. Adding to its panache, the building offered concierge service to all occupants and imported a London taxicab to ferry its guests to and from Clayton restaurants and the airport.

And for a time the hotel seemed to be doing well — earning the name "Heartbreak Hotel" for all the separated playboys and blue-blooded divorcées rumored to be holed up in the glass tower that offers sweeping views of downtown Clayton and Shaw Park.

Heartbreak, though, is what the hotel has provided its investors, especially the building's developer, Bob Saur of Conrad Properties.

After the hotel/apartment model failed to fully take off, Conrad Properties teamed last year with Sunrise Senior Living to turn the building into a high-end residential building for the elderly. In so doing, it booted the jazz club Finale out of the building's ground floor. (Finale owner Steve Schankman said then that he hoped to find a new home for his club. To date, though, that hasn't happened.)Then on June 16, Saur announced the sour economy had caused Sunrise to pull out of the building — this, after completing a $10 million renovation last fall to accommodate its new clientele. The last residents will move out of the building in August. It remains to be determined what will become of the place. In hindsight, perhaps the son of former Cardinals president Mark Lamping understood the best use for the building. The Lampings were residents of Clayton on the Park in 2006 when then-seventeen-year-old Timothy Lamping discovered that the hotel's rooftop made an excellent launching pad for throwing bottles into the Shaw Park Aquatic Center across the street.
—Chad Garrison

 
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