Hearne: Potholes in Rod Anderson Sentencing Story

IScreen-Shot-2012-11-19-at-10.47.38-AM‘ve got more coming your way on the Rod Anderson case but first…

Here are a few thoughts on the comprehensive reporting concerning the Hereford House owner’s sentencing in today’s Kansas City Star.

For starters, I fully understand the way reporters try to breath life into news stories. Still I think describing Anderson in the opening sentence of the story as the “man who fought to save a landmark restaurant” after he’s been convicted of torching that very landmark is beyond a stretch.

Anderson’s hiring thugs to burn the place down for the insurance money was hardly an effort to save a local landmark. It was an effort to save his financial bacon – landmark be damned – and come up with enough dough to build a new restaurant from the ground up. The landmark was the last thing Anderson was trying to save.

Later in the story it says competition from the P&L threatened the downtown Hereford House which “had begun to show its age.”

UnknownBegun to show its age?

The Hereford House downtown was way past beginning to show its age. Like 30 years or more past. And the competition it faced wasn’t so much from the nearby entertainment district as much as it was the dilapidated condition of its building and its mediocre food and service. The Hereford House had long since been passed up in both quality and price by any number of other restaurants both local and chains.

I remember Anderson helping me with a column about the Golden Ox where he explained how buying the exact different grades of meat affected the taste and quality of the steaks.

Screen shot 2013-09-10 at 6.01.30 PMIn short, neither the Hereford House nor the Golden Ox were paying top dollar for their meat like Ruth’s Chris, Capital Grill and Plaza III.

The “landmark” Anderson burned was cramped, in ultra poor repair and had been so for eons. And while it really never was what you would call an upscale steakhouse, it had coasted for years on its historic name which made for high expectations from diners. Expectations that in many, if not most cases simply were not met.

The third lame thing in today’s story – and this through no fault of the Star – was the part from Anderson’s attorneys about them further investigating the cause of the fire on their client’s behalf in order to find the answers to the “many unanswered questions.”

In other words, who really dunnit.

Shades of O.J. Simpson.

Let me get this straight; with no money in the bank and Anderson in the slammer, they’re going to search for “the real killer” – I mean – whoever¬†really¬†torched the Hereford House.

I don’t think so.

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6 Responses to Hearne: Potholes in Rod Anderson Sentencing Story

  1. James says:

    HH was good in the 90s even though it wasn’t upscale, it fell off IMO in the early 2000s, the one in Leawood is no better than a chain place, I’m suprised it’s still open

  2. harley says:

    Hereford has a good name…the one in leawood appears to do a good
    business(cars in parking lot)….but heck the guy gave more free stuff
    away than he could afford.
    the restaurant business is brutal. I think he had a loser at union
    station….the one on 20th street seemed to still do a nice business
    although I had not eaten there in years…
    I saw his brother has a website up online to solicit letter and try
    to help his brother…..check that one out.
    be interested to know
    glazes take on things….

  3. Orphan of the Road says:

    Good commentary.

    The Star mourns lost ad revenue.

  4. PB says:

    I don’t know, maybe my comprehension is off, but I took The Star’s “saving the landmark” comment as one that was in reference to when he first took over the joint. I do agree with you that by the time of the fire though, it was definitely more about “saving his bacon”.

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