Whenever anything bad happens anywhere, you can always assume that the trail will eventually lead back to Massachusetts, and this Matt Lauer scandal is no exception.
The Massachusetts address this time is 7 Bulfinch Place, Boston 02114 – the home of Channel 7, the alma mater of so many people, including, among others, Matt Lauer, Bill O’Reilly and me.
“You and I worked at Channel 7,” O’Reilly was saying to me on my radio show the other day. “What kind of place was that when we were there? Remember that? Remember those days? Half the place should have been in handcuffs.”
Actually, Bill, a number of our coworkers did end up doing the perp walk. Not half, but a disproportionately high percentage for sure.
O’Reilly was fired from the Fox News Channel earlier this year, and one of the ironies of this whole Lauer mess that how vociferously Matt went after O’Reilly a couple of months ago on The Today Show. He kept pressing O’Reilly about whether he’d done any “soul-searching” about his problems with women. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
I asked O’Reilly if he was now taking any satisfaction in Lauer being hoist on his own petard.
“None,” he said. “I don’t celebrate this stuff. I got my say in that interview. That’s all I can ask, that I get my say.”
Of course, Lauer’s sketchy background predates his Ch. 7 days. One of his first stops in TV was at the old PM magazine on Ch. 10 down in Providence. His cohost was Sheila Martines, the future wife of Bristol County District Attorney Ron Pina.
You may recall how Sheila, who is now deceased, later ended up in the trunk of her blue Mercedes in Dighton under murky circumstances. She claimed she was “abducted” at knife point from a rest stop on I-195 in Seekonk, but no arrests were ever made in the baffling case.
I was thinking about that unsolved mystery as I was reading the Variety story about Matt’s m.o. of locking women in his private dungeon, er office at 30 Rock, or should I say Dirty Rock. Not that Lauer put Sheila in the trunk, but it’s a funny coincidence, isn’t it?
But that’s Channel 7 for you. Remember Bob “Two Beer” Gamere, our legendary sportscaster? Was once stabbed early one morning in the Fens. Later went down on a kiddie porn rap. His Bureau of Prisons number was 27132-038.
Then there was Gerry Grant. He had a cup of coffee at 7 Bulfinch before fleeing to San Antonio. One night in Bexar County he finished his 6 o’clock newscast, went to a motel and was busted… for kiddie porn. Grant was supposed to anchor the 10 o’clock show and instead he ended up leading it. He did five years.
That’s the kind of place Channel 7 was.
One of our reporters was arrested for shoplifting. Another one, Jeff Derderian, was one of the owners of the Station nightclub in Rhode Island. He got a 10-year suspended sentence after the 2003 fire that killed 100 people.
Then there was the GM of the station, Randi Goldklank, busted for disorderly conduct at Logan Airport in 2008. Drunk, she asked the troopers the eternal question: “Do you know who I am?”
After pleading out, Goldklank moved away to Florida and got lugged again in 2011, in a ginmill in Delray Beach, accused of “touching herself, removing her top and dancing on a pole like a stripper.”
Sounds like Randi and Matt might have hit it off, bigtime.
Ah, the good old days at Ch. 7. I asked Bill O’Reilly if he ever thinks about returning to show biz.
“It’s dirty and filthy and scummy and horrible,” he said. “I’m not anxious to get into the swamp again… Right now, we have hysteria. They should move the media center from New York to Salem.”
Then he said something that I can’t get out of my mind:
“I don’t think there’s one man in America that’s safe.”
At least not if he ever worked at 7 Bulfinch Place.