Love hurts: Breaking up is hard to do

Patricia and John Kluge

 These days Patricia Kluge is happily married to retired IBM exec Bill Moses, but 15 years ago her split from billionaire John Kluge was the talk of the town.

Married in 1981, the Kluges seemed an unlikely pair. She, a Baghdad-born one-time belly dancer nearly 35 years her husband's junior, had previously been married to Russell Gay, a publisher of skin magazines.

That Patricia had written a randy column and been pictured playing naked Twister in Gay's magazine Knave were sources of endless fascination, particularly for the British tabloids that discovered her sordid past and splashed pictures across the pages. In the late 1980s, Prince Charles and Princess Diana cancelled a visit to the Kluges' Palm Beach estate when Patricia's colorful past came to light.

After the Kluges' 1990 divorce, Patricia took up with Doug Wilder, Virginia's first African American governor, and the pair made news again when newspapers revealed they had used Wilder's state-funded helicopter for vacation trips.

While the details of the Kluge divorce were never made public, certain facts are clear: John Kluge kept Morven, the Albemarle County estate in which the couple had resided, while Patricia retained Albemarle House, a 1,300-acre estate where she now lives and grows grapes for her Kluge Estate Winery.

Though rumors have spread about the settlement amount, Patricia Kluge has maintained in news stories that the money she used to start her vineyard came from Kluge Investments Ltd., her New York-based firm.


DMB and Peter Griesar

 Griesar hates the comparison, but he and fifth Beatle Pete Best have more in common than a first name. Both left bands only moments before fame and fortune arrived. Both enjoyed a measure of self-earned post-split musical fame. The one big difference: Best was instantly replaced by another drummer (a fellow named Ringo). By contrast, after Griesar retired from the Dave Matthews Band, the group forged on without keyboards. While Griesar may not have stuck around for the 1997 Grammy Award, he helped write the song that won it ("So Much to Say"). And he has found success in his own right, releasing four CDs, including his latest solo projects, Superfastgo (2003) and Candy Shop (2004).

Though he may never completely live down the Dave connection, he is not a DMB-wannabe, a fact Rolling Stone magazine pointed out in 2002.

"The music on Superfastgo," wrote Gil Kaufman, "is clearly the work of a man with a twisted pop vision that would leave the average Dave-head a bit speechless."


The Hook and C-VILLE

 Sorry, we're too busy picking lint from our navels to write about this one...


Colin Rolph and Lee Danielson

 Throughout most of the 1990s, Rolph and Danielson were a development dream team and the force behind the downtown renaissance. The Ice Park, the downtown Regal Cinema, and the Mall vehicle crossing were results of the duo's efforts through their company, D&R Development. They changed the face of Charlottesville.

But cracks in the relationship appeared in the late '90s, as the two men couldn't agree on the fate of their Ice Park, and more importantly, the handling of all aspects of the business.

"The Ice Park should have closed down long ago," Danielson told the Daily Progress in July 2001. Rolph begged to differ, insisting that the Ice Park was a vital part of a healthy downtown and should remain operational.

The barbs took a personal turn, with Rolph telling the Progress, "Lee is basically not a part of Charlottesville anymore," pointing out that his partner spent more time in California than Virginia. Danielson shot back with a jab at Rolph: "One has real estate experience, the other doesn't."

The ugliness jumped from newspaper accounts to the courtroom, where the dissolution of the business was finally completed in 2002.

Today, Danielson, who does spend most of his time in California, has announced that he's developing a luxury hotel in the former Central Fidelity/Boxer Learning building on the Downtown Mall. Rolph keeps a lower profile.


Meredith Richards and the Dems

 As a two-term city councilor and vice-mayor, it seemed likely last year that Richards would not only be nominated for another term, she would also be a shoo-in for mayor. But when local Democrats held their convention last February, Richards was jettisoned to make way for now-mayor David Brown and Kendra Hamilton.

How did that happen?

Some have blamed her pro-Meadowcreek Parkway stance, an anathema to the majority of local Dems.

And then there was the Cox factor.

Outgoing mayor Maurice Cox backed African-American candidate Hamilton, suggesting that his decision not to run was based on finding a viable black candidate to take his place. Cox, an alternative transportation advocate, then nominated Kevin Lynch, saying at the time, "Kevin won't stop until Charlottesville has a transit system that doesn't require a car."

Cox offered no such vocal support for Richards.

Though the mayor denied supporting a "slate" of candidates that excluded Richards– whom he said he "respected"– Richards' campaign manager Ellora Young suggested otherwise.

"The slate that Maurice Cox orchestrated," she said, "was being billed as a 'Get Rid of Meredith' effort."

Ever gracious, Richards delivered a stoic concession speech. "These kinds of things get played out at conventions," she said. "I was told there were slates being engineered, and I've seen the posters that called for a Lynch, Brown, and Hamilton slate."

Richards hasn't let the defeat slow her down, however.

She has spent the last six years on the board of the TransDominion Express, or TDX, a state-subsidized effort to start passenger trains rolling through southwestern Virginia, with the prospect of four daily whistle-stops in Charlottesville. While that effort may initially bypass Charlottesville, Richards is trying to get Virginia Railway Express to initiate a Charlottesville-to-D.C. commuter train.