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Inside Vegas - Steve Miller

Steve Miller is a former Las Vegas City Councilman. In 1991, the readers of the Las Vegas Review Journal voted him the "Most Effective Public Official" in Southern Nevada. Visit his website at:

Ralph Rizzolo crashes his Mercedes Benz
into the closed down Crazy Horse Too

Rick Rizzolo's brother narrowly escapes death when his
car crashes into the wall of Buffalo Jim's closed garage

                             (Photo #1) Ralph's point of entry looking north

                             (Photo #2)  Ralph's point of entry looking south

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
October 20, 2008

LAS VEGAS - "If he had to crash into a government owned building, why didn't he crash into the Federal Court House?"

Those are the words of a man who at 9:30 on Saturday night, September 13, 2008, discovered a Mercedes Benz embedded in the side of the seized former topless bar once owned by the infamous Rizzolo family.

The bloodied driver was walking around in a daze with deep head lacerations, talking on his cell phone according to the witness. The driver was none other than Ralph Rizzolo, the brother of Rick Rizzolo the former owner of the government-seized Crazy Horse Too.

The government desperately wants to sell the derelict property to the highest bidder as soon as possible to pay back taxes and other debts incurred by the bar's former owners who were convicted of racketeering.

Rick Rizzolo spent a year in federal prison for his crimes, but his younger brother Ralph, his father Bart, and sister Annette were spared federal criminal prosecution when Rick, in a plea bargain, agreed to pay full restitution for his family's crimes and forfeit the topless bar and strip center in which it was housed.

Rick also agreed to never again in his lifetime work in the adult entertainment industry, but that agreement did not extend to his family members.

To the government's dismay, the Crazy Horse Too property lost most of its value and can never again be used as a topless bar because on July 1, 2008, its adult use zoning and liquor license were permanently revoked by the city council. Now, without their nightly cash flow -- sometimes beat out of customers -- Rick Rizzolo's relatives are on the brink of financial devastation, while he's a regular fixture in our town's most expensive clubs and casinos seen squandering cash on liquor, and gambling.

Rick's nightly partying with the cash he stole from the Crazy Horse is probably enough to give his impoverished siblings and father a nervous break down!

Ralph and other Rizzolo family members had for many years been able to share the unlimited profits generated by what was once the most opulent adult venue in Vegas. But now Ralph is reduced to being a humble floor man at the much less pretentious Palomino Club in North Las Vegas, and the other Rizzolo's are just out of work.

That begs the question; what was Ralph doing at the government owned Crazy Horse property on the night of September 13, when he crashed his car head long into a brick wall at 50 miles per hour? And why were the citizens not told of this occurrence on publicly owned property -- until now?

On August 30, 2007, the US Department of Justice took full possession of the Crazy Horse from the Rizzolos, and prominently posted bright red, white, and blue NO TRESPASSING signs. Then the government hired a private security agency to make sure no unauthorized persons entered the property. All was well until Ralph's sudden appearance that eventful Saturday night.

I personally know how this family thinks. They, or someone posing as them, let me know in this missive I received on June 23, 2008 that I shared with the police and FBI:

I take no solace or credit for the Rizzolo's problems, though I have been blamed. In fact, I wish I'd never been chosen to tell their sad story. They brought their grief upon themselves, and unfortunately shared it with others who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nor should they have blamed their former next door neighbor, the late James "Buffalo Jim" Barrier, for bringing them down. Their legal wounds were self inflicted, just as Ralph's physical and psychological wounds were probably self inflicted on that night last September, in my opinion.

But this dysfunctional family's self inflicted wounds run even deeper.

On November 21, 2007, Bart Rizzolo, the patriarch of the family, was served with the first of two Restraining Orders commanding him to stay at least 100 feet away from  Buffalo Jim. Rizzolo's lawyer baselessly threatened to sue Barrier for damaging his client's reputation, but Barrier answered the threat by filing for and receiving a second TRO in January 2008 effectively keeping the elder Rizzolo off his own family's property for a total of 60 days. Both Court Orders were in response to a failed attempt by Bart to run over Barrier with his Land Rover in the Crazy Horse parking lot.

On January 21, 2008, Ralph's nephew Dominic Rizzolo allegedly stabbed a man in the chest during a botched extortion attempt. Dominic failed to appear at his arraignment on October 13, and the court has given him 20 days to show.
Case  08-C-246642-C  Just Ct. Case#  08-F -04300  Status  ACTIVE 
Plaintiff  State of Nevada  Attorney  Roger, David J. 
Defendant  Rizzolo, Dominic  Attorney  Sgro, Anthony P. 
Judge  Herndon, Douglas W  Dept.  3 
Rizzolo, Dominic 
10/28/2008 at 10:30 AM STATUS CHECK: DOCTOR'S LETTER 
Williams, Kevin V 
Rizzolo, Dominic 
200.481(2E) Battery with use of a deadly weapon 
Go to:

The Rizzolo's criminal defense attorney Tony Sgro presented Arraignment Master Kevin V. Williams with a "Doctor's Letter" to try to excuse 26 year old Dominic's absence, but the court obviously did not buy it.

Because of the suspicious doctor's letter, and the youngest Rizzolo's failure to appear, it was first thought that Dominic was driving the ill fated Mercedes that crashed into the Crazy Horse Too.

"It wasn't Dominic Rizzolo in the car, it was his uncle Ralph, who is Rick's brother.  It is my understanding that he was alone. He called the Palomino Club to report that he had an accident and wasn't coming to work. He spoke with the shift manager who went to the scene and waited until Ralph's girlfriend arrived.  She then took him to the emergency room of a hospital. He was admitted with what has been represented as a heart attack. Blood was taken from him, so there should be no problem in determining if he was under the influence of anything."

Based on the above statement from someone close to the Palomino Club, Ralph Rizzolo (pictured second from left with his sister Annette and father Bart in this photo by Mike Christ) must have suffered two heart attacks on September 13th because he was involved in an earlier auto accident in front of the Palace Station that same evening.

To assume Ralph's perspective, he would obviously want us to believe he was stone sober, driving north down Industrial Road on his way to work in North Las Vegas (Industrial Road does not lead to North Las Vegas). After losing consciousness during his purported heart attack, he swerved to the left off of Industrial Rd.; crossed two lanes of oncoming traffic (traffic on Industrial is quite heavy on Saturday nights); crashed into the curb (see chipped concrete on curb in Photo #1); coincidentally entered the government-seized property his family once owned narrowly missing a Crazy Horse Too sign; narrowly missed hitting four three-foot diameter concrete posts under the overpass; and coincidentally came to rest half way inside the former auto repair shop once owned by his worst enemy, Buffalo Jim Barrier, who died under mysterious circumstances on April 5, 2008.

Barrier was the key witness that helped close the Crazy Horse Too and convict Rick Rizzolo and 16 Crazy Horse employees of racketeering. His cooperation with the FBI also put an end to Ralph, Annette, Bart, and Dominic Rizzolo's lucrative careers.

Instead of trying to heal their wounds and go on, the Rizzolos appear to be looking for scapegoats who fanned the flames of their demise. They obviously cannot accept responsibility for their own past criminal actions and faulty judgment. They appear completely unrepentant.

Then, without explanation, Ralph almost dies when he barrels into the outside wall of Barrier's old auto garage!

Thank God that Ralph somehow avoided running over any of the hobos who live under the Sahara overpass, or anyone else for that matter since the US Marshals no longer pay to keep the lights on, and the entire property is pitch dark after the sun goes down.

And thank God there were dozens of discarded engine blocks stacked inside the wall he crashed into that absorbed the impact!

But even a purported heart attack does not negate the fact that Rizzolo-friendly District Attorney David Roger in 2006 got Ralph off with a misdemeanor when he was charged with felony Trafficking in Controlled Substance. Ralph was long suspected of being the Crazy Horse Too's in-house "pharmacist."

Maybe had the DA done his job in 2006, Ralph might have been able to go to rehab, and forgo having a "heart attack" that almost killed him and others when he "lost consciousness" and crashed into Barrier's garage on the site of the defunct Crazy Horse Too!
Case  06-C-219728-C  Just Ct. Case#  04-F -21255  Status  CLOSED 
Plaintiff  State of Nevada  Attorney  Roger, David J. 
Defendant  Rizzolo, Ralph J  Attorney  Napolet, Mario R. 
Defendant  Rizzolo, Ralph J  Id Number  0433829 
0001 453.3385 Trafficking in Controlled Substance 
Felony   Status  CLOSED 
Plaintiff  State of Nevada  Attorney  Roger, David J. 
Defendant  Rizzolo, Ralph J  Attorney  Napolet, Mario R. 
Event  08/16/2006 at 09:00 AM     STATUS CHECK: NEGOTIATIONS 
Parties  0000 - S1     State of Nevada     Yes 
008988     Clarke, Summer C.     Yes 
0001 - D1     Rizzolo, Ralph J     No 
007458     Napolet, Mario R.     Yes 
Mr. Napolet advised this matter has been negotiated and requested the case be remanded to Justice Court, where the Defendant will plead to a misdemeanor Possession of Dangerous Drugs. COURT SO ORDERED. 
Go to:

In total, the Rizzolos raised more than $50,000 in contributions for David Roger during his two campaigns for Clark County DA. And the Rizzolo's criminal attorneys at Patti & Sgro donated campaign office space to Roger in their 6th Street building. Therefore, some believe Roger goes easy on any of the family members when it comes to prosecutions, i.e., not charging Ralph with a DUI, and letting Dominic's Battery With Use of a Deadly Weapon case languish for nine months.

Following the September 13 crash, US Marshals scurried to get the hole in Buffalo Jim's garage repaired before snoopy reporters found out. Today the only evidence of the event is new paint on the repaired wall, a witness' statement and a statement from someone associated with the Palomino Club (both persons asked for anonymity), and the run over fence and chipped curb.

And what about Ralph. Is he OK? Nobody knows. Did he recover from his lacerations and "heart attack?" And how could a heart attack victim get out of his wrecked car and stumble around making cell phone calls?

"I arrived on scene several minutes after the crash. There were two cars in the back alley. One was crashed into the building. The other was a white Camaro parked nearby. He was standing there all bloody. There was blood everywhere. He had salt and pepper hair and a goatee. I asked him, 'Are you OK?' The guy was stumbling all over the place. I tried to get him some medical attention and clean up his wounds. But his friends were already there and said, 'We're going to take him to the hospital.' I said, 'I can't let you leave, until the ambulance and police get here.'

These are the words of the man who was first at the scene.

" 'Oh no. We're gonna take him. We're gonna take him,' they insisted. I decided to write down all the information I could. Then I called 911. The Highway Patrol showed up first. Then a guy that works with him at the Palomino showed up in a new Mercedes. He appeared to be there to bail him out. He appeared very nervous."

The witness who has a police background continued:

"The Highway Patrol ran the plates, and said 'Oh shit!' "

"He pulled me over to the side and told me, 'This is definitely above my pay grade. This is politics. I really can't get involved. I have to break away.' "

The Highway Patrol officer called the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police to take over, but before Metro arrived, Ralph's friends had taken him away according to the witness who said he pleaded with Ralph's friends to let paramedics handle the situation.

"When Metro arrived, the officer said, 'Whoa!' " according to the witness. He then stated that the Metro officer told him, "The less you see the better unless you want to end up in the back of a dumpster because these people are no joke."

"These people are really high up there. Don't put your personal address or phone number on the police report. Just put down your business address and phone number in case this goes to court," was the advice from the Metro officer according to the witness.

The witness went on; "Ralph looked intoxicated, but nobody would say anything. They took him to the hospital so he wouldn't automatically be arrested for DUI."

The witness described Ralph's friends as a white female in her late thirties and a middle aged man who drove Ralph away in a white Chevy Camaro.

"The Highway Patrol officer told me Ralph had an accident prior to hitting the wall at the Crazy Horse. The officer said he 'lost conciseness,' had a 'medical condition' that caused both accidents," stated the witness.

He continued; "The police ran the plates and asked me if I knew who this is? They said, 'He's the prior owner of this joint. We know him to part of the mob or Mafia."

"I asked them why he was on the property? Why wouldn't he crash the vehicle into any other place but  the Crazy Horse? I think he was probably pissed off and it was a vengeance type thing. He's lucky to be alive," stated the witness.

"Everything deployed. Air bags. The car was completely demolished. He flew from the driver's side over to the passenger side and hit the windshield. No seat belts. No skid marks. He came off Industrial and took out the fence going into the parking lot. The cops said he hit the building going between 40 and 50 miles per hour. The engine blocks, that's pretty much what stopped him from going all the way in the building."

"When I got their, the car was already in the wall and he was walking around. Then his friends grabbed him and took him away to the hospital. The Highway Patrol and Metro both told me who the driver was. Metro contacted the Marshals."

The witness said he was told the hospital would test Ralph's blood for drugs or alcohol, and contact the District Attorney if he was impaired. He also said a police officer told him, "The less you know, the better for you. Keep it simple. You don't want to get involved in this."

The alleged admonishments given the witness by the police cause me to wonder if a few of our infamous "rogue cops" responded to this incident?

It's over a month since the crash, and the witness has not been contacted by the police or District Attorney even though government owned property was damaged.

The driver left the scene in a private car. He claimed to have had a heart attack, but didn't wait for paramedics. Why is Clark County District Attorney David Roger not interested in this case?

I have requested a copy of the Police Incident Report to help answer these questions.

In past years, this family and their employees may have gotten away with murder based on their political clout. Is their luck or clout going to help them now?

But the most ironic part of this story is the fact that the engine blocks Buffalo Jim left leaning against the inside wall of his closed garage may have been responsible for absorbing the impact and saving Ralph Rizzolo's life.

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