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: http://www.SteveMiller4LasVegas.com
Crazy Horse Too
Back to business-as-usual
INSIDE VEGAS by
October 23, 2006
"But for the briefing
I had from Mr. DiFiore, I think I know
what's gonna happen here." - Mayor Oscar
Goodman before he abstained
LAS VEGAS - After hearing tough statements like
we're going to "clean house," "We
want a divorce from those who pleaded guilty and the operation and
management of this business;" and "I don't feel confident going
forward at this time, we need to go forward with a microscope," it was
a meek City Council who sat silent last Wednesday -- listening -- not
questioning -- as attorneys for the violence-plagued Crazy Horse Too
explained that Mike Signorelli will pay convicted felon Rick Rizzolo
$400,000 per month ($14,000 per day) "rent" for the privilege of
running his topless bar.
Jim Barrier pledges to photograph any barred person who enters
or exits, and any
future beating victims
(AmericanMafia.com photo by Mike Christ)
On Thursday following the re-licencing, next door neighbor Buffalo Jim
Barrier placed a call to Signorelli, the man who now officially
holds the temporary liquor license at the Crazy Horse. Barrier said he
his new neighbor and talk to him about burying the hatchet.
When he asked to speak to "Mr. Signorelli the new owner," on two
occasions he reportedly was told "the owner of the Crazy Horse Too is
Signorelli never returned Barrier's calls, nor paid a visit to his
business. That's when Barrier pledged to continue monitoring those who
enter and exit the business now that Rick, Bart, and Annette Rizzolo,
with 16 employees who pleaded guilty to felonies, are barred from
entering the building beginning October 25. Barrier says he'll share
his photos with the FBI, and several City Council members who are
having second thoughts.
At last Wednesday's Council meeting, conspicuously absent was the
mention of beating
victim Kirk Henry after his name was the main topic on
September 6 when the Council permanently revoked Rizzolo's liquor
license in what many thought would be the end of the violent reign of
On Sept. 6, Rizzolo's attorneys even brought Amy Henry up to the podium
to ask the council to let the bar stay open so Rizzolo could sell the
place to generate the $10 million to pay her family and their Vegas
lawyers. (Nothing was mentioned about attaching Rizzolo's personal
assets to guarantee payment in the event the bar didn't sell, or the
fact that allowing the bar to stay open would expose future Kirk
Henry's to beatings.)
On October 18, the suddenly timid Council neglected to ask the obvious
question as to what Rizzolo intended to do with the $14,000 per day he
is supposed to receive as "rent" while he sits in prison, and why none
of the ridiculously inflated rent money is going to the
Also not mentioned was Mike Signorelli's two bankruptcies. Omitted was
information about his
disqualification as a buyer of the Riviera Hotel, something he
previously bragged about to influence the Council into thinking he's a
successful businessman, along with supposedly being a respected,
entrepreneur in Mesquite (his casino went bankrupt one year after it
But most important were the lack of questions about who will now run
to a source inside the Crazy Horse, Rick Rizzolo's 22 year old son
Dominic is now running the CH2 with Rick's brother Ralph as the number
Rizzolo was arrested in Feb. for felony trafficking in controlled
and Ralph Rizzolo have reportedly taken over the executive offices and
in full control of the day to day operations since the reopening last
Meanwhile, folks are asking why the
rent is 33% of the reported monthly gross, and how Signorelli is going
Rizzolo after his two bankruptcies? Has he put down a first and last
month rent payment and security deposit, and how does he intend to
raise the $45 million he said
he'll pay to buy the 2.63 acres and building after suffering dual
These are questions that may never be asked by our
silent City Council who voted in lock step to license Signorelli -- in
the absence of Mayor Oscar Goodman.
there was this bizarre statement from Goodman after being told by the City
Attorney he has a conflict of interest (based on my
ethics complaint): "But for the briefing
I had from (City Director of Business Activity) Mr. DiFiore I think I
what's gonna happen here, and if it happens that way, then I guess I
have to follow your advice."
Then he left the Council Chambers.
And it happened exactly "that way!"
How did Goodman know his vote wouldn't be needed to help his law firm's
former and present clients get back to business-as-usual?
Mike Signorelli and City Business License Director Jim DiFiore
(AmericanMafia.com photo by Mike Christ)
Goodman knew in advance the result of the upcoming vote, then it's
possible DiFiore violated the Nevada Open Meeting Law by polling
the City bring Dominic and Ralph in for Key Licenses? Will the new
Nevada Attorney General investigate the Council's actions, and possible
collusion by staff members?
necessary under City Code to look at those who are in charge and
the "microscopic" examination Mayor Pro Tem Reese skipped doing last
The safety and welfare of our citizens and tourists is in peril while
the Rizzolo family continues to control the "public
nuisance," and are not "divorced" from the business as was
specified by City Attorney Brad Jerbic.
were many persons in the audience on Oct. 18 who were denied their
right to be heard, and new evidence may have been presented that could
have altered the vote.
The Council has until 5 PM Wednesday
Oct. 25 to bring the item back for reconsideration, and one Council
member has expressed interest in doing so after learning the Rizzolo's
are still in charge, including Rick's nieces who will reportedly be doing the books in the absence of
their mom Annette after she's barred. Annette was the bookkeeper during
years her brother Rick and father Bart pleaded guilty to skimming. More
on her later.
Prior to the hearing, Jim DiFiore was seen conferring
one-on-one with applicant Mike Signorelli and Jay Brown,
Goodman's former law partner and Senator Harry Reid's facilitator.
also spotted going into a private room marked "Communications" with
Rizzolo's attorney Tony Sgro, and coming out five minutes later.
The Council voted to grant a six month
temporary liquor license with a three month review to
During the hearing, Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese asked Signorelli
three different times how
much the CH2 declares in yearly gross sales. Signorelli seemed
confused, but finally
"I'm guessing fifteen million."
He then said his guess was probably off by as much as 20%. He did
not explain why, but some speculate that the skim the
defendants pleaded guilty to was at least that much. No one on the
Council asked follow up questions.
Then Signorelli stated that he intended to "bring back
When Reese questioned him on the subject, Signorelli changed his
answer and said he would not hire any former employees.
His attorney Steve Caruso interrupted and told the
Council that his client would not hire any employee that has pleaded
guilty to a felony, and all others would be considered. Then he said
his client would "clean house."
No one asked how he can have it both ways?
Councilman Larry Brown asked if any of the Rizzolos would be
allowed on the premises, and Caruso said that Rick, Bart, and Annette
Rizzolo would be barred. He did not specify whether Ralph Rizzolo would
work at the club.
Even though Bart and Annette Rizzolo are barred from the property,
Jim DiFiori volunteered that he has no problem with either person.
Signorelli gave the Council his "word" that no crimes would
ever occur on the premises. One man in the audience, 80 year old Nick
Stefforn, groaned audibly when he heard the promise.
Stefforn was at last Wednesday's meeting to tell the Council about his
business dealings with
Signorelli, but never got the chance because the public was barred from
citizens also patiently awaited their turn to speak including
residents of Meadows Village, church members and clergy, former
Mesquite Star Casino employees, and Crazy Horse Too crime victims, but
the Council did not allow public comment during the hearing.
to a class action lawsuit, Signorelli's corporation "looted"
paychecks of employees at his bankrupt Mesquite Star casino. The
employees allege they learned their health insurance premiums had not
been paid when they were denied claims for health care.
The Council did not question Signorelli on his financing,
criminal associations, or background.
Stefforn and his wife Evelyn were plaintiffs in an
action to collect unpaid debts during Signorelli's first
bankruptcy. He says he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in his
dealings with Signorelli.
Nick Stefforn, right, confronts Mike Signorelli, center, as "Buffalo"
looks on Wednesday. Stefforn is a former business associate of
(Review-Journal photo by Clint
denied his ability to address the Council, Mr.
Stefforn took out his frustrations in City Hall Plaza when he saw
Signorelli congratulating Rick Rizzolo's legal team.
Then there was Jay
Oscar Goodman's former law partner and current business partner
Jay Brown was observed working the room, so to speak, at Wednesday's
Brown is described as a close friend of Sen.
who is on the hot seat over a $1.1 million dollar deal that according
to the Washington
Post was "...engineered by Jay Brown, a longtime friend
and former casino lawyer whose name surfaced in a major political
bribery trial this summer and in other prior organized crime
investigations. Brown has never been charged with wrongdoing, except
for a 1981 federal securities complaint that was settled out of court."
Brown and Goodman were once Rick Rizzolo's corporate Resident Agents
for THE POWER COMPANY, INC.
What was Brown doing at the Crazy Horse hearing?
When I observed him with DiFiori, their body English was
Nodding in approval throughout their conversations, the same thing
happened when Brown walked back across the room to sit with
Sgro and Signorelli. It looked like one big happy family!
The only difference I observed between the last two Council meetings
-- meetings that had drastically different outcomes -- was the
presence of Jay Brown.
During the latest hearing, the once-brave Las Vegas City Council just
sat there looking
numb, then voted like automatons. Something
was really different last Wednesday. Did Brown do what he's famous
during the weeks leading up to Wednesday's hearing? If not, then why else would someone
be willing to pay 33% of his gross monthly income as "rent" and not be
scrutinized more carefully?" And why were public
The Council was fully aware of Signorelli's two bankruptcies,
class action lawsuit, and his disqualification from a bid to buy the
Riviera, but evidently dared not raise these subjects while Jay
Brown was in the audience.
At 11 AM Thursday, three witnesses state that Annette
Rizzolo accompanied by a club bouncer entered Allstate Auto
and Marine Repair located next to the topless
She reportedly tore
up a certified letter Allstate owner
Barrier sent to his landlord Rick Rizzolo demanding his
garage's leaky roof be repaired.
"It was very embarrassing. I said nothing to cause her to act
this way," Barrier said.
Barrier has a multi-million dollar harassment
pending against Rick Rizzolo, and says this unruly act by a family
member will be used to substantiate his allegations that the Rizzolos
have tried to harass him, his
employees, and customers to encourage him into moving the
garage that has operated in the same location since 1976. Rizzolo
purchased the property in 2002 -- tried three times to evict Barrier --
Barrier pays Rizzolo forty-three cents per square foot for his
10,000 square feet located adjacent to the topless bar.
Signorelli purportedly pays $16.00 per
square foot -- $15.57 per foot more
than Barrier in the same building!
"No wonder she's so pissed off," said Barrier. "I'd be too knowing
I pay such low rent, have three years remaining on my lease, and now
she can't even step foot
on her brother's property after this Tuesday!"
Prior to Wednesday's Council meeting, many speculated that
Annette would become the club's new manager after Signorelli
took over the operation.
(L. to R)
Bart Rizzolo, unidentified man, Ralph Rizzolo, Annette Rizzolo,
Sgro (back to camera) (AmericanMafia.com photo by
Will the City bring
Dominic and Ralph Rizzolo
in for Key Licenses?
In 2002, Al
Rapuano, a former client of
Oscar Goodman, appeared
before the City Council requesting a key employee license at the Crazy
It will also be interesting to see what happens if the Rizzolos
don't voluntarily come forward for licensure! Will the City take
action, or once
again turn their backs on the safety and welfare of our citizens
At that hearing, Randall Sayre, the Nevada
Gaming Control Board Chief of Investigations stated, "It's no secret
that we have concerns with some of the associations that he has,"
referring to Rapuano's close association with Nevada Black Book member
Cusumano and others.
Nonetheless, the City Council was encouraged by Mayor
Goodman to license Rapuano, and they obediently did.
Rick Rizzolo and Al
photo by Mike Christ)
Since that time, Gaming Control Board
concerns have proven correct because
Rapuano was recently convicted of multiple felonies involving the
Crazy Horse, and is presently awaiting sentencing.
Now, it's again time for the Council to scrutinize licensing
Rick Rizzolo's son and brother in key management positions at the Crazy
After not caring on Oct. 18 who would run the day to day operations,
it is now necessary to look at those who are in
It will be interesting to see if the Council heeds their
own laws, and make the "microscopic" examination Mayor Pro Tem Reese
neglected to do last Wednesday if two new persons named Rizzolo
come forward for key licensure.
The first names have changed, but the game's the same. And
for Signorelli, can anyone say Straw Man?
Last Friday afternoon at 4 PM, Jim Barrier's caller
ID reportedly indicated a call coming from the Crazy Horse Too. He
caller identified herself as Annette Rizzolo. He
reports that her only message was "What goes around, comes around,"
before hanging up.
Based on those foreboding words, this sordid story is far
from over. And they said the Mob left Las Vegas years ago...
© Steve Miller
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