Rats Deserting a Sinking Ship?
In a town like Vegas, there might be
a smidgen of justice remaining
I am a shareholder of RicRiz, LLC. I do not own
a majority of the shares. -- Rick Rizzolo, 10/01/04
Mr. Rizzolo's only involvement is as a shareholder of RicRiz,
LLC. He is not a proper Defendant in this case. -- Attorney Dean
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
November 15, 2004
"This Structure Is Unsafe"
sign posted on Rizzolo's office, 11/3/04
(Photo by Buffalo Jim Barrier)
LAS VEGAS - When the Fire Department condemns part of your building,
politicians refuse your campaign contributions, there's a "Do Not Enter"
seal on your office door, and you deny being the boss of your own company,
something's seriously wrong.
At first glance you'd think a person suffering such humiliation is some
kind of schlemiel, but think again! The recipient is none other than
Rizzolo, the soon-to-be indicted, recently disavowed owner of the blood-soaked
Crazy Horse Too topless bar.
(L to R) Ralph Rizzolo and attorney
Jon Norheim listen
as Rick Rizzolo points to his neighbor's
(Photo by Buffalo Jim Barrier)
For over a decade Rizzolo was known as the most generous political campaign
this side of the Strip. He was called a "Pillar
of the community." He allegedly could pull strings like having City
Hall and the Fire Department do his bidding,
especially when it came to helping him try to get rid of his bothersome
next door neighbor so he can expand the
Crazy Horse. His political clout seemed limitless, that's until February
20, 2003 when Rizzolo met his most formidable foe.
In February 2003, the FBI and IRS raided
his business. Since then, Rick Rizzolo's name or those of his corporations
no longer appear on the campaign contribution reports of any local or state
politician. Prior to 2003, his name regularly appeared on the contribution
lists of judges, mayors, DAs, Sheriffs, councilmembers, commissioners,
and even the governor. But no longer. A careful search of the Nevada Secretary
of State, Clark County Election Department, and City Clerk's web sites
over the past three elections revealed no political contributions from
Rick Rizzolo, et al. -- at least none that were on the record.
In the meantime, Rizzolo's next door neighbor, garage owner Buffalo
Jim Barrier, is becoming an increasing thorn in his side. A colorful former
pro wrestler, Barrier has occupied the same space since 1976, and says
he has no intention of moving until his lease expires in 2009. Because
of his highly publicized legal battles with Rizzolo, his neighbor since
1987, Barrier's become a local folk
hero of sorts, and his long-successful garage is a gathering place
for famous pro wrestlers when they're in town. Consequently, he's become
Rizzolo's second most formidable foe, and seems to be winning every round.
Goldberg, Barrier, Rick Steiner
(Photo by Mike Christ)
Its a far different story for Rick Rizzolo. After five humiliating court
defeats and a multi-agency federal investigation of his business practices
and associations, Rizzolo is singing a new tune.
I am a shareholder of RicRiz, LLC. I do not own a majority of the
shares. RicRiz, LLC owns the shopping center where both James Barrier and
The Power Company, Inc. dba Crazy Horse Too are tenants. I am both competent
and willing to testify. I did not notice or tow Mr. Barrier's vehicles
referred to in his Complaint, nor have I noticed or towed his vehicles
in the past. RicRiz, LLC has a property manager, Ralph Rizzolo. The shopping
center employs an independent security company, Green Valley Security.
Either they or Ralph Rizzolo would have ordered cars noticed if they were
on shopping center property. -- AFFIDAVIT OF RICK RIZZOLO, 10/01/04
On October 7, Dean Patti of the prestigious law firm Patti
and Sgro, told the court: "Mr. Rizzolo's only involvement is as a shareholder
of RicRiz, LLC. He is not a proper Defendant in this case," backing up
Rizzolo's contention that he's no longer the boss.
Does this now mean that Rick Rizzolo is also not a "proper defendant"
in the case of Kirk
Henry? Or in the upcoming Federal racketeering and political corruption
case? Ask the family of Henry who is now a quadriplegic, or ask the widow
and daughters of the late Scott
Fau? They'll say you can't shirk such grievous responsibility by merely
saying, "I do not own a majority of the shares," or "He is not a proper
Defendant in this case."
The two family's suffering gives an ironic new meaning to that orange
sign on Rizzolo's office window that states, "This Structure is Unsafe!"
In 1997, Bart Rizzolo, Rick and Ralph's dad boasted,
"There has never been a suit filed that we haven't beaten and I'm hoping
our record will stay that way." That was then, this is now.
Bart, Ralph, and Annette Rizzolo
during FBI raid
(AmericanMafia.com photo by Mike Christ)
On October 15, Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ruled on RICRIZ'S MTN FOR DECLARATORY
RELIEF. Attorney Jon Norheim, also of Patti and Sgro, pleaded that Barrier's
rent should be increased by one third. He argued that since Rick Rizzolo
purchased the center in 2002, Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases were
inadvertently overlooked and three years worth should now be cumulatively
added to Barrier's rent.
Barrier's attorney Gus
Flangas cried foul. He argued that CPI increases cannot be added cumulatively,
and only the most recent year's increase is warranted. The court agreed,
and Norheim's motion was denied.
In another recent case, Judge Gonzalez ruled that Rick Rizzolo must
stop towing Barrier's customer's cars from a makeshift "Fire Lane" he had
posted next to Allstate Auto Repair, Barrier's business. Up until the ruling,
many of Barrier's customer's cars were towed within minutes of their arrival
for service at his garage. The illegal towing stopped after the ruling,
but then something else began happening. Raw garbage started being dumped
every night outside Barrier's garage door.
Nightly deposit of wet garbage
Its now become the norm for Barrier to have to clean up a pile of wet
trash purposely left outside his roll up doors each morning though a dumpster
sits nearby. It seems that someone (not at Rick Rizzolo's behest of course)
is deliberately dumping the trash there to irritate Barrier into moving,
or to get even for his photographic exploits. It is Barrier who has for
years photographed dozens of victims of beatings, or possible druggings
at the Crazy Horse.
"I've been scooping up his drunks
and stepping over dead bodies for years. A little garbage doesn't faze
me," said Barrier.
One morning in early November, while Barrier was cleaning the garbage
piled on his driveway, the Las Vegas Fire Department arrived on the scene.
Barrier thought they were there to perform one of their all-too-frequent
surprise inspections of his garage, but that was not the case. The Fire
Inspectors were surprisingly there to officially remove the "No Parking,
Fire Lane" signs that were dutifully posted on the wall of Barrier's garage
one week following Rick Rizzolo's purchase of the center in 2002, a time
when he still had amazing clout at City Hall. That changed in 2003 with
the defeat of two-term Councilman Michael
McDonald, a Rizzolo sycophant.
INSIDE VEGAS has often
that the signs were improperly posted next to five bright yellow concrete
reinforced poles that protect two electrical transformers that sit directly
in the middle of the now-defunct "Fire Lane." The signs were finally removed
AmericanMafia.com articles were hand delivered to Las Vegas
Fire Chief David Washington and City
Parking Enforcement Lieutenant Karen Coyne.
Obstructions blocking phony "Fire
But that's not all the Fire Inspectors accomplished that eventful morning.
They posted "Do Not Occupy, This Structure is Unsafe" signs on the front
of Rick's back office along with orange "Do Not Enter" seals on the doors
that he (or Ralph, or the security guards) promptly tried to remove.
Ripped "Do Not Enter" stickers
on Rizzolo's door
(Photo by Buffalo Jim Barrier)
While awaiting Federal criminal indictments, along with Kirk Henry's
attempted murder civil trial, several suspected hidden
owners of the Crazy Horse have allegedly been busy liquidating or transferring
their personal assets, probably to disassociate themselves from the business
prior to possible forfeitures
or judgments. Meanwhile, its obvious that no public
official in the state currently feels comfortable doing the Crazy Horse
favors -- with the exception of a few crooked
local cops who are carefully being monitored, and the mayor
who was formerly the criminal defense attorney for a number of Rizzolo's
Maybe that's the reason for City Hall's sudden change of heart? Or maybe
its a case of "rats deserting a sinking ship;" possibly a sign that
even in a town like Vegas there might be a smidgen of justice remaining.
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