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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:

Crazy Horse reportedly sold
Buffalo Jim almost run over by Rizzolo's
dad minutes after sale was reported
on Spanish language TV news

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
November 19, 2007

LAS VEGAS - As if things couldn't get worse in Sin City, the United States Department of Justice on Friday unofficially announced they had sold the trouble plagued Crazy Horse Too topless bar for an astounding $30 million dollars -- $24.6 million above the government's appraisal of the property.

Interestingly, the only news outlet to make the announcement was the local Spanish language TV station. More on this later.

Who they sold it to remains a mystery, but rumors are running wild that its "new" owner is someone with ties to
imprisoned former Crazy Horse owner Rick Rizzolo
and his backers -- men who have no intention of giving up their gold mine under any circumstances.

Within minutes of the sale's news, Rick's 80 year old father Bart Rizzolo was back on the property allegedly trying to run down the bar's next door neighbor Buffalo Jim Barrier.

In a police report, Barrier states he and a customer of his auto repair business were standing in the parking lot he shares with the Crazy Horse Too when Bart Rizzolo drove on to the property in his black Range Rover. According to witnesses, Rizzolo gunned the engine and aimed directly at Barrier and the customer causing them to jump out of the way to avoid being run over.

A witness described the action as a "brazen and deliberate move." Rizzolo was not charged.

ccording to sources familiar with mob retaliation methods, this may have been the action of someone who thinks he just won some kind of victory and was trying to have the last laugh.

"I didn't work
with the Federal Government for five years trying to stop the violence to have things like this happen to me now. I have a family to support." Barrier complained to police.

was given credit on NBC News for taking the photo of beating victim Kirk Henry moments after his neck was broken by one of Rizzolo's managers after Henry disagreed with the amount of a bar tab. Henry's attempted murder triggered "Operation Crazy Horse" that resulted in the felony convictions of Rick Rizzolo and 15 of his goons who would like to get back into the obscenely profitable business as soon as possible -- something the Feds should take into consideration before they sell the bar to the highest bidder only. The mob has unlimited funds and can easily out bid any legitimate bidder, and probably already have.
The reason Rizzolo was there after the Las Vegas City Council banned him from stepping foot on the property is unclear. The shuttered bar and its real estate is owned by the United States government and no member of Rizzolo's family has business being there. However, for the past several months Barrier has photographed over a dozen occasions when Bart or his son Ralph have been on the property, even entering the building after it was seized.

That may be the reason for what appeared to be an attempted vehicular homicide.  Barrier has just under two years left on his 35 year lease, and he vows to continue photographing known mobsters or politicians entering or exiting the topless bar before and after it re-opens. He also pledges to continue taking pictures each time the police or paramedics respond as he has regularly done for the past ten years after reports of robberies, druggings, or beatings of bar patrons.

According to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department statistics, the Crazy Horse received 165 police calls in 1999, 239 in 2000, and 333 police calls in 2001 including 9 assaults and 6 robberies involving bar employees over a two-year-period. I do not have the statistics for the period from 2001 until the bar's closure in 2007, but sources say numerous responses occurred. No employee of the Crazy Horse Too has ever been arrested by local police after an assault or battery complaint was filed, and the local district attorney has turned down all such cases filed with his office..

"If the new owners are legitimate, they won't have to be concerned with me," stated Barrier who was named Las Vegas Most Colorful Character in 2005. "If they aren't legitimate, I'll see them on the six o'clock news."

Barrier's attorneys say they'll file a Restraining Order against Bart Rizzolo on Monday, November 19.
( photos of Rizzolo and Barrier by Mike Christ)

But the gutsy ex-pro wrestler with his Nikon, a
nd a cell phone programed to auto dial every law enforcement agency and news room in town on a moment's notice, may be the least of Rizzolo's concerns. On Friday, November 16, Federal Prosecutors filed a foreboding MOTION with Judge Philip Pro, the presiding judge in the Crazy Horse Too case.

On September 26, 2007, Security Pacific Bank of California flied a MOTION with the court seeking a $5 million dollar lien on the Crazy Horse property. In their MOTION they claimed that Rizzolo did not inform them in his loan application that he may be about to be indicted and his property could be subject to forfeiture. Therefore, because they feel they may have been defrauded, the bank wants to secure their $5 million dollar piece of the pie when the property sells.

Following the filing of the bank's MOTION, the Federal government evidently smelled a rat and filed the following MOTION FOR DISCOVERY. They want to know just how much the bank knew about their loan applicant before forking over the $5 million?  In the interest of clarity, I've taken the liberty of cutting and pasting excerpts of the most pertinent parts of the government's 13 page MOTION below.

I believe that the bank knew much more than they're revealing. I personally know the bank's claim of being an "innocent party" is meritless.
More on this later,

Here's the Government's response to the bank's request for a lien. It was filed late Friday, November 16, 2007. Notice that the MOTION states that FBI Special Agent Mace could not locate the $5 million. Could it be that Rizzolo had an insider at Security Pacific who asked the loan committee to skip their regular due diligence, and no one at the bank wants that person to be identified at this late date?

On October 30, 2005, four days before Rizzolo received and cashed the $5 million dollar check, I sent the following letter to Fred Jensen at Security Pacific Bank in Los Angeles via email, fax, and snail mail to try to warn him.

Nonetheless, the loan was granted and my prediction came true. Rizzolo skipped with the proceeds and left his friends at the bank holding the bag.

Date: 10/30/2005

On October 27, several Crazy Horse Too "managers" approached the owner of Allstate Auto requesting he sign the enclosed TENANT ESTOPPLE CERTIFICATE. Based on a pending HARASSMENT lawsuit against the Crazy Horse in which Allstate is the PLAINTIFF, Buffalo Jim Barrier, Allstate's owner wisely refused to sign. 
Barrier's lawsuit against his landlord: Case 00-424456-C, is pending in the court of Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, but has been postponed pending indictments in a separate federal racketeering and tax evasion case against Rick Rizzolo, and several of Rizzolo's associates. Rizzolo is the purported owner of the blood soaked Crazy Horse Too strip bar and Allstate's next door neighbor.
In paragraph 10 of the ESTOPPLE*, Security Pacific Bank** of Los Angeles asks Barrier to agree there are no pending "claims" against RicRiz LLC. In paragraph 14, it states: "Tenant acknowledges that the lease has been or will be assigned to the Lender (Security Pacific Bank) in connection with the Lender's extension of credit to the Landlord or to a party purchasing the property from the Landlord." Then, in paragraph 14, it states: "Tenant acknowledges that the Lender will be relying on this Certificate in extending credit to the Landlord or to a party purchasing the property from the Landlord."

Rizzolo is obviously trying to distance himself from his financial holdings based on this document and his recent divorce. Federal forfeiture laws could jeopardize Rizzolo's fortune, along with possible damages that can be levied against him in the Kirk Henry case. This latest move substantiates this theory. However, because these legal actions are being taken after the fact of Henry's beating, and the federal RICO investigation, Rizzolo's legal actions may be reversed, a fact Security Pacific Bank should be made aware of.

Steve Miller

*Estoppel is a bar which precludes a person from denying or asserting anything to the contrary of that which has, in contemplation of law, been established as the truth, either by the acts of judicial or legislative officers, or by his own deed, acts, or representations, either express or implied." 28 Am Jur 2d Estoppel and Waiver § 1
** In the late 1980's, Former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones was a stockholder in, and Director of Security Pacific Bank. Jones, as mayor, was accused of doing favors for Rizzolo.

In addition to my letter, on October 27, attorneys for Allstate Auto contacted the bank and also told them about Rizzolo's troubles. They wanted the bank to know why their client would not sign the ESTOPPLE. So the bank knew in advance of their risk and should direct their efforts toward the Rizzolos instead of trying to obtain a lien on a property now owned by the citizens of the United States.

This all may have led up to the April 3, 2007 shredding of tons of documents stored in a warehouse behind the Crazy Horse Too. According to Buffalo Jim Barrier who photographed the event, it took two large shredding machines and trucks to do the job over a four hour period. Barrier called the FBI to inform them of the odd activity. By shredding, Rizzolo may have been able to stay one step ahead of the Department of Justice, or the D.O.J. may have copied what was shredded long before the shredding, making his effort moot.

It will up to Judge Pro to soon decide whether Security Pacific Bank has a claim on the Crazy Horse property, or was so stupid that -- after being warned -- they still gave an about-to-be-indicted criminal $5 million dollars!

And at the same time, Lisa Rizzolo was busy placing mortgages on her three houses. Again, where did that money go?

In other words, why didn't the Federal Government do as they did in the Gold Club case in Atlanta, just tear the place down and end the crimes once and for all? The money to pay the Rizzolo's debts was easily at hand, and this could have avoided what may someday be a repeat of the problems that inspired "Operation Crazy Horse" in the first place.

Because of the government's extraordinary effort to sell the place at top dollar, the question will linger for years as to why the court didn't go after the Rizzolo's illegally transferred assets instead of trying so hard to raise just enough to cover the couple's debts?

Could it be because the Rizzolos hired as their asset protection lawyer and corporate resident agent the brother of the U.S. Federal Judge who dealt suspiciously light sentences to the 16 Crazy Horse defendants, and the Department of Justice may not want to embarrass such a highly esteemed Federal jurist for having such a blatant conflict of interest?

And who just bought the Crazy Horse Too? Could he be a "Mr. Clean Face" with a straw corporation consisting of unknown investors in LLC's willing to kill time until the heat is off and Buffalo Jim Barrier's lease expires in 2009 (or until he's run over)? Then sneak the mob back in to resume extorting, robbing, and beating patrons in order to make more profit than any other topless bar in the U.S. has ever dreamed of making. In a town like Vegas, that's not far fetched.

Time can blur bad memories, and history often repeats itself in fast moving cities like Atlanta and Las Vegas. That's why the Gold Club was torn down, and the Crazy Horse deserves to meet the same fate before there are more Kirk Henrys!

Why did the story of the Crazy Horse sale break exclusively on a local Spanish language TV newscast?

In late October 2007, confidential sources describe several meetings arranged by one of the Crazy Horse bidders that reportedly included Rick Rizzolo's 21 year old son Dominic and two local Mexican men alleged to be major drug dealers. According to sources, "The Mortgage Broker" owned by Michael Kinsis from Orange County where the Rizzolos own a 3,700 square foot beach house, hosted the meetings to try to attract hard money lenders. At the meetings sources report that the two Mexican men showcased young Dominic to the prospective lenders. The youngest Rizzolo reportedly told lenders that his family turned profits of up to $45 million per year. However sources say he neglected to describe the violent way the profits were derived which resulted in his father and 16 Crazy Horse employees being convicted of felonies including racketeering.

Though no Crazy Horse defendant was charged with drug trafficking, the topless bar was long suspected of being a drug supermarket.

On October 26, Buffalo Jim Barrier
described Kinisis and several men coming into his shop calling him "Buffalo Bill." Then according to Barrier, a man identifying himself as Michael Kinsis said, "I don't understand why they just didn't have you killed?" "It would be easy to do, you know."
Barrier also described an older man in the group "glaring" at him in a "menacing way" during the meeting witnessed by several of Barrier's employees and a reporter from a local newspaper.

Then on Tuesday, October 30 at 3 PM, Bart Rizzolo drove up to Barrier's garage in his Land Rover and according to witnesses yelled "Jimmy, Jimmy."  When one of Barrier's mechanics asked him what he wanted, Rizzolo reportedly said, "I want to talk to Jimmy. Tell him to come outside."
When informed of the request, Barrier refused to go outside but asked his employee to tell Rizzolo to come into the shop if he wanted to talk. Rizzolo drove away.
Because of the chance Rizzolo's profitable methods may again be used, it's suspected that anyone willing to pay $30 million must have a plan that no legitimate topless bar owner would dare carry out.

Like I said,
the mob has no intention of giving up their gold mine under any circumstances, and they know how to extract profits out of our tourists -- they beat it out of them while paid off politicians, several judges, the DA, and a few crooked cops turn the other way.

If the court determines that the bank's due diligence in granting the loan was something out of a Laurel and Hardy movie, Judge Pro may order that their lien not be granted. If so, the bank may decide to do what the Federal Government should have done long ago -- go after the assets Rick and Lisa Rizzolo illegally hid to avoid paying their debts.

That said, the $30 million expected in the Crazy Horse purchase should more than cover the Rizzolo's obligations and give them around a $5 million dollar profit to boot! But with a bank hot on their heals to collect money that should never have been loaned in the first place, the lawyers may end up the only ones profitting.

And then there's that nasty $1 million dollar lien Buffalo Jim Barrier has on the Crazy Horse in case he wins his years old harassment lawsuit. Based on past experience, Rizzolo, after he's released from prison on April 4, 2008, will gladly spend twice that amount to fight his nemesis in court because he doesn't want to look like he's been "dissed" to his pals in Newport Beach.

All of the above along with the way the sale was announced in a foreign language may sadly indicate that the U.S. Government was in a rush to close this case and may have been duped into selling the Crazy Horse back to the mob. It may also be the reason Buffalo Jim Barrier was almost run over last Friday.

Copyright © Steve Miller

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