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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:

The calm before the storm

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
November 26, 2007

The Thanksgiving holiday is a wonderful time to try to slip one over on us.
While we're busy enjoying time with our families and close friends, decorating the house, and shopping for gifts, those with sinister plans can use the season to camouflage a dirty scheme.
Having seen this happen in the past, I decided to re-visit a very disturbing letter from the law firm that represents imprisoned racketeer Rick Rizzolo.
Last month, when I first shared the following CONFIDENTIAL letter with my readers, I simply believed that its most curious aspect was the person to whom it was addressed: Shawn Chester of the Wynn Hotel. However I never thought Steve Wynn would take such a missive seriously, so I looked further into the letter. I found several more intriguing aspects I wish to discuss.
At the top of the letter, criminal defense attorney Mark Hafer refers to himself as "representing the sellers of the Crazy Horse Too." 
Since August 30, 2007 when the property was seized by the United States of America, the shuttered Crazy Horse Too topless bar has been owned by the citizens of this great country. I don't remember the United States ever hiring a mob lawyer to sell the place so it could re-open and continue racketeering. So if Mr. Hafer is accurately describing his authority, our country is in big trouble!
Then Hafer states he wrote the letter at the request of a prospective buyer who he claims offered $34.2 million for the property. The government appraised the property at only $5.4 million, so who would make such a ridiculous bid?
U.S. Federal Court Judge Philip Pro on January 23, 2007 clearly ordered that the property cannot be sold to "a close relative or ongoing business partner of Rizzolo’s, is a felon, or has business dealings with organized crime members or groups."
Hafer's letter makes a connection between his client Rick Rizzolo and Michael Kinsis of The Mortgage Broker, Inc. Rizzolo is a convicted "felon" and is associated with "organized crime members or groups," so why is Hafer in his letter tying his imprisoned client to Kinsis knowing the buyer must be squeaky clean?
This is the same Michael Kinsis who, according to Buffalo Jim Barrier, on Friday October 26 led a group of men into Barrier's auto shop next to the Crazy Horse and identified themselves as the new owners of the property.
According to Barrier, Kinsis said they were from Orange County, California and asked the garage owner if he knew Bart Rizzolo? Bart is the father of Rick Rizzolo. The Rizzolo family is from Anaheim, a city located in Orange County.
Rick Rizzolo owns a 3,700 square foot Newport Beach house also located in Orange County.
Barrier said that one of his visitors called him "Buffalo Bill," and told him, "I don't understand why they just didn't have you killed?" "It would be easy to do, you know." 

The man then asked questions about Barrier's 35 year lease that expires in 2009.

Barrier 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.
If what Hafer writes is true, the citizens of the United States have just been completely removed from the equation. And with folks like Mayor Oscar Goodman, Councilman Steve Wolfson, and Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian anxiously standing by to issue a liquor license to anyone the Feds "approve," the bloody saga of the Crazy Horse Too may be far from over.
In late October 2007, confidential sources describe meetings arranged by Kinsis that reportedly included Rick Rizzolo's 21 year old son Dominic. Kinsis hosted the meetings to try to attract hard money lenders. At the meetings sources report that Kinsis showcased Dominic to the prospective lenders and that the younger Rizzolo bragged his family made $45 million per year in profits (Hello IRS!). Sources report that Dominic neglected to describe the violent methods used to derive the profits.

On Friday, November 16, Barrier and one of his customers filed a police report stating Bart Rizzolo intentionally tried to run them over in the parking lot of his garage. Barrier's attorneys also filed a motion for a restraining order against the elder Rizzolo. That motion is expected to be signed by a judge this week.

Then Hafer writes that the property is listed with C.B. Richard Ellis Real Estate (CBRE), and on behalf of the seller (Rizzolo?), he has the "right to disapprove a buyer procured by this broker."

CBRE has the exclusive contract to sell the trouble plagued property, and with help from LV Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, CBRE now has an additional six months to do so. Had the councilwoman not altered the zoning law as a favor to a Newport Beach friend of her husband, the bar would have permanently lost its liquor license on Dec. 31, and its chances of ever reopening would be nil.
In his letter, Hafer appeared to be trying to get Wynn to bid around CBRE thereby cutting the broker out of the deal. I don't believe that was the government's intention when they contracted with CBRE, nor would CBRE have engaged in such a contract knowing Rizzolo's lawyers could pull an end run.
In the interest of making a higher commission, CBRE has reportedly ignored several legitimate bids between $15 and $20 million telling the bidders they are "not qualified" no matter how good their financial statement.
In his letter Hafer wrote, "the judge approved The Mortgage Broker, Inc. as a buyer."
After what I've learned about this "buyer," I'm very disturbed that the Department of Justice and Judge Pro found anything about them to "approve!"

Thanks to Mark Hafer, we now know that Rick Rizzolo and  The Mortgage Broker, Inc. are in cahoots. That being the case, who else could get "approved" by the D.O.J. and the court?

I'm just glad John Gotti isn't around to bid on this joint!

The outrageously high offers CBRE consider legitimate may indicate that organized crime associates will pay any amount to resume the modus operandi used by the Rizzolos. Otherwise the debt service would be prohibitive for any legitimate operator not willing to beat money out of bar patrons.
This makes me feel that CBRE is not properly scrutinizing bidders and would sell the bar to anyone if the price was high enough to generate their hoped for $1.5 million dollar commission (5% of $30 million).    

Mr. Hafer indicates he has the "right" to request the court disapprove a buyer who does not cover Rizzolo's "liens, fines, taxes, forfeitures, and encumbrances."  If his client is truly the "seller" instead of the citizens of the U.S.A. being the seller, it means that convicted felons sitting in prison cells have a new set of "rights!"
On Monday, November 26, at 9 AM, United States Federal Court Judge Philip Pro will assemble the attorneys of all interested parties in his courtroom in the Lloyd George Federal Court House to receive a status report on the sale.
However, the court is ignoring the fact that the Rizzolo's illegally transferred more than enough of their ill begotten assets to pay all their court ordered debts the week before Rick was indicted. And that the brother of Federal Court Judge Kent Dawson arranged the transfer.

Because assets transferred to defraud the government can be seized, it puzzles me why the government is so intent on selling the property for five times its appraised value? And why are they so intent upon seeing the place re-opened in time for New Year's Eve? Las Vegas already has enough topless bars to fill the need.

But more intriguing is the court's lack of interest in seizing the Rizzolo's hidden assets. Then there's the choice of attorney Rizzolo used to protect his assets, John Dawson, brother of U.S. Federal Court Judge Kent Dawson.  Judge Dawson coincidentally presided over the trials of 16 Rizzolo employees. Judge Dawson also neglected to disclose during the trials that his brother was Rizzolo's asset protection lawyer and resident agent of "The Power Company," Rizzolo's corporation. At the end, Judge Dawson was accused of letting defendants off with slaps on the wrist even after a New York Crime Commissioner testified about ties to organized crime.

                        CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE
Judge Dawson's conflict of interest might be the reason nothing is being said in Judge Pro's court about seizing the Rizzolo's personal assets to pay the court ordered debts -- assets that are not able to be found at this time. So the discussion is possibly off limits because it could cause great embarrassment to a fellow Federal Court Judge, and to the powerful U.S. Senator who appointed him.
Whoever advised Rizzolo to hire a Federal Court Judge's brother to hide his personal assets is an absolute genius!

(John Dawson: Please call O.J. Simpson ASAP!)
What I've just disclosed might be the reason the court and Department of Justice are seriously considering those suspect high-ball offers -- offers that will more than cover Rizzolo's personal obligations, hence shielding those who helped him hide his assets.
In a perfect world, the judge will be informed on Monday that several suspiciously high offers were rejected because the bidders were unable to prove they had no ties to members of organized crime. He will also be informed that the lower offers are now being considered because they are closer to fair market value and are from verifiable sources -- no matter the protests from CBRE.
If and when the Crazy Horse is sold, Buffalo Jim Barrier will let INSIDE VEGAS readers know if Bart Rizzolo, Dominic Rizzolo, Annette Rizzolo, Ralph Rizzolo, Vinny Faraci, Al Rapuano, Joey Cusumano, Fred Doumani or Rocco Lombardo re-enter the property. He may even provide photos as he's done in the past.
I fully believe that the presence of any of the above persons will indicate that it's back to business as usual at the Crazy Horse Too.

During the Holidays when we all have more important things on our minds -- a stealth deal could be in the works to avoid embarrassing some very powerful government officials.

But hopefully, Judge Pro will learn on Monday that the U.S. Government is doing their due diligence, and my fears will be for naught.

John Walsh and Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona

Bereaved father John Walsh founded the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the Adam Walsh Foundation after his young son was abducted from a Florida store in 1981 and later found slain.
Ever since then, he's devoted his life to putting criminals behind bars.
Today, Walsh is the host of "Take Charge! Smart Choices for your Cox Digital Home." This excellent program is designed to help us create safe boundaries around our children's mass media experience.
Co-hosting the program is Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona.
I have complete respect for John Walsh, but I saw it coming. Walsh was blind sided when his co-host was recently indicted for associating with mob members including Rizzolo, but that information was readily available in the Orange County Weekly, Laguna Journal, and Orange County Register for more than two years if someone with the Walsh organization would've just taken a few minutes to look.
     Orange County Weekly Photo

According to last week's Los Angeles Times, Carona was also barred from accessing classified information from an international law enforcement network that gathers and shares information about terrorism and organized crime because he was suspected of sharing this information with Rizzolo pictured below in the Newport Beach Ritz Restaurant with his hand almost touching Carona's badge.

After his indictment, Carona voluntarily stepped down as Sheriff of California's second largest police department, and was removed from the Board of Directors of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
It would now be prudent for Cox Cable to stop playing interviews with this person, and let John Walsh continue his wonderful work without being tarnished by such an unfortunate and inadvertent association.

Copyright © Steve Miller

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