tells the City Council he didn't know his general manager,
assistant general manager, and bookkeeper's last names are "Rizzolo"
...I go down a list and I don't see the last name, being that it's very
difficult to find out whose related and whose not."
- Mike Signorelli
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
November 6, 2006
In an effort to rid the violence-plagued Crazy Horse Too of the
Rizzolo family influence, the Las Vegas City Council on October 4 granted
restaurant owner Michael Signorelli a ninety day temporary liquor license.
After four years of undercover investigations resulting in the
conviction of 17 bar employees and its' owner, the bar that City Attorney Brad
Jerbic described as a "public
nuisance," and the U.S. Department of justice called a "threat
to the community" was re-licensed against the wishes of FBI officials.
To make this possible, Signorelli purportedly agreed to pay $14,000 per day
"rent" to convicted felon Rick Rizzolo to
have the option of purchasing the dilapidated topless bar for $45 million -- a
purchase price far above that of much newer venues in Las Vegas. Rizzolo is a
close friend and former client of Mayor Oscar Goodman.
The Council was told that letting the bar re-open was the only way
Rizzolo could pay $17 million dollars to clear his debts to the IRS
and a beating victim.
The Council was fully aware but did not question Signorelli about
his two bankruptcies in a fifteen year period, and a 1998 lawsuit by
his employees for allegedly "looting" their pay checks at a Mesquite
casino he opened, then closed one year later.
Within hours of the Crazy Horse Too re-opening, reports that the family of
Rick Rizzolo, the convicted felon who was barred by the Federal Court from ever
again stepping foot on his own property, were back in the topless bar holding
On Oct. 4, the Council stipulated that Rizzolo family members could only be
on the property for another seven days to wrap up their duties and train
replacements. However, on the eighth day, Oct. 12, family members were
photographed by next door neighbor Buffalo Jim Barrier still coming and going
from the club.
A source in the club told INSIDE VEGAS that Dominic Rizzolo, Rick's 22 year
old son, had become the new general manager with Rick's brother Ralph assisting
him. Ralph was arrested in February for trafficking in controlled
substance. I also learned that Rick's sister Annette Rizzolo, the bookkeeper who
oversaw years of skimming, was still keeping the club's books, while
Signorelli was often seen sleeping in Rick Rizzolo's former office.
I informed members of the City Council of this situation. However, I
excluded Mayor Oscar Goodman after I forced him to abstain because he was once
Rizzolo's criminal defense attorney, and his law partner David Chesnoff
currently represents Crazy Horse employees convicted of tax evasion and
Goodman had previously insisted on presiding over the hearings after
publicly stating the Crazy Horse had done little wrong, and he would vote to
allow the Rizzolos to continue operating it. But after I filed a complaint
with the State Ethics Commission, he groveled and has since reluctantly
abstained leaving his Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese in charge.
On Thursday, Nov. 2, LV Review-Journal City Hall reporter David
McGrath Schwartz wrote an article entitled "Strip club
operator accepts hiring ban. Council blocks hiring anyone with Rizzolo
In the article, McGrath reports: "The City Council agreed to issue a new
liquor license for Signorelli last month. He is leasing the building for
$400,000 a month, with one of the conditions that no one who pleaded guilty to
federal crimes be involved in the business. The license is subject to a
three-month review. Council members pointed to
members of the public who reported that Rizzolos continued to work there. Former
councilman and relentless Crazy Horse Too foe Steve Miller has sent numerous
e-mails and messages to the City Council alleging that the Rizzolos continued to
operate the club. In one, dated Oct. 20, he
wrote, 'Rick Rizzolo's 22-year-old son Dominic is now running the CH2 (Crazy
Horse Too) with Rick's brother Ralph as the number two guy.'
McGrath's article was in response to the Council learning of my
findings, and holding an emergency hearing.
However, Signorelli didn't see it that way.
At the hearing last Wednesday, in a flurry of excuses and
denials, Signorelli told the Council it was his idea to come back
before them, and that he didn't know Rizzolo's family still worked for him. He
also amazingly said that Jim DiFiore, the City's Director of Business Activity,
was showing him how to correctly operate his topless bar.
After Councilman Steve Ross told Signorelli he was "shocked" to see him
"again in such a short amount of time," Signorelli made these
SIGNORELLI: "Please respond by and from please Mr.
DiFiore or Mr. Jerbic or anyone..."
(Signorelli looks over toward Jim
DiFiore. DiFiore remains seated).
SIGNORELLI: "I'm not back here because I
did something that I didn't live up to. When I go into a facility like
this and I go down a list and I don't see the last name, being that
it's very difficult to find out whose related and whose
not (laugh). Very candidly, I sit there hours and hours and try to find out
whose on first base and whose on second, so actually I saw, I saw to call
the city, and Mr. DiFiore will know himself (looking and gesturing toward DiFiore), I
contacted him myself and said I may need some help. So I actually called and
asked for what's happening today in a semi way myself, just so you know that. So
it's not a problem I committed probably. But else, (looking at DiFiore) if I'm incorrect please tell
me (gestures toward DiFiore). So its
not for that reason, so you know. I was trying to ask for help, so they
showed me how to do it correctly."
FULL VIDEO: http://lasvegas.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=29
Slide timer bar to 9 minutes into video to see and
hear Signorelli's amazing statement.
Mike Signorelli and Jim DiFiore
(AmericanMafia.com photo by Mike Christ)
As a former council member, it's more than obvious to me that DiFiore is
acting as an agent of Rizzolo/Goodman and their La Cosa Nostra friends.
It's also obvious to me that Signorelli is not competent to oversee the
operation of the Crazy Horse, and was merely placed there as a pawn or straw man
to allow the criminal activity to continue under the direction of Rizzolo
-- possibly without Signorelli's full knowledge.
No competent business person would agree to pay $14,000 per day
"rent" to a convicted felon for a shut down bar in the seediest part of
town. Furthermore, reliable sources say the bar is only doing 30% of its
In the bloody old days, the Crazy Horse charged women $70 per shift to
dance while many unscrupulous dancers extorted customers by inflating
their credit card tabs. The club once had over 200 independent
contractor strippers -- many who paid bouncers to threaten or
beat up customers who balked at paying thousands of dollars in bogus
charges for lap dances and liquor. Many customers complained that they were
drugged before being forced to sign and affix their thumb print to credit card
After Rizzolo's conviction, these facts were revealed in national media
reports. Hence, the drastic drop in business.
That would mean that during the club's hey day, $14,000 per day
in admissions were paid by the dancers alone, and this did not include the
credit card rip offs and legitimate liquor sales that compounded Rizzolo's
profits. His staff was also accused of prostitution and drug sales, though no
one has been indicted -- yet.
Many question why Signorelli was so willing to pay $400,000 per month
"rent" for a place with such a deplorable reputation? In order to do
so, some believe he would have to continue the scams to generate that much
At his original licence hearing on Oct. 4, Signorelli could only guess at
what the club made, and no member of the Council pressed him on that point. He
didn't seem to have a clue then, and apparently still doesn't when it comes to
the club's finances -- something that should have red flagged the Council
members during the last two public hearings. But in the back room, some Council
members are now beginning to question whether he could be serving --
inadvertently -- as a front man for the Mob?
Today it's reported that only 40 dancers remain at the Crazy Horse,
and they're the ones who could not find employment elsewhere either because they
were not pretty, or had problems with the law that did not faze Rizzolo in past
So where is Signorelli getting the $14,000 per day? His last two businesses
went bankrupt. What happens if he goes into the rears? Does he forfeit to the
Mob his successful Golden Steer Steak House? Does he even know what he
possibly got into and the dangers he may face if he doesn't perform?
On January 3, there will be an item on the Council agenda to extend or
make permanent Signorelli's liquor license. In the meantime, Rick Rizzolo will
be sentenced on Nov. 16 and could get up to five years in Federal prison.
While he was described as being very intoxicated last Monday at Piero's,
Rick reportedly told several witnesses that he will give a qualified
candidate $300,000 cash to challenge Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese at the next
Reese was the man who led the charge on Oct. 4 to shut down the Crazy Horse
and fine Rizzolo $2 million dollars, and Rick reportedly hates him for his
Reese acquiesced six weeks later and let Signorelli re-open the bar, but
many believe he may once again show his mettle when the temporary license comes
up for renewal or to be made permanent, especially now that Rizzolo has
reportedly put a bounty on his political future.
On Wednesday, January 3, Signorelli will be back for his 90 day
review with Jim DiFiore cheering him on. But at last Wednesday's hearing,
Councilman Steve Ross asked the City Attorney what happens after January
"Mr. Jerbic. Am I to understand that if within ninety days no Council
member brings this up again, that their license just expires by law? Is that
Jerbic answered affirmatively thus putting the responsibility for placing
the item on the April 5 agenda solely in the hands of one of the elected Council
Now, after Ross' question was clearly answered, it will be interesting to
see if any Council persons would expose themselves to such scrutiny April 5, or
do nothing -- let the temporary license naturally expire -- and place the Crazy
Horse business and property in the hands of a Federal receiver as they
should have done by denying Signorelli's original application.
It's still possible that Jim DiFiore might defy Jerbic and personally place
the item on the agenda, but that would contradict what Councilman Ross was told
about it being the responsibility of an elected official -- it could also
be illegal -- and might trigger further action by the Feds who are looking at
City Hall through a microscope.
So if no one steps forward to help Signorelli/Rizzolo on April 5,
then in June, according to U.S. Federal Court Chief Judge Philip Pro, a
receiver will be placed in charge of the business and property, and it will be
liquidated to pay back taxes, IRS fines, and beating victim Kirk Henry and his
LV attorneys who have yet to receive a dime and are getting restless.
It's suspected that Henry's politically influential attorneys pressured
several Council members which may have inspired the temporary license in the
first place. They want their legal fees ASAP, and attaching Rizzolo and his
ex-wife's personal assets takes time.
Also, during his alleged binge last Monday, witnesses report that Rizzolo
bragged about losing over $6 million dollars this year gambling on the
Strip. Rick Rizzolo has never offered or been asked to tap his
gambling budget to pay for Kirk Henry's pain and suffering, or his fines
and tax obligations.
Why? This is Las Vegas after all, and few would dare discourage a "Whale"
from enriching casinos that through generous local and national campaign
contributions make it possible for us to enjoy our quality of local