Chicago "buyer" visits
"He knew where every light switch was located."
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
December 17, 2007
It's easy to use this festive season to
try to put one over on us. Making
clandestine moves during Christmas is brilliant timing because law
enforcement and local reporters are not paying much attention.
FOR SALE: Horseshoe
- $32 Million, Crazy Horse - $28 Million!
"This is where Ricky kept his sports memorabilia." "This is where
Ricky's prized Al Capone barber chair sat." This is how the steam room
works." "It''ll take about six months to get the club working again,
and after that it'll make about twelve million the first year, then
it'll boom." "The first six months, we gotta get the cabbies and limo
drivers paid off to start bringing customers back again."
These reportedly were
the words of a man only
identified as "Spero from Chicago," who along with local hard
money lender Raymond F.
Williams and a female representative from
CB Richard Ellis Realty were observed entering the seized Crazy Horse
Too at 1:45 PM
on Friday December 14, 2007.
The two men on the left were photographed waiting for
over an hour in the
parking lot for an audience with Spero. When he arrived they
accompanied him into the
building. According to my source, the two men only identified as
Marshall and Jessie, pitched Spero for positions in management after
he''s approved to buy the place. Spero reportedly
turned them down saying he already has managers and bartenders standing
by. The men left and Spero continued giving his
"He knew where every
light switch was located. Every nook and cranny.
He talked as
if he once ran the place. It sounded like the same old
crew is coming back in," reported the INSIDE VEGAS source.
Spero has reportedly offered $28 million for the shuttered topless
bar. He reportedly secured a $24 million dollar "non-recourse loan"
from an unknown source, and is trying to raise the difference of
$4 million from local lenders. A non-recourse loan is secured
by only the equity in the property and is not guaranteed by the
borrower. If such a loan was granted, it was miracle since the Crazy
Horse land and buildings were just appraised by the government for only
This should be the first red flag to the Feds.
The next red flag is that Spero reportedly knew the layout and
operation of the Crazy
Too "like the back of his hand," according to my source.
U.S. Federal Court Judge Philip M. Pro ruled the Crazy Horse
cannot be sold to "a close relative or ongoing business partner of
(Rick) Rizzolo’s, is a felon, or has business dealings with organized
members or groups."
CB Richard Ellis Realty couldn't care less who they sell it to as long
as they get their 5% commission, so they can't be counted on as a first
line of defense. Neither can the District Attorney, police, or city
council.. More on that later. This mess is now solely in the hands of
the Federal Court Judge assigned to the case.
Vegas transplant John J.
served on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Crime
Commission. According to Flood, a Chicago man by the name of
Spero "Gus the Greek" Palladinos was involved in mid west adult
businesses. "The mob is never far away from the sex business, even in
these moralistic, and repressive times," according to Flood.
It has not been verified if Palladinos is the same man who is
purportedly buying the Crazy Horse Too, but Rick Rizzolo formerly owned
and managed a Chicago strip club also known as the Crazy Horse Too. He
was paid as much as $240,000 per year to manage the club according to
court records, so therein may lie a connection.
The most alarming part is that the background of the buyer will
a mystery until the club reopens if Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel
Hollingsworth has his way.
public should not be allowed to know the
proposed offers, the proprietary information, etc., since Rizzolo will
select one to see it will complete the sale. If it fails, Rizzolo will
select the next one." - Assistant
U.S. Attorney Daniel Hollingsworth, August 13, 2007
Mr. Hollingsworth's statement elicited a strong response from a local
attorney. More on this later.
Rizzolo and his associates had to beat money out of bar patrons to
make the profits they did, and any new buyer willing to pay five or six
times the property's appraised value will have to do the same to cover
his debt service.
For years, local
authorities allowed murders and beatings to happen on this property
causing it to eventually be seized by the Government. Just because it's
Christmas, they should not be letting down their guard now.
Despite Hollingsworth's words,
the public has every right to
know -- in advance -- who will be the next operator, and who
would pay so much for something so tainted?
Attorney Daniel Hollingsworth said the name of the potential buyer will
be kept under wraps until the deal is finalized. Hollingsworth said the
buyers have already been harassed and any further problems
could cause the sale to fall apart. He didn't elaborate on the nature
of the harassment.
Hollingsworth is misusing the word to describe these columns and my
daily E-Briefs that
are emailed, faxed, or hand delivered to every potential Crazy Horse
buyer and lender as a public service.
- Las Vegas Review-Journal, November 27, 2007
Speaking of "harassment," so far the
U.S. Attorney for Nevada
beating victim Kirk Henry to languish over six years without being
paid for injuries that left him a quadriplegic after he objected to an
inflated bar tab at the Crazy Horse. Meanwhile the U.S. Attorney for
Nevada also allowed Rick
Rizzolo to hide
assets with the help of a
prominent local attorney whose brother is a Federal Judge
involved with parts of this
reportedly removed from equation
I'm repeatedly asked why Rick Rizzolo is allowed to call the shots
the sale of his topless bar from a cell in the Los
Metropolitan Detention Center?
The answer finally came on
Friday November 30, when attorney
Steven A. Gibson filed a MOTION
TO CONTEST STANDING OF CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS TO PARTICIPATE IN ANCILLARY
According to the brilliantly written MOTION,
Rizzolo has no such right according to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and
U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Judge Pro is scheduled to rule on Gibson's MOTION, Monday January 14. Hopefully
he'll put an end to this charade at that time and expose those who
are aiding and abetting Rizzolo in his quest to keep his hidden fortune.
once-sealed MOTION stated: "Rizzolo
select one to see it will complete the sale. If it fails, Rizzolo will
select the next one."
Thankfully Judge Pro denied Hollingsworth's MOTION,
still seemed to set a dangerous
standard based on the Review-Jounal
news story that stated; "Hollingsworth
said the name of the potential buyer will
be kept under wraps until the deal is finalized."
Any legitimate buyer should not care that
his name is mentioned in these columns. Only a crook would be concerned
about seeing his name mentioned on AmericanMafia.com.
This is not a matter of national security. It's only about a titty bar.
The general public has the right to know every detail of the
transaction including what it's costing taxpayers to bring in a
government real estate expert from the Department of Justice in
Washington D.C. with the express mission to sell the place at top
It doesn't take a D.O.J. real estate
expert to understand that no entity other than
La Cosa Nostra would offer $28 million for a shut down topless bar with
a horrible reputation in
the seediest part of town. Furthermore, since Rick Rizzolo was ordered
off the property 16 months ago, the business has been shuttered twice
and all of the other clubs absorbed their business and dancers. A new
never get the bar back to its previous earnings unless he resorts to
the criminal ways that made the place obscenely profitable in the past.
The govenment should do what they did in
Gold Club case. Tear the place down and sell the land for a bus
station. But Gold Club owner Steve Kaplan didn't have Rizzolo's
connections in Washington, D.C.
One of the Crazy Horse's attorneys, Jay Brown who's name has surfaced
crime investigations, is the
business partner of United States Senator Harry Reid. Brown is also a
law partner of LV Mayor Oscar Goodman. All the right folks to have in
It's long past the time for Judge
Pro to lay down the law and lower
the U.S. Attorney's outrageous expectations of selling the saloon for
five times its worth to pay Rizzolo's debts and let him keep his hidden
fortune. The U.S. Attorney knows that if the club sells for market
value, between $15 and $18 million, many of Rizzolo's debts will go
unpaid, and the court will have to revisit his hasty divorce and go
after the assets he hid -- assets worth far in excess of his court
ordered debts -- assets that should by now have been seized to pay Kirk
Henry's medical expenses and the IRS.
The government owes a speedy resolution to the Henry family, but not at
the physical expense of future Kirk Henrys.
But my main concern is that for the
past several months, U.S.
Attorneys seemed more interested in
and Lisa Rizzolo's hidden personal assets than protecting the health
and welfare of the general public! Why?
recently questioned, several federal officials reportedly blamed Steve
problems in selling the club at a price high enough to cover Rizzolo's
I was also
informed that Mark Hafer, one of
Rizzolo's mob lawyers, told a source
that "Steve Miller is mopping the floor with me."
Another source said
"Judge Pro is tired of the bullshit, and the Feds
who were protecting Rizzolo are having second thoughts." I
certainly hope so.
I'm glad I pissing off the right people. We're just trying to save a
buyers realize they're
buying a business
that was closed down for killing and maiming its customers -- not a
parlor or shoe store. They should also understand that the public is
justified in being suspicious that the criminal activity will resume at
the end of 2009 after next door neighbor and ad-hoc INSIDE VEGAS
cameraman Buffalo Jim Barrier's lease expires and the place is no
longer under his watchful eye 24/7. Maybe that's what Spero meant when he
reportedly said "it'll make about twelve million the first year,
Therefore the Feds owe
it to the
citizens of Las Vegas to make sure the buyer will remain squeaky clean
if Barrier is forced to move his auto repair shop in 2009.
According to three experts in the strip club and real estate business,
the Crazy Horse -- if operating
within the law -- is worth approximately $15 - $18 million dollars
Several bidders have expressed interest with offers between $15 and $18
million mainly for the real estate. Operating the topless bar is their
They say that at under $18 million, an investor could cover his debt
service with the legal earnings of the club and the
rental of adjacent warehouse spaces to established businessmen
Barrier, and could afford to sit on the
property which has a high appreciation rate and wait for his profits
without having to bash heads to make money as did Rizzolo and others
who are suspected of being the high bidders.
It's believed that without a criminal enterprise operating on the
property, adjacent real estate values will sky rocket. But it's also
believed that with the re-opening of the Crazy Horse Too under
questionable ownership, the nearby land values will flatten.
Adjacent high rise condo developers have also indicated they would
rather see some other use take place on the property in order for them
to consider adding to their investments in the once forgotten
I wish somebody at the
U.S. Department of Justice or CB Richard Ellis Real Estate would
educate me on why a blood stained, broken down,
shuttered, converted warehouse on Industrial Road is worth almost
same as an open-for-business 26 story hotel/casino on Fremont
Street occupying a square block of valuable downtown land; with a roof
pool; six story parking garage; sky room steak house; and current
liquor and unlimited gaming licenses?
On June 28, 2007, the Las Vegas Review-Journal
reported that the Horseshoe sold for $32 million. Now Spero
reportedly wants to pay $28 million for a dump!
When asked why anyone
would pay so much for the Crazy Horse, one D.O.J. agent told a
"The mob left Vegas years ago. There are ample safeguards in place.
Metro along with (City Director of Business Activity) Jim DiFiore and
the City Council would never grant a new license to anyone
associated with organized crime."
Mayor can resume voting to help
former and current mob clients
the Las Vegas City Attorney agreed that the mayor had serious conflicts
of interest and advised him to abstain on votes benefiting the Crazy
Horse Too, the Nevada Commission on Ethics found nothing wrong with him
voting to help his friend Rick Rizzolo and other former and current
clients of his law firm.
Goodman in his response to my Request for Opinion stated that he relied
on Jim DiFiore, City Director of Business Activity, to find grounds to
bring the Crazy Horse before the council to prove why they deserved to
keep their privileged license after beatings and racketeering caused
the indictment of Rizzolo and 16 of his goons.
Mr. DiFiore (obediently) found no grounds to question the bar's
In 1990, then mob attorney Oscar Goodman got Rizzolo off with a gross
misdemeanor after beating Rick Sandlin to death with a baseball bat. At
the time Goodman was well known for charging his clients $500,000 to
take a case.
Goodman states in his response that he wasn't aware his law partner
David Chesnoff was representing Bonnono Crime Family member and Crazy
Horse manager Vinny Faraci at the time when the bar should have been
shut down by the council. I guess the mayor doesn't read the paper.
It was big
When I filed the Opinion Request in July 2007, I knew from past
performance that the politically charged Ethics Commission was probably
going to let Goodman off. But since I filed the Request, at least he
was forced to abstain for a while on votes to help Rizzolo.
Unfortunately, Goodman decided to bully his council from behind closed
doors to continue helping Rizzolo, et. al. He also extended his hand to
several skeptical council members who may need his help in the future
in trade for a small favor for a former client.
That's when once-skeptical
Councilman Steve Wolfson made a quick one-eighty and said Rizzolo's
twice-bankrupt straw man Mike Signorelli had an "unblemished
financial record," then voted to let him reopen the topless bar
just before Wolfson's wife District Court Judge Jackie Glass denied
Kirk Henry's attorneys the right to audit Rizzolo's hidden personal
Both Wolfson and Glass have
higher political goals and Oscar Goodman can be a valuable ally when it
comes to campaign fund raising.
That's also when obedient
Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian sponsored a law to extend
the time the Crazy Horse can retain its adult use zoning for an
additional six months, or until after Rizzolo is released from prison
on April 4, 2008. Had she not done so, the zoning would have
permanently expired on December 30 negating the need for today's INSIDE
Tarkanian's son Danny also has
high hopes of someday holding elective office, possibly succeeding his
mom on the city council. Having a friend in Goodman can sure help that
Mayor Goodman can resume presiding over the city council when the new
(old?) owner comes before them for a license to open the Crazy Horse,
even if one of Goodman's law partners represents the guy. Only in
I filed my ethics complaint, for seven years Goodman schemed to find
ways to help his former
clients at the Crazy Horse. He sponsored a law to allow
to strip; a law to allow the club to expand;
voted to let organized
crime associates hold
key employee status; tried to lower
Rizzolo's fine; harassed two of Rizzolo's competitors -- Treasures
Rick Rizzolo." "He goes to Piero's every Thanksgiving and feeds
hundreds of needy people. And he treats them with dignity."
During the years following the
Sept. 2001 attempted murder of Kirk Henry, additional beatings took
place at the hands of Crazy Horse Too staff. A number
of requests were filed with city officials to bring the Crazy
Horse up on a Show Cause Hearing. These requests came in both
written and oral form, often from the podium during citizen's
participation at the end of council meetings.
After personally writing an open letter to the mayor
requesting the city take immediate action before anyone else was
injured, he invited me to visit him in his city hall office. There I
received a very cold reception. His opening statement was "I'm not
Cusumano any favors," though I had not brought up Mr.
His reason for mentioning
Cusumano was never explained, though Cusumano is a former Goodman Law
Firm client and is listed in Nevada's Black Book. He has also
been long suspected of having hidden ownership in the Crazy Horse
After my visit, City of Las
Vegas Director of
Business Activity Jim DiFiore defiantly ignored all requests to bring
the club forward for license revocation, while the mayor consistently
told inquirers that it was DiFiore's responsibility to schedule such
pressure to schedule a Show Cause become so overwhelming that on April 26, 2005, Mayor
Goodman made a personal visit to my home to try to explain why the city
was not taking action.
In this AmericanMafia.com photo by Mike Christ, Goodman
is telling me he could not take action in the middle of a Federal
investigation -- admitting that he possessed such authority -- but
exercise it at that time.
I reminded him that he
personally sponsored a Show Cause hearing against Cheetah's, a Crazy
Horse competitor, right in the middle of a Federal investigation. I
also informed him that his refusal to take action could expose
additional tourists to the harm suffered by Kirk Henry and others.
He turned and left. The
I wrote the city's ethics law, so I felt compelled to take further
action and filed a Request for Opinion with the Nevada Commission on
Ethics. On Friday, December 14, 2007, they released their decision.
I was not surprised that they found no fault with the mayor's actions.
But before making their determination, the Commission's attorney
presented several strongly written statements for their consideration
-- statements Goodman would never want the public to see --
that the Ethics Commissioners found irrelevant.
This is just another example of Nevada's way of protecting their
crooked politicians... Congratulations Nevada Commission on
Note the statements regarding Goodman refusing to take
disciplinary action; being Rizzolo's resident agent; asking council
members to meet with Crazy Horse owners out of public view; and that he
realized he had a conflict only after my complaint was filed.
Also look at his reply saying he has no authority to bring the Crazy
Horse up on a Show Cause, and that city staff found no basis to do so.
This is a lie. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department statistics
indicated that 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.
When I served on the council, I personally scheduled five
Show Cause hearings without informing the Director of Business Activity
or City Attorney until after the City Clerk had scheduled my items.
Also, Lt. John Alamshaw of Metro's robbery detail stated he
made five requests for prosecution of Crazy Horse employees with the
DA's office that were ignored. (It was later discovered that District
Attorney David Roger took $50,000 from Rizzolo for his political
campaign, but purportedly gave it back after I wrote a story
about it.) Lt. Alamshaw's information and the police call statistics
were also presented to the mayor and DiFiore without response.
In the meantime, the
Crazy Horse was sued for the wrongful
death of long haul trucker Scott David Fau, and Rizzolo allegedly
paid beating victims Paul
Russo (left) and Eben
Kostbar (right) $300,000 each in exchange for them
signing agreements of confidentiality.
Many of these cases were well covered on local TV news and in the
papers with the exception of reporting Russo and Kostbar's
confidential settlements. But Goodman and DiFiore still turned their
backs in the face of heavy news coverage and an uproar from the public
for the city to shut the place down.
Goodman and DiFiore even refused to act
after Dateline NBC on Sunday August 1, 2004, aired
a program on the brutality at the Crazy Horse entitled "IT HAPPENED ONE
On August 12, 2004, at the mayor's weekly press conference, a reporter
asked Goodman if he watched the broadcast? He meekly replied: "I
did not see that."
Dozens of confidential cash settlements were paid to victims of
beatings by Crazy Horse bouncers after they refused to sign inflated
credit card tabs. Each victim had to hire an attorney to receive a
settlement ranging from $100,000 - $300,000. Each settlement required
the victim to sign a confidentiality agreement and not press charges or
talk to the media.
No Crazy Horse employee has ever been arrested for beating up a
The settlements received by Russo and Kostbar were meant to be
confidential, but it's hard to keep secrets in the Clark County Court
Regarding Goodman's excuse that the mayor does not have the
authority to bring a disciplinary action against a privileged license
holder, could you imagine what would happen if the mayor asked to have
a Show Cause item scheduled and a staff member refused to cooperate? So
it's obvious Goodman is being disingenuous in trying to pass the buck
to his subordinate. He was obviously protecting his former client
Rizzolo, and got caught.
"The mob left Vegas years
ago? There are ample safeguards in place?
Metro along with (City Director of Business Activity) Jim DiFiore and
the City Council would never grant a new license to anyone
associated with organized crime?"
Give me a break!
I hope I've made it clear why
I don't trust the city to be a "safeguard" to keep the mob from
re-gaining control of their criminal enterprise. It seems that
Rizzolo's influence pollutes every jurisdiction including Las Vegas
City Hall, the State Capitol in Carson City, the office of the U.S.
Attorney for Nevada, and the United States Department of Justice.
|Dec. 15, 2007
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
Panel clears mayor
Ethics allegation found
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman did not give the Crazy
Horse Too topless club special treatment and an ethics allegation
against him is without merit, according to a Nevada Commission on
"I didn't do anything wrong," Goodman said Friday. "I
assumed it would turn out that way."
The allegation was filed by former Las Vegas City
Councilman Steve Miller.
"Whether they felt it was a valid request for opinion or
not, it kept the mayor from helping his friends at the Crazy Horse,"
Miller said. "I'm glad I filed it. I'm glad the mayor kept his nose out
Miller's complaint said Goodman did not take
disciplinary action against the Crazy Horse Too from 2002 to 2006
because of his connections to the club through his old law practice. It
also noted that Goodman received a $40,000 campaign contribution from
the club's owner.
Goodman also was the resident agent in the 1980s for the
corporation that owns the club.
FULL STORY: http://www.lvrj.com/news/12530571.html
I'm very concerned that Goodman
and Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Hollingsworth will welcome anyone
who agrees to help Rizzolo and save him from seizure of his hidden
personal assets in the event the Crazy Horse sells for less that his
$28 million in court ordered debts.
Only persons deeply indebted
to Mr. Rizzolo -- or in fear for their lives -- would act in such a
way thereby further exposing the public to the brutal method of doing
business that's necessary to make enough money to pay such a high
price for a shut down topless bar.
MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR that hopefully will not include a
continuation of this awful story.
Copyright © Steve Miller