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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:

Judge issues RESTRAINING
ORDER against Bart Rizzolo

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
December 3, 2007

LAS VEGAS - On November 26, a RESTRAINING ORDER was issued prohibiting former topless bar owner Bart Rizzolo from stalking or harassing garage owner Buffalo Jim Barrier.
The ORDER prohibits the 77 year old father of incarcerated racketeer Rick Rizzolo from coming within 100 ft. of Barrier for at least 30 days. 
According to the ORDER issued by Judge Deborah J. Lippis, "sufficient representations have been made that you, the Adverse Party, have committed and/or are committing and/or remain a threat to commit the offense(s) of stalking, aggravated stalking, or harassment..." against Barrier.
On Friday, November 16, Barrier and one of his customers along with eye witnesses filed a police report stating Bart Rizzolo intentionally tried to run Barrier and the unnamed customer over in the parking lot of his garage located next to the Crazy Horse Too.
It was not known why Rizzolo was on the property after the Crazy Horse bar and real estate was seized from his family on August 30, 2007. Its suspected that the elder Rizzolo is closely affiliated with a yet unnamed entity that the government has approved to purchase the property and reopen the troubled topless bar. 
Rizzolo through his corporation The Power Company, Inc. in 2006 pleaded guilty to Racketeering for the beatings of bar patrons who refused to pay bogus credit card bills.

Why Bart Rizzolo is regularly seen on the Crazy Horse property remains a mystery. Now based on the RESTRAINING ORDER, the elder Rizzolo will not be allowed to meet with the "new owners" on the physical property for at least the next 30 days while Barrier is nearby in his garage.
The ORDER stipulates that Bart must remain at least 100 feet away from Barrier. The two entrances to the Crazy Horse are 50 and 55 feet from Barrier's front and rear doors, and Barrier is in his office at the garage at least 12 hours per day Monday through Saturday, and has a sophisticated TV surveillance system monitoring the inside and outside of his business in case someone associated with the former owners of the property try to extract revenge.
Prior to the Restraining Order, Bart Rizzolo was regularly seen entering the shuttered bar even after its August 30 seizure by the U.S. Government.
Though marshals prominently posted "No Trespassing" signs, the signs didn't appear to apply to Rizzolo and his son Ralph because they were not arrested after Barrier called the Marshal's Office on several occasions to report them trespassing. The marshals showed up each time hours after the Rizzolos left. The locks were finally changed four weeks after the property was seized, but the inside of the building was probably thoroughly looted by family members during those four weeks according to witnesses.
Then at 10 AM, Tuesday November 20, the U.S. Marshals showed back up on the Crazy Horse property, but for a different reason.

Three marshals appeared in Allstate Auto to inform Barrier they had received a complaint from the Patti & Sgro law firm who represent Rick Rizzolo. The marshals said the complaint involved Allstate customer's vehicles blocking ingress/egress to the shuttered property.
Barrier reportedly informed the marshals that all vehicles were parked in designated parking spaces; he was abiding by all laws; and that Patti & Sgro have absolutely no authority over the property since it was seized by the United States Government.
He then stated that this was the latest in a series of harassing actions perpetrated by the lawyers on behalf of their imprisoned client.
Barrier told the marshals he has a $1 million dollar court ordered forfeiture ORDER against Rizzolo's assets in the event he wins a harassment lawsuit in which Patti & Sgro represent the Defendant.
Barrier, a former pro wrestler, stated he will not comply with any demands made by Patti & Sgro on behalf of convicted criminals who want to interfere with his business. The marshals left the property and have not returned.
Barrier said that the misuse of the U.S. Marshal's Service was one more example of the type of harassment he's had to suffer at the hands of the Rizzolo family and their politically connected attorneys. Though he doesn't blame the individual marshals, he said he'll use their sudden visit as evidence during the trial expected to be scheduled soon after Rizzolo is released from prison.

But Barrier's biggest question is why mob lawyers Dean Patti and Tony Sgro still have an interest in the property after Judge Philip Pro ordered it sold to persons with no ties to organized crime? And why did the marshal's pay attention to their demands? Maybe because Patti & Sgro represent The Mortgage Broker, one of the "approved" bidders on the property.

Public Servants, or Pubic Servants?

Assistant U.S. 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.
  - Las Vegas Review-Journal, November 27, 2007

Today's INSIDE VEGAS column wouldn't be necessary if Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian
hadn't done a big favor on November 7 for friends of Rick Rizzolo and her husband, former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian.

Nor would this column be necessary if the Bush Administration hadn't fired U.S. Attorney for Nevada Daniel Bogden who, I believe, wouldn't have allowed what his assistant is now attempting to do in total secrecy. Mr. Bogden would have reprimanded his assistant for shaking Rick Rizzolo's hand in the courtroom on the day of his sentencing, and Mr. Bogden would have located and seized Rick and Lisa Rizzolo's hidden assets by now and paid Kirk and Any Henry.  He may have also disclosed the powers at Las Vegas City Hall and in our nation's capitol who are protecting Rizzolo's criminal enterprise.

That's probably why Daniel Bogden and seven other outstanding United States Attorneys were fired. They were all doing their jobs without fear of political repercussion. Locally, the problems began when an assistant took over the U.S. Attorney's office in the middle of "Operation Crazy Horse."

Then there's Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian who sponsored an ordinance to change the zoning law that was about to shut down the Crazy Horse Too forever on December 30. Based on her new law,
the bar's zoning will remain in effect for six more months until May 7, 2008. Rizzolo will now be out of jail in time to personally participate in the supposed sale of his club. He's scheduled to be released on April 4, 2008 giving him a month to personally finalize the sale thanks to his friends Jerry Tarkanian and a local developer who has a home in Newport Beach.

Maybe that was the good news that inspired Bart to try to run over Barrier!

Jerry Tarkanain was regularly seen in Rick Rizzolo's expensive sky box at the Thomas and Mack stadium during championship boxing matches. Jerry also attended Rick's infamous April 29, 2007 Going to Prison Party in Newport Beach. Lois denies doing Rizzolo a favor at the behest of her husband, but instead told an INSIDE VEGAS source that she sponsored the ordinance at the request of Ernie Becker, a former Las Vegas developer and current Newport Beach vacation home owner. Rick Rizzolo also has a beach house in Newport, a favorite getaway town for the Tarkanians and other Sin City movers and shakers.

Then there's those "harassment" remarks from
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Hollingsworth. INSIDE VEGAS is the only media reporting the details of the Crazy Horse Too sale. So it's these investigative columns that obviously constitute "harassment" in Hollingsworh's mind.

What is so important about getting a shuttered topless bar sold so it can re-open? Why is an Assistant U.S. Attorney intent on keeping the purported buyer's name a secret? And why hasn't the federal court seized the Rizzolo's personal assets to pay beating victim Kirk Henry, and the IRS?

Is selling a topless bar a matter of national security?

The following facts may be what
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hollingsworth calls "harassment." To his obvious dismay, every potential buyer of the Crazy Horse Too reads this column on a regular basis, so I gladly offer my carefully researched information to help them with their due diligence.

In September 2007, the government paid to have the Crazy Horse Too land and buildings appraised. The appraisal came back at only $5.4 million without a liquor license. Hollingsworth did not reveal this information to the public, though the appraisal was paid for by the taxpayers. I had to obtain the document from a confidential source.

To purchase the property as a topless bar, any buyer needs to consider its location in the seediest part of town; horrible reputation; being dark for six months; need to bribe transportation drivers $50 per passenger to bring people there; Allstate Auto's leasehold; and the pending eminent domain taking of a 23 foot deep swath of the property's entire frontage sometime in 2009.

If my disclosure of the above facts "harass" potential buyers and cause the sale to fall apart, that's too bad. I'm just getting warmed up!

Instead of auditioning for Let's Make a Deal, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Hollingsworth should be spending the taxpayer's time and money going after the Rizzolo's hidden personal assets to pay Kirk Henry's past due medical bills and the IRS. In the meantime, Hollingsworth is working full time trying to find a buyer willing to pay five times market value in order to rid a criminal of his court ordered personal debts. Why? I wish Daniel Bogden was here to answer the question.

Three local strip club operators interviewed by INSIDE VEGAS placed the value of the building and property with an active liquor license at no more than $18 million. So why would anyone -- other than La Cosa Nostra -- bid $31 million for such a place?

And why isn't Hollingsworth investigating attorney John Dawson who arranged for Rizzolo's assets to be protected from forfeiture? Maybe because Dawson works for a law firm associated with U.S. Senator Harry Reid. Senator Reid appointed John Dawson's brother Kent to the Federal Bench. U.S. Federal Judge Kent Dawson let 16 Crazy Horse Defendants off with slaps on the wrist after presiding over their trials without disclosing that his brother is one of Rick Rizzolo's attorneys, and the Senator who appointed him to the bench is the business partner of the Crazy Horse Too's former attorney
Jay Brown who is a law partner of LV Mayor Oscar Goodman who was once Rizzolo's corporate agent and attorney.

Also, remember that Mayor Oscar Goodman and his dwarfs on the city council are primed to give anyone who pays off Rizzolo's personal debts a new liquor license -- no questions asked. One of his dwarfs, Councilman Steve Wolfson, is married to District Court Judge Jackie Glass who recently denied attorneys for beating victim Kirk Henry the ability to examine Rick Rizzolo's personal assets after they got tired of waiting for their client to receive his settlement (and their legal fees).

Meanwhile, Henry sits in his motorized wheelchair wondering where his money is and why the Feds haven't confiscated Rizzolo's illegally transferred assets worth much more than Henry's $9 million dollar unpaid settlement from 2005?

And then there was Mr. Hollingsworth's August 13, 2007 failed attempt to keep the Crazy Horse Too bidder's names from public view. In his amazing MOTION, Hollingsworth wrote; "The general public should not be allowed to know the proposed offers, the proprietary information, etc., since Rizzolo will select one to see it it will complete the sale. If it fails, Rizzolo will select the next one."

Since when does a convicted convict have such rights? And, without the public being "allowed to know?" People were killed and maimed at the Crazy Horse Too. The public has every right to know everything there is about this case.

Since Hollingsworth's MOTION was wisely denied by U.S. Federal Judge Philip Pro, I've been reminded that Rick Rizzolo was somehow granted the "right" to turn down buyers who did not cover all his personal debts. This was part of his amazing Plea Agreement, and he can exercise this unprecedented authority from his prison cell.

But where in Rizzolo's weird Plea Agreement did it say he could mortgage the Crazy Horse Too property for $5 million the week before he was indicted and hide the proceeds? Where in his Plea Agreement did it say he could mortgage his three houses the week before he was indicted and hide the proceeds? Where in his Plea Agreement did it say he could cash in his $ 7.2 million dollar annuity and hide the proceeds -- all with the help of the brother of Federal Court Judge Dawson?

No wonder Hollingsworth won't investigate. If he did, it might embarrass a U.S. Senator and his appointed Federal Judge who sure look like they helped a convicted racketeer keep his ill-gotten fortune out of the hands of a paraplegic and the IRS.

So it's Let's Make a Deal time!

Experts say the Crazy Horse, if operated without the drug sales, prostitution, money laundering, and extortion, is only worth $18 million, max. The only way they say it would be worth the $31 million Hollingsworth says his "approved" buyer is offering is if the highly profitable criminal activities resume.   
And regarding "harassment," I believe I recently exposed the name of one of Hollingsworth's "approved" buyers and may have also disclosed this buyer's direct ties to Rick Rizzolo. That's good investigative journalism Mr. Hollingsworth, a far cry from "harassment."

Last week after Daniel Hollingsworth made his "harassment" remark, I learned that other buyers who he had "approved" were back calling investors for hard money loans. It sounds like the sale is truly falling apart, though that's certainly not my fault. I'm only doing my job keeping his "approved" buyers informed of what they're getting in to. I was on this story many years before Hollingsworth entered the scene, and therefore know much more about the subject.

An interview with Buffalo Jim Barrier

INSIDE VEGAS: Why did you request a restraining order against Bart Rizzolo?

BARRIER: Because he tried to run me and my customer over with his Range Rover. My first thought was to get us out the way to avoid danger, but in the back of my mind I would've loved to have body slammed his Ranger Rover with him in it. (STATS: Barrier - 305 lbs, Range Rover - 6,800 lbs.)

What was Bart doing on the property after it was seized by the United State of America?

I think he has a pipe dream that he and his family are going to regain control of the criminal enterprise that made him and his family a fortune.

Since Councilwoman Tarkanian arranged for the Crazy Horse to be able to re-open for an additional six months, what do you think will come next?

I think after Rick Rizzolo gets out of prison in April, he will weasel his way back into hidden ownership of the club. He's an expert on that kind stuff. He's a career criminal and has been in a criminal element all his life.

How is he going to become a hidden owner without Judge Pro finding out?

Anyone who would bid $31 million for a shuttered topless bar, that tells me that Rizzolo is trying to cover all his debts with the help of the U.S. Attorney's office. If he covers his debts, he's back as a secret owner after the Feds lose interest in the case a couple years from now.

Do you know what the Crazy Horse is worth?

The Crazy Horse with a liquor license is worth approximately $15 million. The buyer would need a big stash of money to get it running again. The foundation is sinking into the ground. It has a bad reputation. There's rats running around inside the building. And they would need to buy me out so they could wrap around the building to put in a side entrance facing the underpass after the road takes away their front entrance in 2009.

The place is still haunted by the beating death of Scott Fau, Rick Sandlin and others along with the attempted murder of Kirk Henry. It's jinxed and can never be the same. That essentially kills its value.

Its best use is as a warehouse. But as a topless bar, the government shouldn't allow that to happen just to bail Rizzolo out of his debt. The only one who could pay enough to bail Rizzolo out is another criminal who will go back to prostitution and drug sales to cover expenses, and skim the rest like Rizzolo did.

I spent over a quarter century of my life dealing with this monkey business, and the government should never allow the criminal activity to resume. This is the United States of America!  Las Vegas has enough problems without having another tourist trap or clip joint run by criminals to rip off and hurt tourists and give our city a black eye.

Believe me, it was no fun watching this happen for the past 25 years. Just shut the place down and put in legitimate businesses.

But if it is sold as a topless bar, what's the least its worth?

It's been shut down for a long time. It would take $50 per head bribes for the cab drivers to bring people back. The top notch girls are afraid to work there because it's been shut down twice in one year. The place is a real toilet, and only the bottom of the barrel type dancers would work there now. Even if the place was sold for $6 million, and it did $6 million a year business, the interest on the $6 million would be $2 million per year, your liquor bill on $6 million in bar sales would be $900,000 per year, utilities at $10,000 month is $120,000 per year, the 17% tax on $6 million per year is $900,000, your licensing fees are $25,000 per year, and your payroll minus perks is $1.8 million per year. This leaves you about $250, 000 per year for advertising, profit, and bribing cabbies to the tune of $10,000 a day in cash like Rizzolo used to do when he was at the top of his game. It's a real loser unless it goes back to beating money out of people, selling drugs, and offering sex for sale. Only a criminal would pay over $18 million.

Is there anything else you want to say?

I won't accept seeing it come back as a criminal enterprise after spending 25 years of life trying to stop the violence. The place should be torn down. That's it.


Note to Kirk Henry:   In order to prevent what happened to you ever happening to anyone else, please encourage your attorneys to go after Rick and Lisa Rizzolo's personal assets instead of advocating the reopening of their business.

Note to Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Hollingsworth:  You are about to sell the Crazy Horse back into Mob hands. No legitimate business person would pay what you are asking, and I can't help but believe you're fully aware of what you're doing. Otherwise you'd demand complete transparency.

Copyright © Steve Miller

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