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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:

Rizzolo lies to the court - And a judge's hollow words

"Sorry teacher. My dog ate my homework." - Frederick Rizzolo, age 12

"Sorry Judge Foley. My financial records were seized by the
government; or accidentally shredded; or destroyed in a
flood at my lawyer's office." - Rick Rizzolo, age 51

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
February 22, 2010

LAS VEGAS - Attorneys for unpaid beating victim Kirk Henry have until March 31, 2010 to complete their discovery in a drawn out, politically charged, personal injury lawsuit against former Crazy Horse Too strip club owner and convicted racketeer Rick Rizzolo.

Henry was rendered a quadriplegic in 2001 by a Crazy Horse manager after he disputed a padded $88 bar tab. His beating inspired a civil lawsuit and FBI investigation that led in 2006 to the conviction of Rizzolo and fifteen of his employees.

However, since his release from prison on April 4, 2008, Rizzolo has not yet paid one penny of over $17 million dollars in fines, restitution, and taxes he agreed to pay in exchange for a feather light prison sentence. Weeks prior to beginning his plea negotiations, and in anticipation of litigation and possible seizure, he divorced his wife and set up off shore accounts in her name.

Because of a lack of cooperation from Rizzolo and his legal team, attorneys Don Campbell and Stan Hunterton who represent Henry have filed three Motions to Compel to try to get the United States Federal Court to force Rizzolo to produce his financial records from the time of his conviction in 2006 up to the present day.

On February 16, 2010, Rizzolo's attorney filed a 9 page OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S RENEWED MOTION TO COMPEL that included two ridiculous excuses as to why his client cannot produce financial documents he was three times ordered to produce.

The fist excuse (below) states that "the government" seized all Rizzolo's documents from 2006 - 2008. The second excuse was that "some copies" of the documents were in the possession of Rizzolo's attorneys Dean Patti and Tony Sgro.  Both events purportedly occurring "outside the control of Mr. Rizzolo."

The court needs to be made aware that a massive shredding occurred on the morning of April 3, 2007 at Rizzolo's office behind the Crazy Horse Too at 2486 Industrial Road (see photos below).  INSIDE VEGAS reported the shredding on April 16, 2007 in an exclusive column entitled "Rizzolo ducks deposition to avoid questions about straw man while tons of documents get shredded."

The publication date of the column and its associated photos put a time stamp on when Rizzolo destroyed the majority of his personal and business records. The rest of those records were purportedly destroyed in a "flood" on the second floor of Patti & Sgro's downtown law office.

Here's a page from Rizzolo's latest Opposition to Henry's efforts to locate his hidden fortune:

Because the shredding took place during the time period supposedly "outside the control of Mr. Rizzolo," the question is ripe as to who other than Rizzolo authorized the destruction of documents now needed in HENRY vs. RIZZOLO, et al?

The government certainly did not authorize the destruction of such vital information weeks before Rizzolo reported to federal prison to begin his sentence for tax evasion, and he was in town on the day of the shredding! Could Rizzolo now be lying to the court saying the shredding was "outside" his "control?"

Rick Rizzolo is followed out of the Las Vegas Federal Court House by Steve Miller and Buffalo Jim Barrier
after pleading guilty to racketeering and tax evasion. ( photo by Mike Christ, 06/01/06)

On the morning of April 3, 2007, Rick Rizzolo's next door neighbor the late Buffalo Jim Barrier arrived at his auto repair business to find two Shred Pro trucks parked in front of Rizzolo's warehouse located across the alley from the Crazy Horse Too. Barrier grabbed his Nikon and began snapping pictures as he's often done when he saw activity that might be of interest to federal law enforcement officials.

According to Barrier (left), a half dozen Crazy Horse employees worked throughout the morning carrying large file boxes full of unknown documents to the trucks that quickly ground the contents into confetti. Based on each truck's four ton capacity, it appears that Rizzolo shredded over 20 years worth of records dating back to the club's opening.

Barrier immediately informed the FBI of the shredding, however no officials responded. The mysterious event went unnoticed until my column appeared two weeks later.

Barrier was Rizzolo's worst critic. As a former professional wrestler and wrestling instructor, he detested bullies. When Kirk Henry's neck was broken by a Crazy Horse Too employee in 2001 after he protested a padded bar tab, it was Barrier who snapped photos of Henry being rolled away on a gurney. I broke the news in a front page story for a local newspaper, and Rizzolo sued me and the paper for libel.

"Virtually every week, Mr. Miller writes an article disparaging Mr. Rizzolo. I understand the importance of a free press. Mr. Miller is certainly entitled to his opinion and he is entitled to express that opinion in print. What Mr. Rizzolo has always objected to is not Mr. Miller's negative opinions of him, but of the weekly misstatements of fact. In the hundreds of articles written by Mr. Miller about Mr. Rizzolo over the years, one would be hard pressed to find a single one that was not replete with inaccuracies." - Attorney Tony Sgro, July 10, 2003

Attorney Tony Sgro (left), representing topless bar owner Rick Rizzolo, argues unsuccessfully for a gag order against Steve Miller. At right are attorneys Dowon Kang, Chris Rasmussen and Gus Flangas, who opposed the request. Miller chose not to participate in the Nov. 13, 2001 hearing that was also attended by attorneys for the ACLU and Las Vegas Review Journal. (Las Vegas Review Journal photo by Gary Thompson)

(Nine years after the failed gag order hearing,  everything I have published about Rizzolo and the Crazy Horse Too has been proven factually accurate.)

Shortly after my 2001 front page story, Rizzolo wrote a Letter To The Editor trying to say that Kirk Henry tripped and fell. "A customer leaving the club drunk did trip, but in no way was this man 'beaten,'" wrote Rizzolo.

His attorneys told NBC News the same story. "You don't even have to fall off a curb. You can take a spill as you walk across a parking lot. You don't even need the added height of the curb," stated attorney Tony Sgro. "I do know what our experts are telling us and our experts are telling us that universally the type of injury that Mr. Henry sustained is always the result of a slip and fall. Universally that's not up for debate."

But Barrier's photos and eye witness accounts told a different story, especially after the photos were shown on network TV and witnesses starting coming forward.

The FBI soon caught wind of the story, and in 2002 began an in-depth criminal investigation of Rizzolo and his business practices.

Even though he was front page news in Vegas, Rizzolo was living the high life in Orange County, California where he has a beach house. However, his notoriety began to catch  up with him when he tried to befriend the local sheriff around election time, and a TV commercial aired throughout the Los Angeles area saying Rizzolo had "ties to the mob." This signaled the start of Rizzolo's demise and began his path to prison. His Sheriff friend soon followed him to the penitentiary, but for unrelated crimes.

In his 2005 plea negotiations, Rizzolo agreed to pay Henry $10 million dollars if he could get a lightened sentence ($1 million was paid by Rizzolo's insurance, the $9 million balance has not been paid.) The government fell for Rizzolo's offer, and on April 4, 2008, after a year and a day in prison, Rizzolo was released.

On April 5, 2008, Buffalo Jim Barrier died under mysterious circumstances. It was the day after Rizzolo's release.

Then on October 28, 2008, Dominic Rizzolo, the 26 year old son of Rick Rizzolo, pleaded guilty to  Battery With Use Of A Deadly Weapon and received a five year suspended sentence and probation.

On September 8, 2008, Ralph Rizzolo, the brother of Rick, narrowly escaped death when he crashed his Mercedes Benz at high speed into the wall of Buffalo Jim Barrier's closed garage. He was not charged with a crime, though the property had been seized by the government at the time.

After spending time in prison; his son's felony conviction; and his brother's suicide attempt, it appeared that Rizzolo's luck was changing for the worse. But that wasn't entirely the case. Eighteen months later in February 2010, Rick and Lisa Rizzolo still have their money, and the IRS and Kirk Henry are no where nearer getting theirs!

(Ralph Rizzolo is working at a local strip club, and Dominic Rizzolo is the assistant general manager of The Point, a time share resort in Orlando, Florida owned by a friend of his father. I wish them both peace and tranquility.)

I present Barrier's photos taken on April 3, 2007 in hope they'll be Buffalo Jim's "gift from Heaven" to Kirk Henry and his attorneys so they can get some traction in this prolonged case. The shredding occurred between 2006 and 2008 during the time the "government" had allegedly "seized and held" the Rizzolo's information per Rizzolo's attorney's claim, and the clandestine shredding event was definitely not "outside the control of Mr. Rizzolo" who was not in jail at the time!

Pictures are worth a thousand words. Rick Rizzolo is lying!

I rest my case.

And regarding that "flood" that purportedly destroyed the rest of the Rizzolo's records, here's Judge Foley's response:
Patti, Sgro & Lewis has, in fact, placed its credibility in issue (emphasis added) by stating that it is unable to produce client records that it had a legal duty to retain and which one would expect an attorney to retain. Patti, Sgro & Lewis’s assertion that client records may have been destroyed in a flood was uninformative as to when the flood occurred, where it occurred and extent of records destroyed. It is reasonably incumbent on Patti, Sgro & Lewis to demonstrate the validity of its explanation that records relating to Mr. and/or Mrs. Rizzolo were or may have been destroyed in a flood. The discovery sought by Plaintiffs is therefore a reasonable follow-up to its efforts to obtain relevant records from the Rizzolos’ attorneys. Patti, Sgro & Lewis has not demonstrated that it will incur a substantial burden and expense to locate and produce records relating to a flood which apparently occurred within the past several years.  -   Motion to Compel - #129 - ORDER delivered by George Foley, Jr., United States Magistrate Judge, June 30, 2009

During the months following this ORDER, no public record was ever entered proving Patti, Sgro & Lewis complied by demonstrating the validity of a "flood" having destroyed Mr. and Mrs. Rizzolo's records. Their non-compliance followed by a lack of court ordered sanctions made Judge Foley's Order appear to be disingenuous, and his words hollow.

A hearing will take place  in U. S. District Court District of Nevada in Las Vegas at 11 AM on February 25 to hear Rizzolo's argument as to why he cannot produce required discovery information that he may have had shredded or had his attorney purposely destroy.

It is very clear based on these latest developments that Rick Rizzolo, through his attorney, is committing fraud upon the court.

If he gets away with this at a time when he owes the IRS over $5 million dollars, and owes Mr. Henry over $9 million, then it should be possible for any citizen to complain to the IRS and other creditors that they "lost" their financial records, then not be required to pay what they owe.

This case has gone on for far to long. The ball is back in Judge George Foley's court -- again!

If Kirk Henry's attorneys can use Barrier's photos to gain movement in this long-stalled case, then Buffalo Jim will have spoken from the grave.


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