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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 says he don't owe nothin' to nobody!

"Mr. Rizzolo preys that the court issue an order of satisfaction
of all outstanding fines, restitution and forfeiture obligations."

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
March 29, 2010

LAS VEGAS - In his latest show of chutzpah, attorneys for convicted racketeer Rick Rizzolo last Friday filed an eleven page MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES with the United States Federal Court asking that all their client's court ordered financial obligations be waived.

In the document, attorney Ken Frizzell repeats Rizzolo's long-time defense that un-paid beating victim Kirk Henry agreed to accept all of his $9 million dollar restitution from the proceeds of the sale of Rizzolo's now defunct Crazy Horse Too topless bar, and only from the sale of that one asset, a business that Rizzolo now states was worth $58 million dollars at the time of the purported agreement.

But, according to this latest court filing, the Crazy Horse Too's value was ruined by the government, so he doesn't owe Henry a dime.

There are two important facts missing from the Memorandum: Rizzolo personally guaranteed to make up the difference between what the bar sold for, and what he still owed Henry; and that in order to be worth what he now claims was $58 million, a buyer would have had to continue the illegal business practices of Rizzolo in order to generate profits adequate to pay so much for a worn out converted warehouse next to the tracks.

In anticipation of the bar's failure to sell, and their ill-gotten fortune being seized by creditors including the IRS, Rick and his ex-wife Lisa in 2006,  liquidated their other real estate assets and set up a phony bank account off shore in which they stashed tens of millions in cash.

Since that time, Lisa, with the help of asset protection attorney John Dawson, has been doling out hundreds of thousands to her ex husband from the Cook Islands account.

In the meantime, Rick spent a year in the federal penitentiary -- with cell phone privileges according to his cell mate -- but soon after his April 2008  release, was observed by INSIDE VEGAS sources back gambling heavily in local casinos, all the while claiming to be broke.

While Henry and the government prepare for a Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act trial some time this September, Henry's attorneys have also heard the rumors about Rick's return to the tables, and issued the following subpoenas hoping to locate his Vegas stash:

Anyone who has lived in Vegas more than a year knows how protective our casinos are of their whales, especially when it comes to revealing safe deposit box usage.

Knowing that executives at your favorite casinos are receiving subpoenas with your name printed on them would be a high roller's worst nightmare. In past cases, such subpoenas signaled someone's imminent inclusion in Nevada's infamous Black Book of excluded persons.

Many heavy bettors keep safe deposit boxes full of cash in their favorite casino's cashier cage in the event they get the urge to gamble. Rick Rizzolo is well known for his propensity to squander tens of thousands cash on the tables, and since leaving prison, his habits have reportedly not  changed.

Two of Rizzolo's favorite casinos are now under orders by the federal court to produce documents and information the casinos dread revealing because of the precedent it will set in the eyes of other high rollers who also keep safe deposit boxes on their property.  In the event the Hard Rock and Venetian balk -- especially when the IRS is owed millions by one of their prized gamblers -- the casinos could invite there own IRS audits and other scrutiny by the feds.

I believe the two casinos (more casinos are expected to be subpoenaed) will reluctantly turn over everything they're asked for, and after being put in such an uncomfortable position, not be so willing to roll out the red carpet the next time Rizzolo shows up in a gambling mood.

Las Vegas' latest image
Is it a bribe, or is it a tip?
In Las Vegas, cabbies hold all the cards

The Portland Tribune
By peter korn
Mar 25, 2010

In Las Vegas, the taxi drivers and limousine drivers are collecting what some call extortion and some call the cost of doing business Las Vegas style.

The drivers are demanding huge payoffs from the owners of tourist destinations. And drivers are refusing to take conventioneers and tourists to the clubs that don't pay up, according to a pending class action lawsuit and a former Las Vegas city councilman. 


Like the story of Rick Rizzolo's hidden fortune, the local Las Vegas news media have left it exclusively up to INSIDE VEGAS to cover the story of how our tourists are being bilked out of millions of dollars each year by hotel door men and transportation drivers who are extorting strip club owners.

Amazingly, this practice was the brain child of Rick Rizzolo. I first reported it back in 2002, and the scam has grown to out of control proportions ever since.

In the above front page story published on March 25, in Portland, Oregon, our home grown problem is finally being described accurately. It involves Nevada's refusal to regulate a privileged industry - taxis and limos. It also embarrasses our town when our dirty laundry is published on the front page of a neighboring state's major newspaper.

Las Vegas is hyper sensitive to adverse publicity in other cities, and this latest story being told to potential visitors from Oregon should help to inspire action within our borders.

The Portland Tribune story, however, does not report the hardships suffered by Las Vegas residents when taxi drivers turn off their radios and refuse to pick up locals needing late night transportation to the airport. Some swing and graveyard shift taxi drivers refuse to take neighborhood pick ups in favor of making hundreds of dollars in bribes shuttling strip-club-bound tourists several blocks, then sit in cab stands outside Vegas clubs waiting for more suckers wanting to go to other clubs that pay drivers a bounty.

Because our city, county, and state authorities have shirked their responsibility to regulate the transportation industry, the LV practice has continued unabated and inspired copy-cat-type scams in other cities including Portland -- that's until last summer when the Internal Revenue Service stepped in three years after receiving a two page letter from a disgruntled Vegas business owner who asked not to be identified for fear of being boycotted.

Owners of every business that participates in the extortion were summoned into the local office of the IRS. Following their interviews, the practice reportedly continued with the ante being raised to $130 per passenger delivered.

Knowing this, the Special Agents scheduled a meeting at their offices on March 19, to be attended by all strip club owners. Sources at the meeting report that the agents told the owners that they will soon issue a ruling on whether the club owners will be excused for their past transgressions in trade for an agreement to require IRS 1099 forms be filled out every time a driver receives a pay out.

According to an INSIDE VEGAS source who attended the meeting, the club owners were told that the IRS' bottom line is to receive Uncle Sam's share of the previously unreported millions, or the business owners will face criminal penalties.

As a temporary consolation, the owners agreed to limit the pay outs to $30 per passenger delivered to their door until the IRS ruling is issued. It's expected the ruling will come down within sixty days, and will certainly require the use of 1099 forms.

This may cause a rebellion among certain drivers who do not wish to pay taxes on what they erroneously refer to as "tips."

In 2005, Nevada officials threatened to stop the pay offs. In retaliation, hundreds of cab and limo drivers blocked the Strip with their vehicles. The state backed down, and transportation company owners did not take action against their employees for using company owned equipment in an act of civil disobedience.

But today the IRS is fully informed of how much unreported cash is changing hands, and the club owners are reportedly expected to receive an ultimatum within sixty days. Report every transportation driver pay out on a 1099 form, or face felony prosecution for Title 18 USC § 371, Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States, which carries a penalty of imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or a fine of not more than $250,000 for individuals ($500,000 for corporations), or both.

There was no mention of punishment for the drivers, transportation company owners, and hotel door men. Only payers are being mentioned for possible criminal prosecution, which should give certain drivers and doormen some solace.

Sources say that the 1099's will go into use this summer, and the IRS will stay vigilant along with competing club owners in the event there is hanky panky. The ones who will benefit the most are the local citizens who need a cab in the middle of the night, and future tourists who won't be ripped off in cover charges and padded bar tabs in order to pay the bribes.

Money, Mob & Influence In Harry Reid's Nevada - the book coming soon

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's connections to a substrata of money, mob and influence in Nevada going back fifty years. Revelations from Reid's former campaign manager paints an unkind picture of a politician looking for money on the side. Most shocking is the claim that Harry Reid took campaign donations from pimp Joe Conforte of the Mustang Ranch brothel. Also disturbing are accounts of Reid's long friendship with a lawyer to many of the most notorious strip clubs in Las Vegas. Oscar Goodman, Las Vegas Mayor and lawyer to the mob also enters the picture. Sweetheart treatment of land developers, the G-Sting scandal, fat cat campaign contributors and more taint the record of one of the most powerful politicians in the U.S. and therefore the world." -

The author is referring to Las Vegas lawyer Jay Brown. I've often written about Brown and his cronies Senator Reid and Rick Rizzolo. I've also told the stories of Rizzolo's asset protection lawyer John Dawson and his brother Federal Court Judge Kent Dawson, along with Jay Brown's law partner Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, and favors they did for Rizzolo and his Crazy Horse Too crew.  I'm told  they're all mentioned in this about-to-be released book.

Because of my supposed obsession with Rick Rizzolo,, one of the questions I'm most frequently asked is "Why are you the only journalist covering these stories?"

I usually answer, "I'm just making it up as I go."

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