The Fix Was In!
Crazy Horse Too granted permanent liquor license even after
Police and City Attorney tell Council the mob is still in control
AmericanMafia.com photographer Mike
"A reasonable person could draw the
Signorelli is simply running the business for Rizzolo, who is forbidden
to do so." - Sgt. Ray Alexander,
"Mr. Signorelli may be doing his best
effort to keep Rizzolo
out, but it's happening anyway." "He can't run this business without
being influenced by Rizzolo's people." - City Attorney Brad Jerbic
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
April 23, 2007
LAS VEGAS - At the outset of last
Wednesday's City Council hearing on
the permanent licensure of the mob-run Crazy Horse Too topless bar,
Mayor Oscar Goodman
complained to City Attorney Brad Jerbic that he "didn't understand" why
he must abstain, then he stormed out of the room.
Jerbic didn't need to explain that the Mayor's
law firm represents the past and present owners of the bar. Or that
Goodman was once Rick Rizzolo's Corporate
Agent, and defended the recently convicted felon and Crazy Horse
owner in 1989 after Rizzolo pleaded guilty to beating a man named Rick
Sandlin with a baseball
bat. Goodman did a good job. Rizzolo got off with a gross
misdemeanor and no jail time, and Sandlin died of his injuries three
years later. (The case was sealed until 2006.)
the beginning of a long friendship, something well known to the two FBI
Political Corruption Unit Special Agents watching from the back of the
The Mayor left for the majority of the hearing only to suddenly return
when it looked like the Council was about to close his client's
troubled business once and for all.
Two hours after the license hearing began,
seen re-entering the small room
located behind the City Council dais; a room
where two Council members at a time were being served
sandwiches during the extended hearing.
It appeared that each Council member got
a mouthful of sandwich and an earful of Goodman in that back room
because the Council
immediately stopped asking questions and made a sudden
about face to reluctantly grant straw man Mike
Signorelli the permanent license as Goodman returned to his
seat on the dais and silently watched.
Mike Signorelli and Jim DiFiore
before the vote, Goodman turned and glared
at AmericanMafia.com photographer Mike Christ who captured the moment
on film and later said, "His expression was worth a thousand words."
Goodman was featured in the movie Casino.
He played himself; the mob lawyer who represented Tony "The Ant"
Spilotro and Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal played by Joe Pesci and Robert
DiNiro. He has never
stopped playing that role when it comes to his law firm's former and
present clients, and a number of persons associated with the Crazy
Horse Too were/are Goodman's clients including Signorelli who is
represented by Goodman's law partner Jay Brown, and Vinny Faraci who is
represented by Goodman's other partner David Chesnoff.
Oscar Goodman is presently the most powerful politician in our city
having just emerged victorious from his third mayoral election. He's
known for his campaign fund raising ability whether for himself or his
colleagues on the Council. Running
unopposed, he garnered only 32,492 votes
from a total of 214,276 registered city voters in one of the lowest
voter turnouts in our city's history. His reelection was far from the
claims, and his antics are looked down upon by the majority of people
in Las Vegas.
When you factor in the entire
population of the Las Vegas Valley - 1.8
million, Goodman won
by less than a quarter of one percent of the
people who call "Las Vegas" home. (The Las Vegas Valley is made up of
the City of Las Vegas, parts of unincorporated Clark
County, Henderson, Boulder City, and North Las Vegas.) Yet,
Goodman and his cronies
are the current image of Vegas' "What happens here stays here" persona,
and his third and final term in
office is expected to be pay
back time for those who made him rich
including Goodman Law Firm clients Rick
Rizzolo and golf course
Walters has plans to return this summer to ask Goodman and his
Council to approve what has been called "Septic
Gardens;" thousands of low income houses waiting to be built just
across the wall from
city's sewer plant. Goodman
has already vowed
to help his former client win approval no matter the
health risks for those who end up living next to a plant that
emit toxic amounts of hydrogen
sulfide in the event of a break down.
Both Rizzolo and Walters paid Goodman legal fees in excess of one half
million dollars each prior to his election in 1999. Walters secured
his legal fees with his personal residence.
In other words, since the Mayor's tenure is limited to three terms,
Goodman has nothing to lose by helping his friends at the expense of
tax dollars and public safety. But his honeymoon may soon come to an
abrupt halt. The two FBI Special Agents left Wednesday's hearing with
enough material to bust City Hall wide open.
(AmericanMafia.com photo by Mike Christ)
The Crazy Horse Too vote happened after
Mayor Pro Tem Gary
Reese asked City
Director of Business Activity Jim Difore why he hadn't closed
the topless bar after it was discovered Signorelli was employing a
number of Rick Rizzolo's relatives and felons who were banned
from the club.
replied, "Mr. Signorelli came to me for advice on key employees
looking for somebody he trusted."
Reese then asked DiFore, "You allowed them to work at the Crazy Horse
The other Council members sat in silence while Councilman Steve Wolfson
praised DiFiore for a job well
November, after I informed
the City Attorney that Rizzolo's family was still running the
the Council with Goodman abstaining, bravely banned all Rizzolos
from the Crazy Horse
property and named a
number of additional persons who should be barred including several
that DiFore allowed to remain employed.
Wednesday's hearing, City Attorney Jerbic stated that Mr. DiFore
"did nothing." Then Jerbic said, "I did not advise
Business License to do nothing."
exchange and the pleas from Metro cops, it appeared the Council in
Goodman's absence was
leaning toward closing the trouble
plagued Crazy Horse Too once and for all -- that's until Mayor Goodman
in the back room and things took a drastic turn.
The first real indication that something was wrong came
Wolfson began debating with City
Attorney Jerbic. No one came to Jerbic's defense, so Wolfson, a
criminal defense attorney, did his best to tear Jerbic's presentation
apart item by item.
Then without making a disclosure or abstaining, one of the Council
members got up and
walked out of the hearing before the vote on Item 66.
Councilwoman Brenda Williams had been heard earlier in the week siding
with Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian saying the Crazy Horse liquor license
should not be granted.
During the hearing, Williams went into the back room for a sandwich and
never returned. When it came time to vote, Williams was gone, but
conveniently returned for the next agenda item.
Evidently she thought by simply walking out on the hearing she
could avoid offending her constituents or Tarkanian who wanted to see
the Crazy Horse saga come to an end. Or more important, she could avoid
offending Goodman. So she took a powder.
Unfortunately Williams may have violated the Nevada Ethics in
Government Law which contains Opinion No. 03-40: "Public officers are the voice of and
accountable to their constituents [see, Woodbury Opinion]. Therefore,
when not prohibited from voting on a matter, a public officer has a duty to act on all
matters that come before him."
damned if she does and
damned if she doesn't, because if Williams can't come up with a good
excuse for walking out on Item 66 -- then her sudden return to vote on
Item 67, there are people talking about filing an Ethics
Complaint against her.
Had she had the courage to participate and vote, there may have been
negative votes -- possibly three if another Council member joined in.
the case of a tie vote on an even numbered board (remember the Mayor
abstained), Nevada law states the negative votes win.
Council members sat silent after Williams' surprise departure, so the
vote was taken and the suddenly-timid
Council voted unanimously to
let the Crazy Horse continue in business. Without William's support,
Tarkanian voted to help the mob.
It's not as if they were uninformed. I've been sending regular emails
and faxes to each Council member informing them of Signorelli's
financial problems, criminal associations, and his insistence on bribing
cabbies in violation of state law.
even visited my home several months ago to ask questions about
and the Crazy Horse. She also called Buffalo Jim
Barrier last Monday to reportedly say there was consensus on the
the Crazy Horse should be closed.
After Wednesday's hearing, Barrier
received a second call from the Councilwoman reportedly apologizing for
After the vote of confidence, Signorelli breathed a sigh of relief and
left the chambers followed by a gaggle of lawyers and well wishers
who looked like the cast of "Goodfella's."
interest was Goodman's law partner Jay Brown who represented the Crazy
Brown, shown with
Signorelli in this Review-Journal
photo by Clint
Karlsen, had his name surface in organized-crime
investigations, and was Rick
My revealing his
partnership with Goodman and his alleged mob connections in these
columns may have inspired Brown's
angry words directed toward me Wednesday in the hall outside the
Or it may have been something else I did last Tuesday evening.
Brown interrupted me while I
was speaking with Las Vegas SUN
and Review-Journal City Hall
reporters Mark Hansel and David Schwartz. The loud comment he repeated
twice; "I thought you were an old family friend," probably meant I was
doing something "old family friends" shouldn't do -- go
against an old family friend in his quest to help the mob keep
control of the Crazy
Horse. (Brown's daughter went to high school with two of my children.)
His words would have
been accurate if he was referring to the family of
the late Joe
Kludjian, one of my true old family friends.
Joe sold the Golden Steer
Steakhouse to Mike Signorelli in 2002. Signorelli
began welching on his obligation to pay the Kludjians $10,000 per
month five months prior to Joe's passing on April 4, 2006.
I believe the stress of not being paid hastened my old family
Joe, who owned the Golden Steer since 1959, spoke to me
about the situation in the winter of 2006 and asked for
my assistance in obtaining his children's inheritance and a new lawyer
because he felt his present attorney, Tim Cory, was asleep at the
switch. At the time I
was at a loss for suggestions, but I promised to do my best. Joe died
several months later.
On the night before the Council hearing, Joe's daughter Judy Kludjian
contacted me and said Signorelli was delinquent 17 payments! I advised
contact Mayor Pro Tem Reese via email. She did, and according to
her new attorney: "It
our understanding that Mr. Signorelli
had to bring the Golden Steer current before they would issue him a
liquor license for the Crazy Horse."
Sources say Signorelli was forced to hand deliver a certified
$170,000 to Ms. Kludjian's attorney as an unofficial condition of
his approval. It's not known where he got the money.
Had she not sent the email, I believe Signorelli would have continued
on his obligation to pay for the restaurant he calls his - a restaurant
that's become a favorite watering hole for the new Vegas mob.
(Signorelli's original partner
in the Golden Steer was Sorkis
Webbe Jr., who
went to prison in the 1980s for vote fraud, obstruction of justice,
attempted extortion, and harboring an organized crime figure accused of
During the Council hearing,
Signorelli said he'd invested over $500,000 in the Crazy Horse Too. I
now believe he was including the $170,000 he tried to screw the
out of. I've asked the
Kludjians to let me know if Signorelli ever again welches on his
obligation to pay for the Golden Steer.
And coincidentally, Signorelli admitted to also welching on his rent to
Rizzolo. He paid only a fraction of the $400,000 per month
rent on the Crazy Horse since taking over in October. Jay Brown
it as a "rent deferment," but the Council said they'd not been
informed of such an important alteration to the Council approved
agreement and should have been informed immediately. Nonetheless, his
lax credit history, association with known felons, and failure to
inform the Council still didn't influence their vote.
by Jay Brown as being "credible" and having an excellent reputation in
the Las Vegas community since 1969.
But 82 year old Nick Steffora says Mike Signorelli is a bankruptcy
says in 1982, Signorelli was his business partner and bilked him
out of hundreds of thousands of dollars after declaring
bankruptcy. He sued
Signorelli in Federal Court, but said he never
received a dime.
After his first bankruptcy in
1983, Signorelli opened the Mesquite
Star Casino in June 1998 and went bankrupt
one year later. Then he was sued by over one hundred of his
employees for allegedly looting
their pay checks of health insurance premiums.
Brown neglected to tell the Council this important information, and no
one dared ask questions
though each Council member received a hand delivered copy
VEGAS several months ago telling the entire story of Signorelli's
checkered financial past.
I knew the fix
was in when the
Council was too squeamish to question Signorelli even after he
falsely bragged he once was the CEO of a company that employed 4,600
employees, and that he had a $150 million dollar commitment from
investors! What investors? Nobody asked.
In October 2006, Steffora confronted Signorelli outside the Council
chambers after he received his first temporary liquor license. Buffalo
Jim Barrier stood by to make sure the confrontation did not turn
Last Wednesday, Steffora returned to City Hall and picketed outside the
Council chambers throughout the Crazy Horse hearing.
Nick Steffora, right, confronts Mike Signorelli, as "Buffalo"
Jim Barrier looks on.
Steffora is a former partner of Signorelli. (Review-Journal
photo by Clint Karlsen)
Just before the
vote, Mayor Pro
Tem Reese suggested that conditions be
attached to the approval of the permanent liquor license: that the club
have new owners by June 30, the date Federal Court Chief Judge Philip
must be sold; and that no infractions
of law take place until that date.
After June 30,
I guess anything goes.
Even knowing he let banned people run the Crazy Horse, the Council
still wanted DiFiore put in charge of
overseeing the club, and
empowered him to shut it down upon noticing the slightest of
infractions, at least through June 30.
However, in February
2005, the Las Vegas City Council ran into a road block when they tried
to place conditions on the approval of a permanent liquor license for
Gentleman's Club -- conditions similar to those just
placed on the Crazy Horse. Treasures was Rizzolo's closest competitor,
and in 2000 he had Michael
McDonald, one of his minions on the City Council, try to kill
after he was questioned on the record, Mayor Pro Tem Reese stated
conditions placed on a permanent liquor license were
"things we couldn't enforce anyway,"
and didn't further press the issue (LV
did the Council persist in placing conditions on the Crazy Horse
license when such conditions according to Reese's own statement are a
thing the Council couldn't enforce? Was it just for effect -- to show
the public the Council has guts?
Barrier and I sat in the back of the chambers watching the
spectacle unfold. In Las Vegas, truth is sometimes stranger
DiFiore obediently camped out at
waiting for an infraction to occur so he could shut the
club down to please his boss Oscar Goodman who was doing a favor
for his friend Rizzolo.
nights of observing, DiFiore finally learned a dancer told an
undercover police officer that she would meet
him later if he paid her for sex. DiFiore jumped into action and
shut the club down.
Crazy Horse Too's
biggest competitor had gone dark according to plan!
months later after the dancer was found innocent in Municipal Court
because she didn't show up to be with the undercover officer,
Treasures' owners sued the City in Federal Court. Seeing a loss on the
horizon, the Council reluctantly granted Treasures a permanent
liquor license, and that's when Reese proposed placing conditions
including that all the dancers go through a mandatory training, and that dancers go by their real names.
Treasures promptly told the Council their client "cannot accept a
condition that requires them to do what others are not required to do."
That's when Reese said conditions were "things we couldn't
it's doubtful that
Jim DiFiore will spend as much
time monitoring the Crazy Horse. And if he does find an infraction
of law, will he immediately shut the place down as he did Treasures?
It's doubtful since conditions can't be enforced, and Brad Jerbic did
tell the Council on Wednesday, "we're not baby sitters."
Also, it's yet to be
determined if beating victim Kirk
Henry will ever get one cent of the nine million dollars Rizzolo
owes him for having his neck broken for disputing an $88 bar tab. The
Henry tragedy has pretty much faded from view.
Fred Doumani Jr. observes Council vote
(AmericanMafia.com photo by Mike Christ)
Now the ball is in U.S.
Federal Judge Philip Pro's court.
Let's see if
accepts the purported buyers of the Crazy Horse Too on June 2 when he's
scheduled to either accept a buy out, or put the business and property
that one of the buyers may be Fred Doumani Jr., the son
of a Rick Rizzolo associate.
Doumani was in the audience last
Wednesday and was pointed out on the record by Jay Brown as being the
guy who introduced Rizzolo to Signorelli less that a year ago.
(Witnesses report that Rizzolo was often seen dining with Signorelli
of Doumani indicated he wants the Council to be familiar with the part
time movie actor who may soon replace Rick Rizzolo as the boss of the
Crazy Horse Too.
What other characters
ties to Rizzolo, et. al., are waiting in
the wings to seek Judge Pro's approval to continue the status quo?
We'll know on June 2nd.
This story is far
Mike Signorelli listens to
Attorney Brad Jerbic
(AmericanMafia.com photo by Mike Christ)
According to City Attorney Jerbic, "There is a desperate
keep the old regime."
looked on in horror, Jerbic
continued, "Persons associated with Rick Rizzolo are
infiltrate the club."
owner is bound and
determined to keep people close to him employed."
While I watched Jerbic almost fall on his sword, I couldn't help but
wonder why this same former
owner was not in jail for contempt of court after ducking out on five
depositions in a civil harassment law
Could Rizzolo have that
juice? But that question was asked in last week's INSIDE
VEGAS, and the answer is becoming clear.
And when Sgt. Ray Alexander of Metro Special Investigations told about
a man named Charles Platz (sp) occupying Rick Rizzolo's personal office
and telling undercover officers he was a partner in the Crazy Horse,
the Council didn't raise an eyebrow.
Nor did they when Alexander said his investigation could not verify
that Signorelli had secured the $45 million he said he had to purchase
The Council just voted in lockstep as Goodman and his mob cronies
watched their every move.
At that moment it became painfully clear why this
town is called Sin City.
you would like to watch this amazing hearing on streaming video,
then slide the dial to 2:47.
Copyright © Steve Miller