| Home | Books and Gifts | Photo Album | Mob Busters | Mafia Site Search |
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 is going to prison - but he still got away with murder!
Vegas strip club owner pleads guilty to tax evasion, and his corporation
pleads guilty to racketeering, but the story is far from over

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
May 22, 2006

LAS VEGAS - Crazy Horse Too owner Rick Rizzolo last week cut a sweetheart deal with the Feds.
He did so reluctantly because had he not cut the deal, his father, sister, and brother would have faced prosecution for racketeering, extortion, robbery, and tax evasion. He personally copped out only to tax evasion, however, his corporation, The Power Company, was allowed to plead guilty to racketeering. Because its a privately held corporation in which his father, brother, and sister are the only stockholders, the corporate guilty plea was the same as individual guilty pleas.

Bart Rizzolo, Ralph Rizzolo, Annette Rizzolo-Patterson
                 (AmericanMafia Photo by Mike Christ)

Rizzolo now faces up to 16 months in prison, will pay $1.7 million in back taxes, $5 million in fines, and his corporation will pay beating victim Kirk Henry $10 million to settle an attempted murder lawsuit. Rizzolo also agreed to sell the Crazy Horse within a year, but his family will be allowed to continue skimming its' profits until the sale goes through. (Amazingly, the Federal Government did not appoint a receiver to monitor the cash flow until the club is sold).

Rizzolo is a degenerate gambler referred to on the Strip as a "Whale." To be in this category, he must have access to almost unlimited amounts of cash. For this one reason alone, the Federal Government should immediately appoint a receiver.

Dead men can't testify

 In 1995, Scott David Fau was beaten behind the Crazy Horse Too. Fau died several hours later. At a purposely-delayed wrongful death trial, the assailants were identified as
club bouncers Darren Bray, Joe Blasco, Paul Luca, and Mo McKenna. Since the January 2003 trial, Blasco, Luca, and McKenna met untimely deaths. Ex-cop Bray is the only living Crazy Horse employee involved in the beating. One other witness, Dan Kennedy, was sued for defamation by Rizzolo in 2000 following a taped interview wherein he described the beating.

The same year Rizzolo sued Kennedy, he filed two more defamation lawsuits -- one against his next door neighbor Buffalo Jim Barrier for accusing him of racketeering, and the other against Steve Miller saying I had accused him of "illegal and unethical acts." His Barrier lawsuit is ongoing, and his lawsuit against me was dismissed.
At the time, the Fau case was pending trial in the court of Clark County District Judge Nancy M. Saitta. By coincidence, the defamation lawsuits were also assigned to her court even though both Barrier and Kennedy were expected to be called as witnesses in the Fau case.
Never in the history of Sin City jurisprudence has a judge accepted defamation cases brought against key witnesses in another case in her court! Such an unprecedented action is guaranteed to have a chilling effect on any witness. To prove my point, at the Fau trial, Mr. Kennedy was no where to be found!
I believe Kennedy may have been threatened with physical violence, or believed he would exacerbate the pending defamation action if he testified, or he may have been bribed by Rizzolo to not testify. Nonetheless, without his testimony, the case was lost.
   Scott Fau
(Morgue photo)
Mrs. Fau was unable to afford to take depositions, or hire a pathologist as an expert witness to testify how a person can die of blunt force trauma several hours after being repeatedly kicked in the head. At trial, Judge Saitta instructed the jury to not consider the after effects of blunt force trauma in their deliberations. To no one's surprise, the jury returned with a verdict within three hours in favor of the Crazy Horse.
Prior to the Fau trial, editorials and articles I authored in a weekly newspaper forced Judge Saitta to recuse from Rizzolo's defamation lawsuit against Barrier; Barrier's harassment lawsuit against Rizzolo; and two other cases involving Rizzolo including his action against me. However, she steadfastly held on to the Fau case even after repeated motions for her to step down.

But before she recused, she sanctioned Jim Barrier $4,500 because his attorney was late to court. After stating on the record that "Rick Rizzolo has a good name in the community," she told Barrier that his attorney inconvenienced Rizzolo's lawyers Dean Patti and Tony Sgro, and ordered Barrier to pay their legal fees. Her "good name in the community" comment also caused court observers to question her objectivity in the upcoming defamation actions.
After Judge Saitta recused from the other four cases involving Rick Rizzolo, they were for the first time randomly assigned to other judges.

  Judge Nancy M. Saitta          

Today, Judge Saitta is running for a seat on the Nevada Supreme Court...

During the G-Sting trial, Michael Galardi told the jury that Rizzolo bragged that he had "taken care of Saitta." The jury found most of Galardi's testimony to be credible and convicted several public officials based on much of what he had to say. Had Rizzolo not plea bargained, it would've been interesting to hear what he might have had to say about his pal Judge Saitta. 

The million dollar question

As in the Galardi case that just wrapped up in Federal Court that convicted three local public officials of accepting bribes, now another topless bar owner (Rizzolo) has pleaded guilty to a felony. Last year, Michael Galardi did the same as Rizzolo and plea bargained. In the past when an adult business owner has pleaded guilty to a felony, the Las Vegas City Council has levied a hefty fine as they did with Michael's father Jack Galardi.

      Tony Sgro, Vinnie Faraci
      (AmericanMafia Photo by Mike Christ)

One difference between the Galardi and Rizzolo cases is that Crazy Horse general manager Vinnie Faraci is one of LV Mayor Oscar Goodman's law partner David Chesnoff's clients, and Crazy Horse executive Al Rapuano along with the Rizzolo family are clients of Goodman protégés, Patti and Sgro.

Oscar Goodman was also Rick Rizzolo's criminal defense attorney in 1985 when Rizzolo pleaded guilty to beating a man with a baseball bat. The man died three years later of complications caused by his injuries. At the time, Goodman was famous for requiring a half million dollar retainer before he would take a client. (Mayor Goodman has never disclosed this relationship during City Council meetings that benefitted the Crazy Horse, which should be a violation of state ethics law.)

Another glaring difference between the two cases is that the Galardis never beat up or killed anyone.

The same circumstances that inspired Goodman to fine Jack Galardi one million dollars in 2004, i.e. Galardi's son Michael pleaded guilty to a felony, are with us again. The only difference is that Galardi has never been a Goodman Law Firm client.

    Rizzolo and Al Rapuano
(AmericanMafia Photo by Mike Christ)

In fairness, Goodman should now demand another million dollar fine, but this time from his friends and former clients Rick Rizzolo, Al Rapuano, Rocco Lombardo, and Vinnie Faraci. The taxpayers deserve the money after our city has been humiliated nationally.

Our dirty laundry aired in So. California
A political TV ad for an Orange County Sheriff candidate is now playing throughout Southern California. It features a photo of O.C. Sheriff Mike Carona being hugged by Rizzolo in the April 27 O.C. Weekly story "Dirty, Stupid or Both" by R. Scott Moxley.
This is not the kind of publicity Las Vegas wants in Southern California, our most lucrative tourist market.

The next rounds in the Rizzolo case
Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez will soon be asked to dismiss Rizzolo's defamation of character lawsuit against Buffalo Jim Barrier because it would be impossible to prove that Rizzolo's "character" could be defamed.
Prior to that motion, on June 12, Judge Gonzalez has agreed to hear a Motion to Show Cause why a Prejudgment Writ of Attachment and Garnishment of a portion of Rizzolo's assets should not be granted in favor of Barrier in the likely event the garage owner wins his upcoming multi-million dollar harassment lawsuit

                      Rick Rizzolo and Rocco Lombardo
                      on Strip during happier times
Comments from readers:

You have succeeded in your messages against crime and corruption yesterday, and all the days before.  When you went home last night, your job was over, for the day.  Today, you have a new job to pursue!  It may be the same one as yesterday, but the newness comes with each sunrise, as being refreshed is to have new energy to ring the bells again.  Passions..... are eternal! 
Lee (Colorado)

     Rizzolo and Sheriff Mike Carona

Congratulations on your tireless efforts on the Rizzolo case. I quess when you go fishing it's better to bring home a partly filled boat, than an empty take heart from one who was totally ripped off in the club ($23,000). Glad I didn't make a scene...but was very naive to think my objections, letters etc. would be acted on by the Better Business Bureau, District Attorney, police, or Nevada Consumer Affairs. Live and learn I quess. I have not been back to Vegas since my testimony (before the Fed. Grand Jury) three years ago...nor do I ever plan to go back. Thanks for your tireless crusading from a fellow crusader.
Tom (California)

                      Camille Fau


There is no Statute of Limitations on murder.

Camille Fau (Widow of Scott David Fau)


We win ONLY if Rizzolo is convicted of 2nd degree murder...I am not aware of specific items brought against him in his plea agreement, but it is still a fact that a guy ultimately DIED of injuries suffered from the blunt trauma of a baseball bat wielded by Rizzolo. Also, if he only gets 16 months with half of it under "house arrest" it should be at SUPERMAX in either Colorado or California. If Sgro brings up probation, I think they just ought make him do 10 years without parole "hard time." How the F--K can a guy get "country club" considering all the crimes that have been committed? Prostitution, drugs, robbery, theft, murder, conspiracy, bribery, and the beat goes on. There better be some heavy hitting happening on Oscar, McDonald, Jones.
Mike (Las Vegas)


Dogged reporting lands a very corrupt man in jail. He
should feel lucky he is getting off this easily.
RL (Arizona)

I like Rick Rizzolo. He goes to Piero's every Thanksgiving and feeds hundreds of needy people. And he treats them with dignity. - Mayor Oscar Goodman (Las Vegas)

Congratulations! I read this morning, that all 17 defendants signed the plea agreement. I think the main players got away with a sweet deal, to say the least. Nevertheless, none of this would have ever happened without your bulldog perseverance. The families of his victims should be very grateful and the community should give you a metal. Most people see injustice and just sit around watching it happen. You made sure that something was being done about it.

What is interesting is that the government is willing to allow the guilty parties to continue running the club until it's sold. Rizzolo recently told someone, that the report that “he only has a year to sell the club” isn't true. He said, that “he could conceivably own it for an indefinite period of time”. Example: if he is unable to find a buyer who can be approved for licensing. Let's say after 6 months he sells it to someone. The sale is contingent on licensing approval (which can take up to a year to obtain). Let's further say that the buyer gets denied at the 11th month. Rizzolo can now take the club back and put it on the market again. The government will allow him more time to sell it and to get the buyer approved. For the sake of speculation, let's say that Rick wants to hold on to the club for an extended period of time, because after all, he still gets the profits until it's sold. All he has to do is set an unrealistic price (like the one that he's asking $30 - $40 million). In this case, no one will ever buy it. Does the word “loophole” come to mind?

In a similar case in Atlanta (Gold Club - Steve Kaplan), the government took possession of the property immediately upon the plea signing. They closed the club, tore down the building and sold the property to a developer, with a covenant that the property could never be used for a strip club again. In most cases of business fraud, the business entity goes down with its operators. But that all happens in the real world. After all, this is Las Vegas.
Best regards,
Al (Florida)

Do you suppose the Feds would make such a stupid deal if they didn't have something better up their sleeve?  Hard to say, I bet.  Their real targets should be McDonald, Saitta and the ole Gin Mill... Oscar!  Then, next week, they can get the rest of them. There's just too many "deals" going on.

John (Las Vegas)

Hi Steve,
Yes I agree Goodman should fine Rizzolo. Then Goodman should send the money to ME!
What a bunch of morons. I used to watch Warner Bros. cartoons for entertainment that was totally outrageous. Now I read your emails about Las Vegas. What has been going on there is just as insane as any cartoon I have seen lately. Ok?
David (Arizona)

I heard that Rizzolo is trying to stall the government by putting the club into contract for sale, then killing the deals by finding unreasonable escape clauses and claiming the buyers didn't perform. This has happened twice now; with Brugnara and another group (two weeks ago). He's using this tactic to keep possession of the club and continue his activities and avoid a receiver from being placed in the property by the federal govt. (by showing them he is "acting in good faith" to find a buyer  - to get the govt. and Henry their money. Of course Rizzolo has no intention of doing any of the above or he would have closed the deal with Brugnara in January.  I can't believe that the govt. is allowing this guy to remain open for business and continue to lie to them about "sale of the club" to stall potential receivership action by the govt. I heard that Rizzolo said he would burn the club down rather than lose it to Henry or the govt.
Joseph (Las Vegas)

So it seems that Mr. Rizzolo and company have somewhat won the battle. However perception has its price as in anything in life. He will lose the WAR.

After all plea bargains have been accepted by the courts and all defendants have been convicted, some will serve a bit of time, and others including Rick will get probation.
This is where the fun starts for the Government. First off, all convicted have lived large lifestyles for a very long time, and not to mention, never ever had to ANSWER to anyone.
The government will make sure that the key players get the worse probation officers known to mankind. They will make the nights of getting drunk and gambling and partying go away.
Doing Illegal drugs and sleeping with a new chick every other night will also be gone. The days and nights of traveling anywhere at anytime will be gone. The days and nights of going out and buying anything they want - if they want to buy a new car or home - they better check in. If they want to do anything of any large scale, they better check-in with their P.O. Life will become a real check-in and check-out. I know all about it.

The days and nights of his new best friend knocking on his door anytime he or she wants to check up on him, saying "Hey Rick, please piss in this cup for me, I realize its 5:00 AM, but oh well, life is tough," will become a real drag.

Do you think that Mr. Rizzolo, who for his whole life has never had to answer to anyone before now, will tolerate this person in his life for at least 3-5 years BREAKING his balls every chance they get?
Ken (Las Vegas)


I feel sorry for whomever sent you that email... it screams of sour grapes. I am not saying anything about the plea bargain one way or the other... but the person who sent you that email is... dare I say naive??... Come on....If you can get the deal, what makes you think you can't get the right PO's? A deal is a deal... and in this case, it appears the government got the short end of the stick.... take it or leave it.
Gus (Ohio)

Though I believe the punishment doesn't fit the crime, I certainly hope the Nevada Gaming Control Board nominates Rizzolo for the Black Book, the Feds appoint a receiver to run the club so that the skimming can't continue. and the crooked politicians, cops, DA's, and judges who helped him keep this criminal enterprise in business, are taken down.

In the meantime, next door neighbor Buffalo Jim Barrier is standing by with his trusty Nikon if any more hapless souls end up bloodied, crippled, or dead, or the place mysteriously burns down during the time the Feds have given the Rizzolo's to sell the joint. If anything untoward happens, my readers will be the first to know.

* If you would like to receive Steve's frequent E-Briefs about Las Vegas' scandals, click here: Steve Miller's Las Vegas E-Briefs

Copyright © Steve Miller

email Steve Miller at:
div. of PLR International
P.O. Box 23
Cleveland, OH 44072-0023

Copyright © 1998 - 2006 PLR International