| 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:

Burn the place down?

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
May 8, 2006

LAS VEGAS - While the Nevada Development Authority, Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and Nevada Resort Association continue spending millions of dollars monthly trying to entice new high tech industry and tourism to our city, a few thugs have successfully redefined the image of our town into a Mob controlled, dangerous, lawless place unfit for families, or the faint of heart.

This week, the local press was distracted by the conviction of four of our Clark County Commissioners on thirty counts of conspiracy, wire fraud and extortion in the "Operation G-Sting" case. However, as former commissioners Dario Herrera and Mary Kincaid Chauncy are hauled off to prison, few in Sin City realize this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Following their startling court victory Friday afternoon, reinvigorated Federal prosecutors now have the opportunity and encouragement to concentrate their full energies on indicting and prosecuting other corrupted local politicos including former Las Vegas City Councilman Michael McDonald once named a "Subject" in Operation G-Sting, and considered the person who arranged the bribing of the Commissioners. 

Buffalo Jim Barrier disses Newport Beach, Calif. restaurant
suspected of hidden Mob ownership. Barrier holds copy
of Orange County Weekly showing  O.C. Sheriff Michael
Carona with Rick Rizzolo. Carona  is accused of having
Vegas Mob ties. His political opponents are using his
association with Rizzolo to help unseat him in the up-
coming election. Rizzolo is suspected of being a
hidden owner in the Ritz.  (Photo by Jerrica Barrier)

McDonald was mentioned dozens of times in the wire taps that just convicted two of his colleagues.

In addition to McDonald, Clark County District Court Judge Nancy Siatta has been mentioned as a person of interest in the FBI's ongoing investigation of local political corruption coined "Operation Crazy Horse;" the original federal investigation that inspired the highly successful "G-Sting" prosecutions in San Diego and Las Vegas.
For years, at least one Vegas judge, several high level police officers, the District Attorney, and the Mayor have been accused of aiding and abetting Rick Rizzolo, the purported owner of the Crazy Horse Too, in alleged racketeering enterprises. The FBI in wire taps of Rizzolo discovered that McDonald had been taking $5,000 per month for over eight years from Michael Galardi, the owner of a rival topless bar. When the Feds started following McDonald, an ex-Vegas cop, they discovered he was mentoring at least four Clark County Commissioners and several of his cop friends in the art of shaking down adult business owners.

After monitoring McDonald's every move and word, the Feds temporarily shifted their attention from Rizzolo to the County Commissioners and Galardi, and four years later secured five convictions after Galardi and Commissioner Erin Kenny pleaded guilty and turned Federal witness. The jury last Friday said they believed Galardi and Kenny's testimony. The jury's vote of confidence inspired Galardi to tell reporters he's about to blow the whistle on more crooked LV officials who bilked him out of millions of dollars in bribes. McDonald is at the head of the list, but there are bigger fish to fry.

   Rick Rizzolo and Rocco Lombardo on Strip with unidentified girls

Mob lawyer-turned-Mayor Oscar Goodman has for years been protecting his former law clients at the Crazy Horse Too. Joey Cusumano, a suspected hidden owner of the bar along with now indicted Joey "The clown" Lombardo, another suspected Crazy Horse owner, were two of Goodman's most lucrative clients. Lombardo's brother Rocco is a Crazy Horse executive. Another former Mob client and Crazy Horse manager, Vinnie Faraci, has hired Goodman's law partner David Chesnoff to defend him. Its also anticipated that Goodman's two attorney sons will be enlisted if additional Crazy Horse goons are indicted.

In other words, the Mayor's partner and sons stand to make a fortune in legal fees in the near future unless the Feds let the thugs plead guilty and bargain for lighter sentences. No wonder Goodman let the place stay open after hundreds of requests to shut it down!

Crazy Horse manager Robert "Bobby" D'Apice
                       (LV Review-Journal photo)

Gus Flangas, attorney for Buffalo Jim Barrier, Rizzolo's next door neighbor, filed an 18 page MOTION FOR WRIT OF ATTACHMENT AND GARNISHMENT against Barrier's landlord, Rizzolo, to secure at least a million dollars in the likely event Barrier wins his four year old Harassment lawsuit.

Since 2002, Rizzolo has allegedly been harassing Barrier's auto garage customers and employees to try to convince Barrier to move out to make way for an expansion of the Crazy Horse. However, Barrier, a former pro wrestler who has been in the same location since 1976, wouldn't budge, and instead mocked Rizzolo every chance he got while winning multiple small claims lawsuits.

His fortitude landed him on the front page of the Las Vegas Mercury with baseball bat in hand. Later, Rizzolo would testify that Barrier intimidated some of his bouncers -- goons known for beating the crap out of Crazy Horse customers who balked at signing inflated credit card tabs.

In 2005, Barrier was named "Las Vegas Most Colorful Character" by the Review-Journal for standing up to the Mob, among other things. The publicity landed him a part in a Toyota commercial.

Buffalo Jim Barrier lampooning Rizzolo's nixed expansion plan artist rendering

To publicize his MOTION FOR WRIT OF ATTACHMENT AND GARNISHMENT, Barrier drove to Newport Beach, California. There, he had this photo taken in front of a restaurant that Rizzolo is suspected of secretly owning. When asked by restaurant employees why he was there, Barrier reportedly told them "I'm a great fan of the Mob, and I like to have my picture taken at Mob hangouts."

Barrier held up a copy of the Orange County Weekly that featured a full page photo of Rizzolo hugging O.C. Sheriff Michael Carona. The story about the cozy relationship between the top cop and the hoodlum also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, and Orange County Register, and was used on political billboards in the LA area by opponents of Carona who faces an uphill reelection battle.

The bad press continues.

On Sunday, Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith predicted that Rizzolo might take a deal the government has reportedly placed on the table to save the expense of a five month trial involving hundreds of witnesses. The deal would reportedly involve Rizzolo selling the club, but it would not guarantee that the buyer would be any better, or prevent a close associate of the suspected hidden owners from taking over.

Many observers consider the reported sale option totally unacceptable. The only punishment they consider fair would be to permanently close the business and put Rizzolo and his goons in prison for protracted sentences. The Crazy Horse is known for hurting or killing its patrons over the years. Many believe the punishment should better fit the crimes.

John L. Smith wrote If, as expected, the ink dries on his deal with the federal government sometime this week, the owner of the Crazy Horse Too topless club will plead guilty to a tax fraud charge, serve a 10- to 16-month sentence with up to half that time under house arrest, pay up to $15 million in fines and civil penalties, and sell his Industrial Road club... If the deal goes through, 17 other defendants will be included in the global settlement, most receiving no jail time... Even Bobby D'Apice, the man suspected of snapping the neck of Crazy Horse Too customer and Kansas City, Kan., tourist Kirk Henry, an action that generated a bruising litigation brought by former federal prosecutor Don Campbell and helped open the door to the criminal RICO investigation, is in line to serve fewer than four years in prison. He'll avoid watching Henry from his paraplegic's wheelchair testify that his neck was broken over an $80 bar tab dispute. From such testimony are decade-long prison sentences made.

(Kirk Henry has reportedly been offered a $10 million dollar settlement from Rizzolo.)

However, another source familiar with the players tells INSIDE VEGAS: Rizzolo has strung out the government leading them to believe that CH2 is a saleable asset and that they (Feds) and Kirk Henry will be paid pursuant to the negotiated settlement terms. Rizzolo's claims that there are many potential suitors for the club is just a lie. Rizzolo is perpetuating this lie to avoid an inevitable receivership action by the Feds which will keep him from the daily cash flow. Once the Feds "wise up" to Rizzolo's agenda, I'm sure a receiver will be placed in the club.  I heard that Rizzolo said he would burn the club down rather than lose it to Henry or the government. 

Burn the club down? Keep in mind that in 1999, following an illegal 6,000 square foot expansion, the Las Vegas Fire Department did not conduct a reevaluation of the club's fire capacity. At the time, Rizzolo was schmoozing then-Mayor Jan Jones, while Councilman Mike McDonald was living rent free in a golf course villa owned by the family of Black Book member Joey Cusumano. When neighbors of the club complained that there was not enough parking, Jones shut them up at the public hearing. When it was learned that the fire capacity, the criteria that establishes the number of required parking spaces, had not been reevaluated, City Hall offered no explanation. The neighbors sued the city government, but a friendly judge dismissed the case.

To the best of my knowledge, the Crazy Horse Too never got a fire inspection, so it would not surprise me if the club also has no sprinkler system!

   Barrier stands in front his his garage located next to topless bar

If Rizzolo does cut a deal with Feds and is unable to access the daily cash flow of the club, I highly recommend that Barrier make sure his fire insurance policy is in good standing.

Also, regarding the daily cash flow, Rizzolo's worst nightmare is being nominated for inclusion in Nevada's Black Book.

He's well known on the Strip as a "Whale;" a degenerate gambler who often looses to up to one million dollars in a single night!

Because of this, it's not expected that Rizzolo will be nominated for inclusion in Nevada's Black Book of persons barred from entering casinos, even though he pleaded guilty to beating a patron almost to death with a baseball bat!

There are no "Whales" listed in the Black Book -- and for good reason. If a brave Gaming Control Board member were to nominate a "Whale" for inclusion, the entire Strip would come to the slimeball's defense! And it's those same guys who make the political campaign contributions that keep the politicians who appoint the Gaming Commissioners and Board Members in public office.

When asked if Mike McDonald would testify against Rizzolo, on April 1, his lawyer Richard Wright told the Review-Journal, McDonald would testify against Rizzolo at a potential trial only if he is offered immunity from prosecution.

Innocent people don't need immunity! I wonder what Galardi and Rizzolo thought when they read Wright's words? It would be fascinating to hear what McDonald has to say about Rizzolo; Mayor Goodman; his predecessor ex-Mayor Jan Jones; several Metro cops; and our compromised District Attorney David Roger.

This is why so many people want "Operation Crazy Horse" to go to a full trial with few if any plea bargains. If so, McDonald and Galardi could put away many more crooks who now look like they might get off the hook if Rizzolo, et al, are allowed to make a deal.

After the phenomenal success the prosecutors enjoyed in "G-Sting," this is no time to cut bait.

* 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