Circuit Court of Appeals to hear
exaggerated claims about
of the Crazy Horse Too strip
A familiar name is hired
to lobby for
new zoning to reopen the
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
June 18, 2012
LAS VEGAS - On May 18, 2012, attorneys
for Lisa Rizzolo, ex-wife of convicted racketeer
Rick Rizzolo, filed a 32
page APPEAL with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
Lisa wants the circuit court to decide if United States Senior Judge Philip
Pro was correct on April 19, 2012 when he issued a six
page ORDER stating:
a tort committed during the marriage by one spouse is considered a community
debt, and the entirety of the community property is subject to a judgment
against the tortfeasor spouse, even if the other spouse was not a named
party to the suit.
Kirk Henry was injured in September 2001, Plaintiffs filed suit against
Rick Rizzolo in October 2001, and the Rizzolos divorced in June 2005. Because
the conduct giving rise to Plaintiffs’ claim against Rick Rizzolo occurred
during the marriage, Plaintiffs’ claim against Rick Rizzolo is a community
Lisa Rizzolo’s share of the community property is 'subject to process by
a creditor holding a claim against only one tenant' as set forth in NUFTA
(Nevada Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act) § 112.150(2)(c), and therefore
falls within the definition of an 'asset' that can be fraudulently transferred.
Moreover, to the extent the divorce settlement inequitably divided the
community assets and Rick Rizzolo fraudulently transferred a portion of
his share of the community property to Lisa Rizzolo through the divorce,
Rick Rizzolo’s share of the community property that was fraudulently transferred
to Lisa Rizzolo is also subject to the judgment.
is so even though Rick Rizzolo settled the claim and breached the settlement
agreement after the divorce. Married couples may not avoid community debts
by (1) making fraudulent transfers through a divorce, (2) settling the
community claim against the spouse who fraudulently transferred community
assets, and (3) breaching the settlement agreement, leaving the spouse
who fraudulently transferred community assets without sufficient means
to satisfy the liability owed to the third party creditor.
this Court already has determined a reasonable jury could find the Rizzolos’
divorce constituted a fraudulent transfer, the Court will deny Lisa Rizzolo’s
Motion on this basis."
Ms. Rizzolo's primary appeal argument is
that she received the short end of the stick in the division of her and
Rick's community property. She claims that the then-operating Crazy Horse
Too that Rick individually received in the divorce settlement was valued
at the time of her divorce "in excess of $30 million," an outrageous claim
that could only be supported if the new owners continued robbing
and beating patrons as was the Rizzolo's modus operandi. Lisa claims
that what she received in her settlement was worth a fraction of what her
ex-husband got, therefore she should be allowed to keep the community property
that was derived from Rick's criminal activities including cash and assets
stashed in the Cook Islands out of the reach of Kirk Henry and the IRS.
Not mentioned in her claims is that a
straw man appeared in 2007 to run the club for the Rizzolos after Rick
began his first shortened prison sentence based on his plea
bargain agreement to stay out of the adult business for the rest of
his life. When it was discovered that the crime family was still in charge,
the City of Las Vegas on July 1, 2007 revoked the club's liquor license
the club to go dark. One year later with no business operating, the
adult use zoning expired. Then the recession hit and six years after her
divorce the club sold at auction to a California
investor (Canico Capitol Group, LLC) for only $3 million.
Lisa's attorneys ask the Ninth Circuit
Court to reverse Judge Pro's ruling because:
"The Crazy Horse Too which was awarded
to Rick Rizzolo pursuant to the decree of divorce, had a value in excess
of $30 Million at the time the decree of divorce was entered. Essentially,
Ms. Rizzolo received the marital residence in Las Vegas, Nevada, appraised
at $944,700.00, a house in Newport Beach, California appraised at $1.4
Million and a condo in Chicago, Illinois, with a market value of $192,638.00
in 2003 as well as the Oppenheimer accounts in the amount of $7.2 Million.
At the time of the divorce, the Crazy Horse Too was worth substantially
more than the property received by Ms. Rizzolo in the divorce."
Unfortunately, Lisa's argument is full
of holes. For instance, she neglected to mention the whereabouts of $5
million dollars she and Rick "borrowed" on October 26, 2005 from Security
Pacific Bank of California using the strip club as collateral and never
paying back one cent (see the Declaration
of FBI Agent Anthony J. Mace). Her unpaid loan along with many other
questionable loans made by Security Pacific caused the bank to go under
and the FDIC (taxpayers) to foot the bill to protect depositors.
Lisa's $30 million dollar claim is based
on the following "offers" that never panned out.
first "offer" was from Las Vegas restaurant owner Michael Signorelli shown
looking at his attorney Jay Brown in this Las Vegas Review-Journal
photo by Clint Carlson taken during a city council hearing when Brown vouched
that Signorelli had the funds to pay $45 million for the strip club he
was purportedly leasing and operating while Rick Rizzolo was in jail.
Following the hearing, City Attorney Brad
Jerbic filed this report
about Signorelli's ability to purchase the Crazy Horse Too:
"Signorelli, on multiple occasions,
has informed the City staff and the City Council that he has legitimate
commercial financing for the $45 Million purchase of Crazy Horse Too. LVMPD
has repeatedly asked for evidence of this. No evidence has been forthcoming...
LVMPD has been unable to verify any source of funding for the purchase
of the business."
It was later confirmed
Rizzolos were still operating the club in violation of city law while
Signorelli reportedly slept in the back office.
Then in October 2007, a confidential source
in the local law office of Dean Patti and Tony Sgro slipped INSIDE VEGAS
a confidential letter sent to
casino operator Steve Wynn explaining that all deals for the purchase of
the Crazy Horse Too had fallen through:
"Other buyers were also approved,
but to date, no buyer has performed its contract. The contract rights of
Imperial Share Holdings Corp. and White Drive Acquisitions, LLC were terminated
by mutual consent. To date, the seller has not notified The Mortgage Broker,
Inc. that its contract is rescinded since it has tried in good faith to
purchase the property. That notice could be given at any time since The
Mortgage Broker, Inc. has failed to perform. At the present time the United
States and the seller would still be willing to allow The Mortgage Broker,
Inc. to revive its contract upon the deposit of $34,200,000 into the Nevada
Title Company escrow established for this transaction."
No deposit was forthcoming and the club
went into foreclosure. So it's hard to imagine the Crazy Horse Too was
ever worth what Lisa claims, and that her stash in the Cook Islands and
two luxurious houses in the U.S. are fully subject to seizure per Judge
Brown is currently representing parties attempting to reopen
the Crazy Horse Too. He has asked Las Vegas City Councilman Bob
Coffin (left) to sponsor an ordinance to allow the property to regain its
lost zoning. Coincidentally, Brown and his law partner former LV Mayor
Oscar Goodman were once Rick
Rizzolo's corporate agents, and Goodman for years served as Rizzolo's
criminal defense attorney. Based on a July 10, 2006 ethics
complaint filed by Steve Miller, Oscar Goodman was forced to recuse
for 18 months on council items related to the Crazy Horse Too thereby removing
an obstacle that cleared the way for the city to close the club one year
after my complaint was filed.
has agreed with some reservation to bring a new
ordinance before the city council, but with the caveat that Rick Rizzolo
and any of his associates not be involved in the future operation of the
strip club. Coffin is guaranteed to have plenty of eyes including my own
watching Industrial Road to make sure that doesn't happen.
In response, the
applicant wrote this letter to City Attorney Brad Jerbic promising to abide
by Councilman Coffin's admonition:
Lets hope so!
Based on Coffin's
reputation after decades in public office, few who know him doubt his sincerity
or would try to deceive him. He's known for doing his homework and when
I reminded him of Jay Brown's less than forthright statements made to a
previous city council about Signorelli's ability to raise $45 million,
Coffin tersely responded, "I have read some of your columns to refresh
I'm sure he has...
If the property is
rezoned and the business allowed to reopen under new ownership, the city
will again have to waive parking requirements for the new owners as it
did in 1999. Similar 26,000 square foot public facilities are required
by city law to provide at least 300 parking spaces. The old Crazy Horse
Too was required to provide only 134 resulting in a
lawsuit filed in 1999 by neighboring property owners who correctly
claimed Rizzolo was given a political
favor allowing him to forego legally required traffic and parking studies
causing his patron's cars to park on nearby private property and monopolize
curbside spaces at adjacent low income apartment buildings. The lawsuit
was later dismissed on a (political) technicality, however, the current
city council is fully aware of its content and validity.
It's estimated that Lisa Rizzolo is holding
cash and assets worth over $15 million dollars much of which she and her
ex-husband fraudulently transferred off shore. The Ninth Circuit Court
is expected to rule on Lisa's appeal sometime this fall. A similar appeal
filed by Rick Rizzolo was unceremoniously disposed
on April 3, 2012 by the same court. Its reported that Lisa is awaiting
her appeal's ruling at her beach house on Ocean Front Drive in Newport
Beach, California, an asset that may be subject to seizure following the