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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:

Straw Men On Parade
"Rick wants to sell to me because I remind him
of the young Rick." -
Athanasios Karahalios

Then "the young Rick" welched on a $400 loan!

$1 MILLION DOLLAR Lien Placed on Crazy Horse Too

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
June 25, 2007

            Signorelli                     Karahalios                   Doumani
LAS VEGAS - So now a naive 32 year old Miami party thrower suddenly appears on the scene bragging about being "the young Rick (Rizzolo)," and about his friendship with Rizzolo's crony Fred Doumani.

These are qualities that might just be enough to get him approved as the next "owner" of a troubled strip club -- at least in the eyes of the 
Las Vegas City Council, but the Federal Court may not be so easily impressed.

Chief Federal Court Judge Philip Pro and the City Council have given Rizzolo who sits in a Los Angeles jail serving time for racketeering, until midnight June 30 to close on the sale of his infamous strip club the Crazy Horse Too.  For years the scene of numerous acts of violence and at least one murder of a patron who refused to sign inflated credit card tabs, the bar has less than a week before it's expected to go dark.

Karahalios, aka "Tommy Karas," said he put $3 million into escrow last week for the purchase of the property and liquor license from Mike Signorelli who is now becoming famous for being the first straw man who with the Mayor's help stalled the bar's closure and subsequent liquidation for almost a year -- a year of what many suspect was a massive skimming operation.

According to a report in Sunday's Las Vegas Sun, Karas has welched on the deal -- something he's done in the past. More on that later.
If Karas were telling the truth, will he be able to verify where his money is coming from to satisfy LV Metro Police, the City Attorney, and most important, the Federal Court? Or could his backers be persons with present ties to the Crazy Horse? Judge Pro made it crystal clear that no relative or associate of Rizzolo could invest, or anyone else associated with organized crime.

Department of Justice SealThe United States Department of Justice, District of Nevada  
Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Additionally, defendants’ plea agreements require The Power Company, Inc. to sell The Crazy Horse Too by June 1, 2007. The Government has the right to disapprove the sale if the buyer is a close relative or ongoing business partner of Rizzolo’s, is a felon, or has business dealings with organized crime members or groups.

So who is Tommy Karas? Where will his money come from if he's telling the truth?

This is the same young man who last November borrowed -- then failed to pay back a $400 loan from Buffalo Jim Barrier. He said a local plumber would not accept his personal check after his water heater broke in a rented Turnberry condo.
Very little is known of Karas or his backers.  Is he simply another Vegas blow hard dead beat who welches on personal loans? Or is he a multi-millionaire who arranges lucrative investments for legitimate businessmen? Or is he the second straw man intended to keep the skim alive for another year or so?
At dinner before asking for the loan, Karahalios told Barrier and I, "Rick wants to sell to me because I remind him of  'the young Rick.'"
Then Karahalios went on to brag about his friendship with Rizzolo's business associate Doumani whose son Fred Jr. appeared at last April's council meeting to be a character witness for Signorelli.

With such references, Barrier and I could only shake our heads in disbelief.

If "the young Rick" has somehow found $48 million dollars to buy Signorelli's position and gain the approval of Mayor Oscar Goodman's minions on the City Council (when he can't even pay back a $400 loan), and then the Federal Court somehow goes along with the plan, I believe Rizzolo and his La Cosa Nostra (LCN) associates will continue their reign over that  infamous converted warehouse on Industrial Road.

Here's how I see it. The balance of the $48 million will get returned to the "investors" with interest, less approximately $23 million owed to lien holders including the IRS, Kirk Henry, the bank, and Buffalo Jim Barrier. Even the capitol gains tax will get paid if the status quo can continue operating the joint. Its a small price to pay for such a gold mine. Of course the investors will only be buying a fraction of what they thought they were buying, with Rizzolo and company still running the place behind the scenes. How's that for an over active imagination?

Was Karas being used as a ploy to stall forfeiture when he filed a bogus lawsuit against Rizzolo and Signorelli? It did make him look like a legitimate buyer, and it sure jacked up the price by documenting a purported $48 million offer!

Rizzolo has proven that the only way to make millions from a filthy blood and semen stained topless bar next to a funky auto garage is to extort his customers into signing inflated credit card tabs, or beat them if they refuse. Are his successors going to keep up the profitable tradition?

This story never seems to end... 
No wonder our town can't attract new, diverse, high tech industry. What industry other than gambling, pay day loan stores, escort services and massage parlors would want to locate in a political environment that allows this crap to go on?

Since the 1995 beating death of Scott David Fau, a long haul trucker who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, to the present day when 16 sadistic Crazy Horse employees including its' purported owner are incarcerated or about to be, the political corruption that keeps this place open is the biggest puzzle now facing Sin City, and it continues to make front page news while we have no other choice but to look on in disbelief. OFFICIALS say Mike Signorelli's plans to buy Crazy Horse Too on Industrial Road from Rick Rizzolo, who is in prison, have fallen through.

Photo by Steve Marcus / LAS VEGAS SUN

Deadline for club's sale looms
Crazy Horse Too's 'permanent' liquor
license in jeopardy

By Mark Hansel
Las Vegas Sun
June 19, 2007

Former Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Miller, a vocal critic of the council on this issue, says Signorelli is simply a front who allowed Rizzolo to continue to exercise control over the club even after he signed the plea deal requiring him to sell it.

Signorelli, Miller says, has used his position as a legitimate businessman to get approval for the liquor license and keep the business open - with Rizzolo still calling some of the shots.

"He never intended to buy it," Miller said.


In November 2006, Karahalios contacted me and Rizzolo's next door neighbor former pro wrestler Buffalo Jim Barrier. He said he was a qualified investor with connections to Doumani.
That piqued our interest so we invited him to dinner to learn more.
At Opa Greek Restaurant, we felt he was trying to get information from us, but we didn't offer any. We also took Barrier's attorney Gus Flangas with us. Barrier owns the garage next to the Crazy Horse and is suing Rizzolo for harassment.

At Opa, Mr. Flangas identified a man sitting alone at the next table eavesdropping on our conversation. Flangas said he believed he was a local private eye. 
The day after the dinner, Karahalios called me to ask for a $400 loan. I declined, but later that day against my advice he borrowed the $400 from Barrier. He said he'd pay it back that afternoon.

Barrier and his Buffalo On Parade, Helldorado Days, May 2007
                   ( photo by Mike Christ)

Days passed, and Barrier and I made several attempts to recover the money.

First we were told "I'll drop it off this afternoon." Then he said it would be the next day. By the end of the week, Karahalios stopped taking our calls and didn't answer his e-mails on the subject.  I have not heard from him since November, until his name surfaced as the new "buyer" of the Crazy Horse Too.
The most interesting thing I remember about him was his talking about being fond of Doumani. Doumani was once a target in an FBI investigation of his tenure as landlord of the mob-infested Tropicana Hotel during the 1970s.
Curiously, Karahalios demeaned Fred's son which made us think the younger Domani was his rival.
In my opinion, the mob will do anything to keep two reported suitcases of cash per day leaving the back door of the strip bar while anyone who's purported to be the "owner" sleeps in Rick Rizzolo's private office.
So far, neither the City Council nor Judge Philip Pro have scheduled a hearing on whether to place a receiver to liquidate the Crazy Horse -- something both entities promised to do after June 30 if the strip bar was not sold.

Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian's husband Jerry was observed frolicking at Rizzolo's going away party in Newport Beach with dozens of organized crime types. Lois' son and husband also have business dealings with two of Rizzolo's closest friends Fred Glusman and Tony Tegano.

When asked whether the Council would close the Crazy Horse, she said it's up to business license director Jim DiFiore to schedule the hearing.

She's completely wrong! It's the responsibility of an elected person to put the item on the July 11 council agenda. For the past several years, DiFiore has been aiding and abetting Rizzolo -- most likely at the behest of Rizzolo's former lawyer Mayor Oscar Goodman.
On May 31, Rizzolo's attorney Mark Hafer told the court that the Signorelli sale had fallen through. No one was surprised.

And while this folly continues, beating victim Kirk Henry, now a quadriplegic, hasn't received a dime from Rizzolo's fortune to pay his mounting medical bills.
The Crazy Horse is currently in Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese's ward, and was formerly in Tarkanian's ward before redistricting. The crimes occurred during their individual watch. Now either one of them is responsible for scheduling the hearing if Signorelli and Karas default on June 30.

Any buyer must place the entire purchase amount into escrow before June 30, and then go through a lengthy investigation.  Signorelli, as a favor from Goodman, did not have to complete the investigation before taking over the business. He at least had an existing liquor license in the city which may excuse that, but Karas does not. So to be fair to every other liquor license holder who could not operate their business prior to completion of their investigation, Karas should not be granted an unfair privilege just because Rizzolo is a friend of the Mayor and a Councilwoman's husband.

Or a receiver can be placed to run the business. However, receivers are in the business of making money and they have no incentive to quickly sell a property. They are paid a percentage of the gross and usually use the excuse that they are not getting "full market value" offers. These guys are notoriously corrupt and will immediately be approached by LCN to be under their control. This could go on for another two years while most of the money is skimmed.

Once a receiver is in there they are "officers of the court" and can persuade a judge to give them months or years to find a buyer willing to pay "full market value." Rizzolo's attorneys will argue fair market is $50 million when its actually only around $10 million tops without the liquor license, maybe $20 million with.

In the 1970s, the Dunes, Tropicana, and Riviera casinos actually fought to go into receivership. Under government appointed "receivers" such as attorney Morris Shenker, supposedly bankrupt casinos allegedly generated more skim than ever before, and without IRS oversight. The art of bankruptcy worked then, and can possibly be reapplied in the Crazy Horse case. Plenty of old time Las Vegans remember the formula and can teach it to the next generation.

The Feds should schedule an auction and chase Rizzolo and his wife for the balance. That would be the only legitimate way to handle this.

Never in the history of Sin City has a business been granted so many political favors, especially one that for years harbored 16 or more thugs who committed felonies on a daily basis that endangered the lives of our city's life blood -- tourists.
It's also time for Kirk Henry's attorneys Donald Campbell and Stan Hunterton to take action before their client's money and their legal fees go out the back door. 
Either lawyer has the legal standing to ask the City Council or Judge Pro to schedule a hearing. They owe it to future Kirk Henrys who may suffer the same fate at the hands of goons who continue to run the bar.

$1 MILLION DOLLAR Lien Placed on Crazy Horse Too
Pursuant to the ruling of Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, attorney Kim D. Price on behalf of Buffalo Jim Barrier last Friday filed a $1 million dollar lien on the Crazy Horse Too.
This lien is to guarantee payment of any judgment up to $1 million dollars in the likely event Barrier wins his Harassment Lawsuit against Rick Rizzolo that was also reinstated by the court.

Judge Gonzalez, like everyone else involved in this case, is leery that debts will not be paid especially if the Crazy Horse goes dark and the land and dilapidated buildings are auctioned for fair market value; a fraction of what is claimed by Rizzolo's lawyers.

Hopefully, Judge Pro will attach all of Rizzolo's personal assets that were illegally transferred to his wife Lisa just prior to his indictment. He filed for divorce literally days before he was indicted. He was facing up to 20 years on a RICO charge. The government didn't want to spend vast resources if the case went to trial which was expected to last a year with close to a thousand witnesses. So he and his cronies got off easy with plea deals for only tax evasion, and his wife walked away with more than $10 million in joint assets along with $83,333 per month alimony.

Barrier alleges that since 2002, his landlord has been illegally towing Allstate Auto and Marine Repair customer's cars; damaging his and his customer's personal property; and attempting to intimidate Allstate employees and customers. Case Number A452269 is expected to go to jury trial in 2008 following Rizzolo's release from prison.
This lien requires Rizzolo to deposit $1 Million into the Court's interest bearing escrow account prior to the close of escrow on any sale of the Crazy Horse Too.

On Thursday, June 21, Barrier's attorney filed the lien with the Clark County Recorder, and Barrier's anticipated judgment was finally secured in the event the Crazy Horse is sold
to a qualified buyer, or seized by the government and auctioned. In April and May of this year, the IRS and attorneys for Henry also filed liens against the Crazy Horse property.

The only entity that failed to file a lien was the overly friendly City Council who fined Rizzolo $1 million dollars, but evidently have no intention of collecting.

Barrier, always the showman, immediately started handing out "Buffalo Jim Million Dollar Bills."

Meanwhile, Rizzolo and his gang sit in cells in various California Federal Prisons blaming others for losing their freedom and the goose that laid the golden eggs.

Copyright © Steve Miller
( photo of Mike Signorelli by Mike Christ. LV Review-Journal photo of Fred Doumani. photo of Rick Rizzolo by Buffalo Jim Barrier.)

Steve Miller is writing a true crime book on the mob's battle to keep the Crazy Horse open.

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