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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:

New developments in HENRY vs. RIZZOLO
Rizzolo women ordered to pay Rick's debts
Justice served one asset at a time

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
June 25, 2012

LAS VEGAS - It was a racketeer's dream come true. Owning a rare 2003 Mercedes-Benz SL 65 Bi-Turbo, the most powerful series-produced roadster in the world (watch a spectacular burnout). With its 604 horsepower and 738 lbs.ft./torque twelve-cylinder twin-turbocharged hand-built motor, Rick Rizzolo could go zero to sixty in just under 4 seconds. The perfect getaway car.

2003 Mercedes SL 65 Bi-Turbo. Rizzolo flashes $30,000 Rolex (Photos by Mike Christ)

But on the evening of August 4, 2011, while Rick was dining with friends at Piero's across from the Las Vegas Convention Center, a tow truck accompanied by Las Vegas Constables entered the restaurant's parking lot to hook up the black beauty and tow it away. Several weeks later, the car was sold at auction for only $30,000 to an undisclosed buyer and the money was transferred to a trust account for beating victim Kirk Henry; a pittance compared to the $10 million plus interest Rizzolo in 2005 plea bargained to pay Henry in exchange for a shortened prison sentence.

On September 14, 2011, Rick Rizzolo returned to federal prison to serve an additional nine months for violating the terms of his parole by not reporting the sale of his interest in the Philadelphia Crazy Horse Too strip club for $3 million dollars including $1,052,996.03 which was secretly transferred to his late father Bart and now being hidden by Bart's widow Kimtran Rizzolo. Rick was required to report all his transactions in excess of $500.00.

Kimtran is a north Vietnamese immigrant who moved to the United States in 1981, was married for over a decade to a man who did not speak Vietnamese, claims to not know why she received the $1,052,996.03 or from whom, and claims she cannot read, understand, or speak the English language.

On April 19, 2012, United States Senior Judge Philip M. Pro issued an ORDER stating: "Defendants Rick Rizzolo and Kimtran Rizzolo shall make the necessary arrangements to transfer funds in the amount of $1,052,996.03 to Plaintiffs Kirk Henry and Amy Henry within thirty (30) days."

Kimtran defied Judge Pro's order and refused to transfer the funds claiming to not understand what she was ordered to do. Then she filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court accusing Judge Pro of abusing his discretion by not deducting purported loans Bart made to Rick and attorney fees Bart paid on Rick's behalf.

Judge Pro swiftly responded on May 22, when he issued a WRIT OF EXECUTION ordering the U.S. Marshals Service to immediately seize the assets of Kimtran.

On Friday, June 15, United States Marshals in Cedar Rapids, Iowa served Transamerica Life Insurance Company, the holder of Kimtran's annuity, with a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT AND SEIZURE. Transamerica is ordered to retain possession of the funds and answer interrogatories within 20 days telling how much money Kimtran has in her annuity and when it was deposited.

In the meantime, Judge Pro issued another ORDER denying Kimtran's request for a (new) trial to determine if the "loans" her late husband allegedly made to Rick and attorney fees he paid on Rick's behalf should be deducted from the $1,052,996.03 she owes the Henrys. To show his resolve, Judge Pro used the same order to post a hearing for September 10, to determine whether Kimtran should be held in Civil Contempt for defying his order to pay Henry.
Full docket text for document 607:
ORDER that Kimtran Rizzolos Motion for a New Trial or in the Alternative, to Alter or Amend Judgment [587] is hereby DENIED. A hearing on Plaintiffs Motion for Order to Hold Defendant Kimtran Rizzolo in Civil Contempt [603] is set for Monday, September 10, 2012, at 3:00 p.m. in Courtroom 7C, in the United States District Court, District of Nevada, located at 333 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, Nevada, 89101. Signed by Judge Philip M. Pro on 6/21/12. 

In reference to the purported loans Bart made to Rick, Judge Pro states: "Kimtran provides no evidence to establish any such loans were even made, when any such loans were made, in what amount, and the remaining balance at the time of the fraudulent transfers."

Regarding the possible penalty Kimtran may be facing, Wikopedia explains: "The civil sanction for contempt (which is typically incarceration in the custody of the sheriff or similar court officer) is limited in its imposition for so long as the disobedience to the court's order continues: once the party complies with the court's order, the sanction is lifted. The imposed party is said to 'hold the keys' to his or her own cell, thus conventional due process is not required."

While this is going on, Rick was just released from his second stint in federal prison and is spending his nights at a halfway house on Industrial Road ironically located only three blocks south of his shuttered gold mine the Crazy Horse Too. The strip club was seized by the federal government in 2007 and sold at auction in 2011 for $3 million to a Los Angeles investor who owned stock in a bank the Rizzolos defrauded out of $5 million dollars in 2005. Last week, the investor appeared before the Las Vegas City Council to apply for new adult use zoning so he can sell or lease the derelict building as a strip club. In return for new zoning, the investor offered to pay an uncollected $1.46 million dollar fine the city levied on Rizzolo in 2006 for operating a public nuisance. Many hoped the fine money could be paid to Kirk Henry instead of going into the city's general fund. This opened a legal can of worms.

At the June 20, 2012 hearing, Councilman Bob Coffin (left) made this damning statement about the club's history during the Rizzolo's ownership, and expressed his desire that the Henrys get the full fine amount instead of it going into the city treasury:

"The issue of violence at the club was well known to the community and the law enforcement community. I have lists showing hundreds of calls for service at this address and the pattern continued up until the day of Bobby DiApice breaking Kirk Henry's neck. But afterwards for many years the calls for service continued for a place that should have had its license jerked. A place that was employing felons, managed by felons, no work records on hand, nothing at all that city inspectors could take to prove that people were suitable. They had people licensed there making a fortune and they were never called up for suitability.

What has been done for this guy (Kirk Henry)? All I read in the paper is these mob guys running away from the law, or running away from the judges, the judgments, laughing, getting phony divorces, stuffing their money elsewhere. Nobody has done anything for Kirk Henry! That everybody's bending over backwards here to help get somebody into business at this notorious location.

The reason I sponsored this ordinance is that some sharing of money, of this donation occur. So that's how this bill came into being. I didn't know all the detail about these thugs that were running this place except they seemed to have a lot of clout around here because they kept their license. Things just kept going on. The good times were rolling.

I think the bill is worthy, but I thought that donation is being earmarked for the wrong person. The city has a budget, money, tax money. It doesn't need to depend upon the kindness of strangers. Let's not forget Mr. Henry. Mr. Henry is an integral part of this picture. I want you to consider the possibility of as you move this forward you think about him. I want to put some pictures on the record of Kirk Henry and what he looked like before he got roughed up by the person, the owners of this strip club.

I won't show any more pictures at this time. I will have further pictures to show on July 18 of Mr. Henry in the hospital. I just want to burn his face into my colleague's minds because this is the real reason we're here today. Just because there's a donation being made, its penance, its an act of contrition. And its not on behalf of Rick Rizzolo. Rick Rizzolo, that thug is God knows where. In prison, in and out of prison. Bobby DiApice, the man who broke Henry's neck is driving a cab or limo somewhere around town, probably with a work card for all I know! It doesn't seem to me to be right that everybody in this city seems to make out except the victim of one of our licensed clubs. And so therefore that's why I do not (want) any money to come to the city yet. I do not want any money to be tendered to the city in any fashion at this time. We can discuss the money on the 18th."

The council voted 6 to 1 to grant the Crazy Horse Too new adult use zoning. Unfortunately, it's not that easy for the investor to give the Henry's $1.46 million, and if he did, the donation would not be credited against the millions Henry is still owed by the Rizzolos.

A precursor to Councilman Coffin's remarks was a letter I authored on November 21, 2002 asking then-Mayor Oscar Goodman to look into public safety related issues at the Crazy Horse Too. The mayor waited three years to respond to my request.
November 27, 2002

Honorable Mayor Goodman: 

On October 25, 2001, you asked me to visit your City Hall office. There, you initiated a discussion about bringing the Crazy Horse Too topless bar before the council on a Show Cause Hearing to defend its' privileged business license. 

You told me that you were aware of allegations of narcotics sales, prostitution, robberies, beatings, and a wrongful death at the "gentleman's club." You also mentioned that you are "not doing any favors for Joey Cusumano," though I did not bring up his name. As you know, Mr. Cusumano is the acknowledged "best friend in the world" of the owner of the Crazy Horse and one of your most prominent former clients, though this fact should not be relevant to the case at hand. 

Following our visit, you did not call a Show Cause Hearing on the Crazy Horse. In fact, you sponsored a custom designed ordinance so the bar could expand. In the meantime, you participated in three Show Cause Hearings that resulted in the revocation of the privileged licenses of King’s Market, Food Fair Market, and the Day & Night Convenience Store, all located on the Westside. 

On November 21, the evening after you received my initial letter, KVBC TV Channel 3 News aired a two-part series produced by investigative reporter Glen Meek on the life threatening problems and mob connections at the Crazy Horse. The series can be viewed nationally on KVBC TV's website which includes streaming video. I hope you watched the investigative report because you may now be inspired to change your mind about the Show Cause Hearing we discussed. 

Mr. Meek cited Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department statistics indicating that the Crazy Horse received 165 police calls in 1999, 239 in 2000, and 333 police calls in 2001 - more police responses than any business on the Westside that suffered license revocation. Meek also revealed that the Crazy Horse recorded 9 assaults and 6 robberies involving bar employees over a two-year-period. In contrast, Metro Officer Ron Freerksen testified before your council on November 6 that 369 calls to police about Kings Market during a five-year-period was "disproportionate" for a convenience store. 

Mayor Goodman, the Crazy Horse Too had a total of 737 police calls in a shorter three-year-period - far more than any other privileged license holding business in your city. Doesn't that qualify as "disproportionate" for a liquor serving business? 

In the KVBC TV News report, Amy Henry, the wife of a man who had his neck broken by Crazy Horse personnel, stated, "I can't understand what kind of city or state would allow a place like this to remain in business?" 

After having personally sponsored three Show Cause Hearings for privileged license holding businesses that had far fewer problems, I concur with Mrs. Henry's observation. A business that endangers the public's safety must be dealt with promptly by the licensing authority. The Las Vegas City Council is that authority. An astounding 737 police calls in a three-year-period along with 9 assaults and 6 robberies involving bar employees over a two-year-period should merit the council's immediate action!

When a business becomes a public nuisance, it reflects poorly on the entire city - the city you have devoted your life to helping. As we discussed on Oct. 25, it is your responsibility as the Mayor of Las Vegas to place Show Cause items on the agenda when public nuisances threaten public safety. Because of a conflict of interest, the councilman for Ward One in which the Crazy Horse is located cannot participate. Therefore, I again request that you, Mayor Goodman, place an item on the agenda to bring this business before the council to explain why they deserve to hold a privileged license in the City of Las Vegas. 

Please act before anyone else is crippled or killed. 

Steve Miller 
Former Ward One Councilman 

(Prior to being elected in 1999, Oscar Goodman was the criminal defense attorney for Rick Rizzolo, Joey Lombardo, and Nevada Black Book member Joey Cusumano. Lombardo and Cusumano were suspected of having hidden ownership in the Crazy Horse Too. At the time of my letter, then-Ward One Councilman Michael J. McDonald was living rent free in a Canyon Gate Country Club villa owned by Bobette Tegano, the mother in law of Joey Cusumano, and he was also receiving a $5,000 per month "consulting" fee from the Crazy Horse Too.)

Three years after receiving my letter, Mayor Goodman made a surprise visit to my home to try to explain his reasons for not closing the Crazy Horse Too. He said his hands were tied because Rizzolo was in the middle of a federal investigation, though Goodman in January 2004 fined Rizzolo's competitor Jack Galardi $1,095,000.00 in the middle of a federal investigation.

To Mayor Goodman's dismay, I didn't pay attention to his concerns and on July 10, 2006 filed an ethics complaint that forced him to abstain for the next 18 months and not vote on or discuss council items related to the Crazy Horse Too thereby clearing the way for the city to close the club one year after my complaint was filed, and -- hopefully -- end the violence once and for all.

On April 26, 2005, Mayor Oscar Goodman visited Steve's home in response to Steve's repeated calls for the
closure of the Crazy Horse Too. The day before his visit, Goodman's former client Joey "The Clown" Lombardo
was indicted in connection with 18 murders. Lombardo was a suspected hidden owner of the strip club.
In the middle of the street, Steve scolded Goodman for protecting his former clients.     (Photos by Mike Christ)

                        Rick Rizzolo and Crazy Horse Too manager Rocco Lombardo during better times

Time would prove the validity of my concerns, and today the story seems far from over.

Last Friday, June 22, 2012 Joe Schoenmann of the LAS VEGAS SUN wrote a front page story, Donation or bribe? Crazy Horse's $1.4 million quid pro quo raises questions: "A Nevada ethics watchdog group likened an expected $1.46 million donation to Las Vegas to a 'public bribe' after learning new owners of the shuttered Crazy Horse Too strip club said they would give the city that much money for a permit." “If anybody gets money, it ought to be Mr. Henry,” Coffin added. “The city is hurt anytime something like this happens, and the city had not corrected the problem (at Crazy Horse Too). I had a list of police calls for service a mile long from 1998 to 2001 and tons afterward. But licensing didn't clamp down on them. No one clamped down on them.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith wrote a column entitled Another chapter begins in seedy story of Crazy Horse Too on Tuesday, June 19, the day before the council meeting that granted the Crazy Horse Too a chance for a new life: "Rizzolo made millions and sprinkled the local political and judicial circuits with more campaign cash than many corporate casinos. Quick to buy a drink, quicker to read the local playing field: He was the mayor of the Las Vegas night. Police were called hundreds of times to the Crazy Horse Too, but neither the local coppers nor cross-eyed bureaucrats from the city of Las Vegas could find it in the community's best interests to close the place. And if on occasion a drunken customer was beaten nearly to death with a ball bat, well, no one said topless club racketeers were choirboys. The Crazy Horse Too remained open for business even after that early morning in September 2001 when Kansas tourist Kirk Henry nearly had his head wrenched from his shoulders by some of its bouncers."

On the evening following the June 20 hearing, Review-Journal city hall reporter Benjamin Spillman penned the front page story Infamous topless club may get new life: "A notorious Las Vegas topless club could reopen thanks to a city ordinance approved Wednesday, but it's unlikely good fortune for the owners of Crazy Horse Too will do much for a man who was paralyzed during an altercation there."  "The vote came with an assumption the new owners would make a $1.4 million donation to the city, an amount similar to a fine owed by former Crazy Horse owner Rick Rizzolo. The donation wouldn't excuse Rizzolo from the fine. And while Councilman Bob Coffin, who proposed the ordinance, wants to get some or all of the money to Henry, City Attorney Brad Jerbic has advised council members such a move wouldn't pass legal muster." "Rizzolo, who has been suspected of having ties to organized crime, has been to federal prison for violating tax laws and has been ordered by a court to pay Henry a $10 million judgment. Despite the order and allegations Rizzolo is socking money away to fund a lavish lifestyle, Henry has only seen about $1 million of the amount he is owed."

The $1 million was paid from Rizzolo's Farmers Insurance umbrella policy and was immediately exhausted paying Kirk Henry's initial medical, physical therapy, living, and legal expenses.

So it remains to be seen whether the Henry family will gain any benefit from the re-zoning. However, based on recent actions by a Federal Court that's running on all twelve cylinders in a race to get the Henrys paid, the Rizzolo matriarchs, ex-wife Lisa and stepmother Kimtran, may soon have to pay for Rick Rizzolo's sins with his stashed away cash, or contemplate their next move from behind bars while Rick resumes his lavish lifestyle.

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