| 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:

These Billy's give me the willies!
       Billy Vassiliadis may have plagiarized A.A. motto                                       Billy Walters can make $56 million off taxpayers' land
                                                      ( Re-touched photo)                                                                                                         MATTHEW MINARD / LAS VEGAS

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
July 25, 2005

Billy Vassiliadis of R&R Advertising, in 2003, ostensibly stole Alcoholics Anonymous' opening and closing motto: "What you hear here, stays here," and began taking credit and tax dollars for its famous offshoot, "What happens here, stays here."

Then there's golf course developer Billy Walters who bought taxpayer owned land for $5,600 per acre in 1999, and now wants to sell it for between $300,000 and $400,000 per acre to bring him a $56 million dollar windfall!

Standing up for both these less-than-stand up Billy's is Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman who, during his career as a criminal defense lawyer, never met a crook or murderer he didn't like.

Las Vegas Review-Journal photo by Cariño Casas)

For a long time, few were paying attention to either Billy, and that seemed to be the plan. Both Billy's are pillars of the community and multimillionaires; all that's needed to qualify for protection from the office of the mayor.

Vassiliadis' case, he thinks because he secretly paid the president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) one dollar for the trademark rights to the "stays here" motto, he can sue anyone who uses it, or its derivatives, without his express permission on T-shirts and other items that advertise Vegas. To help Vassiliadis save face in what is obviously a complete sham, Goodman is flying around the country at taxpayer's expense attending hearings in support of Billy's silly lawsuits.

But the real give away came when Mayor Goodman told Brian Allen of Channel 8 News,
"Reputations are of course at stake whenever these issues become public." At that moment, it became crystal clear that egos were driving his decision to go to bat for R&R, and that the issue was never intended to become public.

Billy Vassiliadis is accustomed to getting his way and not being challenged. This is exemplified by R&R never having to compete for the lucrative LVCVA advertising contract since his company was first selected in 1980. However, after Billy's latest foolishness and the revelations that followed, this may change. The LVCVA can also revoke his $67 million per year contract on thirty days notice, but that would take a miracle since he probably had a hand in the appointment of most of the LVCVA board members.

But what's more intriguing is that
Vassiliadis is considered the consummate local public relations man, but his latest lack of good judgment is causing doubt as to whether he can effectively handle his own PR? All this bad press is not a good reference for a professional spin doctor. Meanwhile, I fan the flames.

In Billy Walters' case, this Billy obviously thinks that because his golf course was reportedly a big flop on the cheap land he bought from the city,
he can allegedly use the "poor boy" excuse to try to convert it into 160 acres of cookie cutter houses, and profit up to $56 million. To help Walters, the mayor has put his council agenda item on perpetual hold so the controversy will cool down before bringing it back for the third or forth time to get the deed restriction lifted that presently limits the land's use.

While one Billy tries to get richer at taxpayer's expense, the other Billy objects to anyone using -- without his permission -- a clearly plagiarized slogan, while the mayor runs interference for both.
That should give you the heebie-jeebies!

Incidentally, A.A. has never protested the stealing of their slogan. Maybe had they done so,
Vassiliadis might have offered them a dollar for their trademark rights as he did the LVCVA. But they would probably have told him to get lost.

Meanwhile, Billy Walters, according to, neglected his Stallion Mountain golf course to the extent that few wanted to play there anymore.
                                        ( photos)

In both instances, Goodman is the Billy's cheerleader and protector. Also in both instances, the obscurely written agenda items to benefit the Billy's were supposed to go unnoticed.

To draw attention to Billy Vassiliadis' silly claim to own the rights to the obviously plagiarized motto, I personally began manufacturing and distributing T-shirts with "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" on the front and back -- without his permission of course -- and I will donate the net proceeds to Alcoholics Anonymous. I did this to fan the flames and keep the story on the front page.

My satiric ploy worked. Friday's Review-Journal reported, "The matter has been turned over to R&R's attorneys, who probably will soon send Miller a cease-and-desist letter. 'If he persists and this becomes a commercial venture, we'll take it more seriously,' Vassiliadis said.

This threat gave me the chance to use one of my favorite retorts: "I'm going to throw it into the closest appropriate receptacle and push the handle."

However, the day to take it more seriously has come. The first run of shirts were sold out* in just 24 hours. But a "commercial venture?" Not!

The shirt is being sold by my 501c(3) non-profit corporation, and all the net proceeds are being donated to another 501c(3) (Alcoholics Anonymous) to try to make amends for Billy's obvious plagiarism. No business license is needed to do this. Mail orders are received at my home office, but all shipping, inventorying, over the counter sales, and bookkeeping take place from a commercial place of business that has a tax ID number for retail sales, though none is needed to sell items to raise money for a registered charity.

This not-for-profit exercise is for the sole purpose of driving home the fact that its time the taxpayers tell R&R they've overstayed their welcome at the LVCVA, and others should be given a chance to compete for the yearly contract. Also to tell R&R's protector and LVCVA Chairman Oscar Goodman to Go Suck Eggs!

This especially holds true since Goodman is the mayor of the city of Las Vegas, not the Strip where R&R concentrates their advertising. The city limits start at Sahara Ave., and the disparity between the way the city and county is treated by the LVCVA is horrendous. Goodman's downtown is falling apart, but he has yet to mount a protest to the LVCVA board that the city is being completely ignored by R&R.
                     East Fremont St.                       Downtown hooker (KVBC TV News)      Police survailiance of solicitation

In fact, it was goodman who in  2003 said that brothels would reinvigerate downtown. He didn't advocate the same for the Strip, however.

Last week to help make my point, I asked a friend to wear one of the T-shirts to the mayor's press conference. To my delight, my friend's appearance at city hall became a major news story. The stories exposed the massive amount of taxpayer dollars R&R, Goodman, and the LVCVA are squandering on out of state attorneys to try to stop the slogan's use and help
Vassiliadis, R&R, and the LVCVA save face.

Friday, July 22, 2005
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

LV slogan challenged anew
Former councilman says shirts protest R&R's $1 deal

Wanda Suriel, left, and Chris Christoff wear shirts with the slogan,
"What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas," on Thursday during
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman's weekly press conference at
City Hall.

As far as the other Billy goes, on July 11, I authored "Par for the course" on about Billy Walters' desire to lift the deed restriction and gain a windfall. It also developed into a major news story, and inspired the mayor to table the item until the heat is off. In the meantime, I'll keep fanning those flames also.

These two examples show how powerful an influence is at Las Vegas City Hall.
No wonder I have the willies!

What's in a name? (This time its not a Billy, but it still gives me the willies!)

Last Monday, the Chicago Tribune carried a front page story entitled
"FBI links casino, Stephens, mob -- Rosemont mayor says he didn't hold meeting to discuss Emerald."

In the story, the Tribune mentioned that a "Rick Rissoulo" was present when mob bosses including Joey "the clown" Lombardo allegedly discussed La Cosa Nostra control of an Illinois casino with the mayor of the town where the casino is located.

Buried in the story is the sentence,
"He said he's never met two alleged mob associates that Mallul said were also at the meeting, William Messino and Rick Rissoulo."

I knew that Las Vegas' own Rick Rizzolo, the owner of the protected Crazy Horse Too on Industrial Rd., had an interest in a topless bar in Chicago around the time of the alleged meeting with Mayor Stephens and Lombardo, and that Rizzolo is close to the Lombardo family. I also realized that if the mis-spelling of his name was allowed to continue, he might get off. Therefore, I contacted reporters in Chicago and Las Vegas to let them know of the error. It didn't take long to verify it was actually Rizzolo, not "Rissoulo," and something that would have gone under the radar became a major story, and cannon fodder for the ongoing federal RICO and political corruption investigation of Rizzolo and his associates.
                                                                              (L to R) Bart Rizzolo, Jon Norheim, Rick Rizzolo
                                                                                                                      (Photo by Buffalo Jim Barrier)

Rizzolo relishes being in the company of mayors and other high level politicians, so it didn't surprise me to hear that he was spotted dining with the mayor of Rosemont, and Joey "the clown."  Joey's brother Rocco Lombardo works at the LV Crazy Horse, and both are well known to Sin City Mayor Oscar Goodman.

             KVBC TV News

For several years, Goodman has been suspected of protecting the Crazy Horse in Las Vegas as a favor to -- or out of fear of -- Joey "the clown," one of Goodman's former law clients, and a person suspected of committing at least eight murders.
In his Friday column, "Reports of Rizzolo dining with mob's 'Clown' should close club's doors," award winning Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith said it all:

"It does, however, tend to make a laughing stock out of the City Council and Metro licensing investigators who, at least in theory, are supposed to keep the wiseguy element out of our proliferating girlie rackets. Let's just say they've fallen short of the mark on this one." "Hanging with an infamous mob boss, albeit one who in 1999 had paid his societal debts, is pretty cavalier for a man whose license to practice T&A in Las Vegas is revocable." "Allowing Rizzolo to continue to operate in the face of all this controversy and the promise of a federal indictment makes the City Council look particularly weak."

Goodman is in good company. Also suspected of protecting the Crazy Horse strip joint is Clark County District Attorney Dave Roger, several high ranking Metro police officials, and a few local judges. However, their incentive for helping to keep the place open are more in the area of monetary or sexual favors, I am told.

I keep getting this repetitive missive from an INSIDE VEGAS reader in Chicago: "Goodman is afraid of Joey the clown." Judging by Goodman's lack of action -- I believe its true, and that really gives me the willies!

*T-shirts are on sale for $19.95 ea. at Buffalo Jim's Auto and Marine Electric on Industrial Road next to the Crazy Horse Too.

Copyright © Steve Miller

* 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:

Copyright © 1998 - 2005 PLR International