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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:

Vegas police discourage couple from filing
crime report against protected topless bar
Hapless tourist accidentally dissed a "made man" -- then met our city's finest

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
July 26, 2004


Dear Steve,

My name is Eddie (last name withheld by request), and I am from San Diego.  I was visiting Vegas because I turned 21 on the 15th of July 2004.  On 7-17 my girlfriend and I went to the Crazy Horse to have a little fun and it turned into a nightmare.  After my girlfriend paid for a lap dance for me, she decided to sit at the bar until it was over.  While sitting there she was physically removed from her seat and told that she wasn't working tonight. When she explained that she didn't work there, a man that called himself "Vinney" (sp) told her not to "fucking talk back" and physically forced her out of the club.  When my dance ended I went looking for her and one bouncer said she was outside.  I found her out there crying with bruises on her arms from this Vinney guy.  I had left my cell phone in the club by accident and told her I was going to go pick it up and make a complaint to the manager.  When I tried to complain I was told to "go fuck" myself and that my girlfriend was a prostitute, so I loudly demanded that I  needed to speak to Vinney right this second.  The next thing I know I was attacked by at least four bouncers. One stuck his finger into my eye socket and ask me how it felt while the others punched me in the back and sides of my head,  I was knocked unconscious and came to with a bouncer on top of me telling me to stop resisting. I, as calmly as I possibly could, with tears in my eyes, tried to explain that I was not resisting and didn't want any trouble, all I wanted was to complain to Vinney.  When the police arrived a few minutes later, they put me in handcuffs.  My girlfriend who had seen the last part of the beating, couldn't hold back anymore and tried to run to me because my face was bloody and my eyes swollen.  An officer stepped in front of her and she brushed by him trying to get around him.  She was then arrested for assaulting an officer.  So with both of us handcuffed and my face pretty messed up, we were offered by the Sergeant that we would be let go, but if we decided to press charges on the club, my girlfriend would be charged with assaulting an officer.  So we took the offer and got in a cab and went to Sunrise emergency where they gave me a catscan and treated me for multiple small cuts and a sprained knee.  I have a concussion and have a little blurry vision along with a knee injury that is going to prevent me from working for at least a few days.  I also had $300 dollars taken from my pocket while I was being subdued by the bouncers.  I filled out a (police) report after I was released from the hospital at 10am on saturday the 17th.  I have pictures of my cut and swollen eyes and an abrasion on my back and knee.  If you have any advice or could help me in any way I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your time, Eddie

LAS VEGAS - For the second time in a week, a few crooked Vegas police officers have been accused of providing protection to a politically connected topless bar. On Friday, July 23, Las Vegas Review Journal columnist John L. Smith wrote: "As the Crazy Horse Too case draws closer to the indictment stage, word is surfacing that authorities are investigating whether two of the topless club's employees received preferential treatment after being stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence."

For years its been suspected that Crazy Horse owner Rick Rizzolo has been paying off local cops and politicians to leave him and his band of thugs and thieves alone and let them continue their reign of terror and alleged credit card coercion while remaining immune from prosecution.

Meanwhile, numerous complaints of beatings after bar patrons refused to sign falsified credit card receipts have gone unprosecuted.  In February 2003, the protection racket became so obvious that the feds had to step in.
       Paul Russo           Jermaine Simieou                    Kirk Henry               Eben Kostbar          Scott Fau

Even with overwhelming evidence presented, police reports filed, and national press coverage, no arrests were made and former Clark County District Attorney Stu Bell and his successor DA David Roger refused to prosecute. Also, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, the former criminal defense attorney for Rizzolo and a number of his associates, repeatedly has refused to challenge the bar's liquor license though he jumps to do so when competitive businesses step even slightly out of line.

To help me prove my point, I refer to an August 6, 2003 Associated Press story where it
states that Clark County Sheriff Bill Young called Rizzolo a person "of ill repute" after being informed by the FBI that one of his top level officers accepted a no-repayment-necessary $15,000 "loan" from the topless bar owner. The officer has since resigned. "Young said Keller could have been demoted or fired after Internal Affairs investigators ruled he violated department policies prohibiting officers from 'accepting gifts from suspects' and 'consorting with persons of ill repute.'" The AP story went on to say, "The loan was discovered in February when dozens of FBI agents raided Rizzolo's club, Crazy Horse Too. Agents discovered a document in Rizzolo's desk indicating Keller had accepted the funds in 1999."

(Sheriff Young inadvertently inherited a few corrupted cops after being elected in 2003, and is trying to clean up the mess left by his predecessor Jerry Keller who is no relation to Sgt. Tom Keller. In the meantime the Sheriff is asking voters to approve a sales tax increase to pay for more officers. I suggest he rid his department of any remaining hoodlums before asking for a tax increase. -- SM)

This week, a notice was reportedly posted on the door of Rizzolo's office directing club personnel including Vinnie Faraci, the man identified by Eddie's girlfriend as "Vinney," to immediately meet with club attorney Jon Norheim to arrange for their legal defense in the event more persons than Rizzolo are indicted later this summer.

As the paranoia grows, it would seem logical that the beatings would stop. But in Eddie's case, he had obviously stepped over an imaginary line by dissing someone who is said to be a "made man," and a suspected hidden owner in the club. Vinnie is the son of Bonanno crime family capo "Johnny Green" Faraci. I guess young Eddie should have known better than to loudly demand an audience with such a respected guy!

Eddie and his girlfriend told me that when police arrived, they were observed giving high five's to the same bouncers who assaulted him, something witnesses to the beating of Eben Kostbar also described happening. Also, the Sergeant failed to file a report of the incident -- another ominous sign that inspires me to hand deliver a copy of this article to Sheriff Young and other interested parties.

       Courtesy of KVBC TV News

And again, I refer to award winning writer John L. Smith who in his July 20, 2004 Review Journal column, "Time feature sidesteps underbelly of `new Vegas,' delights city's boosters," had this to say about reporters who only look at our city through  rose ($$$) colored glasses: "Stein managed to sidestep the dicey and embarrassing issue of political corruption and prostitution tied to the local topless trade by not focusing on the scandal-riddled Galardi and Rizzolo operations and instead strolling through Sapphire and the Spearmint Rhino. It was an inspired move on his part. Had he looked, it might have been ugly. And we hate ugly."

All of the above paints a clear picture of protection under color of law, and a clearer picture of the reason the federal  Organized Crime Strike Force Unit stepped in to clean up our out of control mess -- something that sends shudders up and down the spines of long time Las Vegans who "hate ugly" -- especially those, including the mayor, who are charged with promoting our town's favorable image worldwide.

If the truth were to be told, those who come to Vegas to enjoy our "What happens here stays here" reputation should be forewarned to ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK! This, thanks to folks like former and present DAs Bell and Roger who refused to prosecute after dozens of complaints; Mayor Goodman who has repeatedly refused to question the activities of his former clients; and a score of corrupted police officers who spend too much off and on duty time in a cop-friendly topless bar.

Payoffs for protection to persons in high positions in local and state government including a few judges, must not be the "stays here" part of the new Vegas story.  When the dust settles, the story of Rick Rizzolo, et al. and its' trail of blood and payola may in all likelihood transcend the legends of other famous Vegas denizens like Bugsy Siegel, Frank Rosenthal and Tony Spilotro.

The only good news is that business at the Crazy Horse Too has reportedly fallen off by at least fifty percent since 1999. That's when I began regularly writing about the violence and political corruption. Hopefully, because of my efforts and those of reporters John L. Smith, Jeff German, Glen Meek, and Cathy Scott, other innocent tourists who haplessly wander into Rizzolo's den of violence may be spared.

Copyright © Steve Miller

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Copyright © Steve Miller

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