The "Godfather" spares a wannabe
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
July 5, 2004
Coming up on DATELINE NBC, Friday July
2, 2004, 8:00 PM ET/PT (7:00 PM CT/MT) A manís life is drastically changed
forever after entering a world of sex, violence and intimidation in Las
Vegas. Datelineís Rob Stafford reports. --
TV web site
LAS VEGAS -- The death of Marlon Brando
inadvertently preempted a long-awaited DATELINE NBC segment about
a wannabe "Godfather," Crazy Horse Too owner Rick
The originally scheduled DATELINE NBC program would have been
the first major TV network exposure of the criminal activities at Rizzolo's
Las Vegas topless bar, but at the last minute the program was changed into
a tribute to the beloved movie actor. The preemption temporarily spared
Las Vegas the embarrassment of airing our dirtiest laundry to the entire
nation, and gave Rizzolo an undeserved reprieve.
Regarding the late Mr. Brando, after the release of the original "Godfather"
movie, he told Newsweek, "I don't think the film is about the
Mafia at all." "I think it is about the corporate mind. In a way, the Mafia
is the best example of capitalists we have."
If Marlon Brando's statement was valid, then Las Vegas' own version
of Don Vito Corleone deserves an award for his "capitalistic" enterprises
including alleged racketeering, coercion, political corruption, credit
card fraud, mayhem and possibly murder!
The following describes a visit to Mr. Rizzolo's office and his fetish
"You are greeted by framed prints of famous gangster movies (Casino,
Goodfellows, etc.) Upon entry, the visitor is treated to a virtual 'shrine'
of organized crime memorabilia and mob photos. A 'limited edition'
Leroy Neiman painting of Al Capone sits directly behind the 'original'
barber's chair that Al Capone used in his office in the south side Chicago
hotel he used as his headquarters. To the side of his desk, your host proudly
displays (angled nicely for the visitor to see) a framed 8 by 10 photograph
of his 'rabbi' Joey Cusamano. Scattered around the banquet size office
are additional posters from some of his favorite gangster movies (the Godfather,
Little Caesar and others). If the guest is fortunate enough to be invited
to escort his host around the topless club the first time of the night,
when he enters the room, he can witness every single floor man he comes
in contact with, come up to the Boss and respectfully kiss his cheek. If
you wanted to be a soldier for this leader, what would you do when some
customer has the nerve to refuse to pay tribute to your leader's sanctuary
or one of his 'broads?' I'm only surprised that they don't wear spats with
their tuxedos and brass knuckles." - Author's name withheld
The Crazy Horse Too, unlike any other adult business in Vegas, is the
repeated scene of violence spurred on by alleged prostitution, extortion,
and coercion. Police records reveal nine assault and six robbery cases
all involving Crazy Horse Too employees, along with 737 police responses
in just 3 years -- many based on customers being beaten after refusing
to sign what they say were falsified credit card bills -- but there have
been no criminal prosecutions. This is the basis of the about-to-be rescheduled
Meanwhile, as the extortion and violence continues, Las Vegas' former
mob lawyer-turned-Mayor, Oscar Goodman, coddles Rizzolo and his friends,
many who were Goodman's former law firm's clients and now prospective clients
for his two lawyer sons.
On October 25, 2001, I wrote a letter
to our popular
Mayor requesting he bring the Crazy Horse Too before the City Council on
an administrative action to defend its privileged license. He refused,
and the violence continued.
Instead, he sponsored a custom designed ordinance to allow the Crazy
Horse to expand!
Goodman joins Rizzolo's lawyer
Dean Patti (L) at
Recommending Committee hearing
to speak in
favor of ordinance allowing Crazy
Horse to expand
Goodman then sponsored another highly questionable ordinance,
this one to allow city topless bars to employ teenage
strippers in direct violation of state law. "When you're 18, you're
allowed to die for your country, so why can't some young lady or young
man perform?" Goodman said.
Conspicuously absent from the Mayor's statement is the fact that 18
year old males are prohibited from being in the audience of topless bars
even though they are "allowed to die for your country." Only girls
-- many in their teens -- work the city clubs making hundreds of dollars
per night taking off their clothes, lap dancing, and peddling $400 bottles
of champagne while city licensing officials obediently turn their backs
in respect to the Mayor's wishes -- especially at the Crazy Horse Too.
"We're an adult community, an adult playland," Goodman said.
not pretend to be something we're not. I think anything that's legal should
LV Review-Journal photo
by Craig L. Moran
When the media began to question his wisdom, Goodman became defensive.
"There's no prostitution taking place (at the city clubs) according
to" Metro Police, Goodman said. "And if there was, they should arrest
them, not make some big fuss as to what some 18-year-old girl is doing
to make living." (Notice he only mentions "18-year-old girls"
this time. He must've finally realized topless bars don't hire18-year-old
While I was informing the public that their Mayor was using the power
of his office to aid his personal friends and former clients -- sometimes
at the expense of local teenage girls, he paid an unexpected visit to my
home to try to appease me. It didn't work.
Concurrently, Rizzolo's attorney Dean Patti had filed a SLAPP
suit, and almost convinced a friendly local judge (Honorable Nancy
Siatta) to issue a gag order stopping my reports. But she backed down at
the last minute when the ACLU and Las Vegas Review-Journal intervened,
and after an Editorial in another
local paper revealed she had received thousands of dollars in campaign
contributions from Rick Rizzolo.
Honorable Nancy Siatta
Undaunted by Goodman and Rizzolo's efforts, I kept reporting, and the
SLAPP suit was soon dismissed.
Mayor Oscar Goodman and Steve Miller
in front of writer's home
(AmericanMafia.com photo by Mike Christ)
To counter my increasingly frequent reports and those of others, Rizzolo's
PR man Tom
Letizia -- who doubles as the Mayor's campaign manager -- launched
a public relations blitz touting Rick Rizzolo's charitable
contributions. However, the revealing stories kept coming including a segment
|June 11, 2004
Columnist Jeff German: Rizzolo, feds itching for a fight
Sixteen months after FBI agents raided his popular strip club looking
for evidence of hidden mob interests, federal prosecutors are preparing
to seek racketeering indictments against Rizzolo and his management team,
some of whom, federal investigators say, have underworld ties. Authorities
have put the word out that they're hoping indictments will be returned
as early as September. A host of charges -- including extortion, tax evasion,
prostitution and credit card fraud -- are being considered against Rizzolo
and his Crazy Horse Too underlings. Some of the charges relate to a pattern
of alleged beatings at the nightclub, including one involving Kirk Henry,
a Kansas City man whose neck was broken during an altercation with a bouncer
in September 2001. Under the racketeering statute, the
government also has the option of forcing Rizzolo to give up the lucrative
club through either criminal or civil forfeiture proceedings.
|Sunday, June 20, 2004
L. SMITH: Topless clubs cast spells that leave politicians dumbstruck,
or just dumb
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
We haven't mentioned the expected indictment of the crowd at the
Crazy Horse Too. The FBI and IRS are working overtime with the U.S. attorney's
office and the Organized Crime Strike Force to complete their case. Despite
hundreds of calls for police service and a reputation for violence, the
Crazy Horse Too remains open. It's an obvious public nuisance, but
come to think of it so am I. The difference is, its
licenses can be revoked by local authorities, if they weren't under that
Then NBC News
|Friday, July 02, 2004
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
JOHN L. SMITH
Tonight, "Dateline NBC" presents its take
on the Crazy Horse Too topless cabaret, a segment that is sure to embarrass
Las Vegas and make some people wonder why the controversial club,
the subject of an ongoing FBI, IRS, and Metro investigation into everything
from racketeering to tax evasion, is still open.
The segment will focus on a case involving Kansas tourist Kirk Henry, who
suffered a fractured neck outside the club and has sued owner Rick Rizzolo
Rick Rizzolo made his fortune by convincing several crooked
cops, a local reporter, greedy
politicians, the past and present DA, and several
judges to turn their backs on his and his associate's more than obvious
criminal activities. It will now take outsiders from the FBI
and IRS to clean up what we on a local level should have stopped many years
(L to R) Annette Rizzolo, Ralph
Rizzolo, Bart Rizzolo, unidentified FBI agent, & Joe Melfi
(AmericanMafia.com photo by Mike Christ)
On Oct. 4, 2001, Lt. John Alamshaw of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police
Department's robbery unit called me. Alamshaw stated that he had asked
then-District Attorney Stewart Bell to prosecute
several employees of the Crazy Horse Too for attempted murder and robbery
with substantial bodily harm. Bell refused.
Bell's successor DA David Roger also refused to prosecute, though Bell,
during his campaign for District Court Judge, told a TV audience that there
was "probable cause" to prosecute employees of the Crazy Horse Too. With
Rizzolo's blessings, Bell succeeded in being elected to the bench. In the
meantime, Rick Rizzolo contributed heavily to David Roger's campaign for
DA, though Roger reluctantly returned
Rizzolo's campaign contributions after I wrote a story about his campaign
funding in TwistedBadge.com.
During the same time period, Rizzolo sued the Metro PD claiming they participated
in a "Civil Conspiracy" when they raided his business. In June 2004, his
suit was dismissed
by US Federal Court Judge Lloyd D. George.
DA David Roger
Anthony Galloway, the producer of what was to be last week's DATELINE
NBC segment on Rizzolo, was not allowed in preparation of his program
to access police files containing records of violent incidents at the Crazy
Horse. In 2003, a Stay was issued by Federal District Court Judge Philip
Pro temporarily stopping all discovery in cases and stories involving the
Crazy Horse Too and Mr. Rizzolo pending federal criminal indictments. Luckily,
I was in possession of several sealed police files, and happily shared
them with Galloway.
So, Rizzolo's friends at Las Vegas City Hall and the Clark County Courthouse
can breath a sigh of relief -- at least for now. However, DATELINE NBC
promises to air the preempted Crazy Horse segment in the near future, and
the Los Angeles Times is ready to go to press with a five part series
on our town's dirtiest laundry. So stay tuned. This promises to be the
biggest Sin City story since Bugsy Siegel, and you saw it here first.
In the meantime, may the "Godfather" rest in peace.
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