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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:

Glass houses
rankly, I'd rather be attacked by a swarm of malaria-crazed mosquitoes

than have Miller and Barrier on my case.
- John L. Smith, LV Review-Journal

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
August 1, 2005

Miller and Barrier chill out in Al Capone's cell - Alcatraz, California, December 2004

LAS VEGAS - Should Steve Miller be throwing stones? That's the question just asked by anonymous friends of embattled Crazy Horse Too owner Rick Rizzolo as reported by award winning Las Vegas Review Journal columnist John L. Smith in last Wednesday's paper.

In his column, Smith also stated, "In addition to reporting issues in his Web column, Miller has teamed with James 'Buffalo Jim' Barrier to barb Rizzolo and his crew on an almost daily basis. Barrier owns Auto & Marine Electric, which leases space next to the Industrial Road club."

Barrier, a former pro wrestler, has successfully been battling Rizzolo from his next door space for the past 26 years, and has no intention of backing down.

anonymous friend's question is based on the worst kept secret in Sin City -- that my family has owned the dirt under an adult cabaret on Paradise Road since 1973. The property has been the criticism of choice in my four political campaigns, reported in the pages of both daily newspapers time and again, and I've proudly disclosed it in my campaign finance reports, and on my Internet Biography for over ten years.

But like some great excuse for murder, robbery and mayhem, Rick Rizzolo in 2001, came forward for the first time to claim that I should not be the one to criticize his bizarre method of doing business. That I have a secret "conflict of interest."

"Mr. Miller is the landlord of Club Paradise. Club Paradise, an adult dance establishment, is a direct business competitor of the club I operate, Crazy Horse Too. A mere glance at the titles to Mr. Miller's articles clearly reveals Mr. Miller's bias against his competitor, the Crazy Horse Too and myself, and his complete lack of journalistic professionalism." - Rick Rizzolo

                                   Emergency vehicles in front of Crazy Horse

In other words, I should stop reporting on the alleged violence, political corruption, credit card fraud, and coercion at his business because I am the landlord of a purported "competitor."

It always amuses me when Rizzolo or his anonymous friends try to compare their blood soaked converted 1950's era warehouse to Club Paradise.

The Crazy Horse is located in the worst part of town, an industrially zoned area a half mile west of the Strip, 3.1 miles north of Club Paradise.

Club Paradise is a free standing building constructed in 1994, located directly across the street from the Hard Rock Hotel on Las Vegas' second Strip, Paradise Road, and is less than a one block walk from over 3,000 luxury hotel rooms. In contrast, one would risk his life if he were to try to walk the mean streets leading to the Crazy Horse (going inside is often riskier).

Club Paradise is also the only local club that requires that all cars be valet parked, and has a dress code that is strictly enforced.  Furthermore, my long term ground lease is triple-net, without including a percentage of the business, meaning that no matter what I write, negative or positive, it could not affect my family's income in any way.
In other words, I am not a "competitor" to Rizzolo's topless bar.

Mr. Smith describes how rizzolo's anonymous friends whine that Steve Miller doesn'
t apply his "meat ax editorial style" to Sam Cecola, the owner of Club Paradise.

My simple answer? Mr. Cecola has never been accused of murdering, robbing or beating his customers. Nor is he the target of a federal RICO, and political corruption investigation, nor has his general manager been indicted for Racketeering, Extortion, Robbery, False Statements, and Tax Evasion. That's the exclusive province of Mr. Rizzolo.

Also, Mr. Cecola has also never been the subject of recent newspaper articles with titles such as:

July 22, 2005
Columnist Jeff German: Problems grow for Rizzolo

Friday, July 22, 2005
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
JOHN L. SMITH: Reports of Rizzolo dining with mob's 'Clown' should close club's doors

July 20, 2005
 Columnist Jeff German: Rizzolo to feel long arm of law

Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
JOHN L. SMITH: Rizzolo in a world of hurt -- and it's only going to get worse

Friday, March 18, 2005
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
JOHN L. SMITH: Attorneys for Crazy Horse Too boss see indictment coming soon

Thursday, January 20, 2005
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
FEDERAL INVESTIGATION: Club manager arrested
Indictment alleges racketeering at Crazy Horse Too

It should be clear by now who's the one living in a glass house, and why I concentrate so much of my journalistic efforts on this particular story. And it should also be clear that no other club in Sin City has had its manager indicted (link to US Dept. of Justice) with the picture of his take down plastered all over the front page.

              Bobby D'Apice being arrested outside club, January 2005   
                                 Review-Journal photo by John Gurzinski

Because of my experience since 1973 as a landlord to a (real) gentleman's club, I am more aware than other local journalists of how these type businesses should be run. The literary stones I've been throwing for over six years were intended solely to stop people from being maimed or killed by Rizzolo's goons who I know so well, and to try to help the other - legitimate - clubs to not be tarnished by Rizzolo's brush. An entire industry should not suffer for the actions of one.

I have also written extensively about how I believe some local politicians have been paid off to protect Mr. Rizzolo's interest and let the carnage continue. I am not alone in writing about this subject.

" every article devoted to myself or my club, Mr. Miller continues to make unsubstantiated statements or make tenuous connections to unrelated events in an attempt to show that I somehow run the City of Las Vegas, including its prosecutors, the police and fire departments, the judges, and the City Council." -- Rick Rizzolo, 10/09/01

I began to suspect political corruption in 1999 when Clark County District Court Judge Nancy Siatta sanctioned Buffalo Jim Barrier $4,500 after witnesses mysteriously failed to show up in court for a civil racketeering action he brought against Rizzolo. She summarily dismissed the action after saying, "Mr. Rizzolo has a good name in the community." Then, Judge Saitta somehow again was selected to rule on a motion for a gag order brought by Rizzolo against me. She appeared poised to grant the motion until she noticed attorneys for the ACLU and Review-Journal take seats in the back of her courtroom. This is the same judge who instructed jurors
to not consider the delayed effect of blunt force trauma as the cause of death in a case against the Crazy Horse brought by the widow of Scott Fau who was found dead two hours after he was beaten by bouncers.

Then there's the late-Judge Gary Redmond who dismissed a lawsuit brought against the City of Las Vegas in 1999 after the then-mayor, Jan Jones, allowed Rizzolo to expand his bar by 6,000 square feet without the benefit of extra parking, a traffic study, or a building permit. The judge's excuse? The plaintiff's attorney was late filing court papers.

In 2002, two weeks before leaving office, former Clark County District Attorney Stu Bell told a TV audience that his successor, David Roger, would have "probable cause" to prosecute employees of the Crazy Horse for the beating of Kirk Henry and others. As soon as Roger was sworn in, he dropped all cases brought by the Metro Police against Rizzolo.

In the meantime, Mayor Oscar Goodman and his obedient council ignored over 737 police responses to the Horse, and instead passed an ordinance allowing the bar to expand, and refused to enforce state and county laws prohibiting the hiring of teenage strippers.

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

Soon after Amy Henry's statement, Goodman shamelessly accepted a $40,000 campaign contribution from Rizzolo. Curiously, he was running unopposed -- but still took the money.

"Mr. Miller... could have no justification for publishing false and misleading information, especially considering Mr. Miller's inside information*, Mr. Miller is a party to the lawsuits and has been privy to all information. Everything Mr. Miller reports is also public information and requires no diligence or investigative reporting. Yet, Mr. Miller, in his article(s), omits, skews, or outwardly lies about pertinent information." -- Rick Rizzolo, 10/09/01

The word on the street is that Rizzolo's attorneys, Dean Patti and Tony Sgro , are about to file frivolous lawsuits against me (their second), and against certain other journalists, to try to stop news stories about their client's pending indictment. They are reportedly charging Rizzolo $500 per hour to write Demand for Retraction and Apology letters that began being delivered last week, and I'm reportedly on the list. However, it didn't work in 2001, and it won't work now. When and if  my threat letter arrives, I will again reply "Make my day," and continue exercising my First Amendment right to inform the public about their client and his dangerous business. I expect other writers covering this story will do likewise. And it would not shock me, if followed through, these cases somehow end up in the court of Judge Siatta, or another judge who accepted Rizzolo's largesse.

I broke all of these stories first. I did so from a glass house, and I will continue for the right reasons. If that's a conflict of interest, then so be it.

*Steve Miller is a consultant to the Flangas McMillan Law Group

* 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

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