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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:

Rizzolo's son facing indictment

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
August 4, 2008

LAS VEGAS - Dominic John Rizzolo, 26, son of convicted racketeer Rick Rizzolo, faces indictment on August 12, for aggravated assault with intent to commit serious bodily injury.

Dominic was arrested on March 28, 2008 for a stabbing that occurred last January. Felony charges include assault with a deadly weapon; carrying a concealed weapon; and attempted extortion.

A police report indicates that on January 21, at approximately 10 PM, Dominic, accompanied by an unidentified man, and a woman named Gabrielle, drove to Billy Moyer's home in a dark colored SUV with the license place covered by a T-shirt.

Gabrielle was the stabbing victim's former live in girl friend.

Moyer, 26, who was a class made of Rizzolo at Gorman High School, reported he received a phone call on the night of the incident from Gabrielle asking if he was staying home that evening? Fifteen minutes after Moyer told Gabrielle he had no plans to go out, Rizzolo reportedly knocked at his door.

Moyer's mother answered the door and summoned her son. The two men conversed on the front lawn for several minutes until Rizzolo reportedly asked Moyer, "Do you know who my family is?" then demanded $20,000.

Moyer said he refused the demand and ordered Rizzolo off the property which he said inspired Rizzolo to slug him in the face. A fight ensued in which Rizzolo reportedly pulled a switch blade knife and stabbed Moyer in the upper abdomen.

Not realizing he was severely injured, Moyer pursued Rizzolo to the SUV. Rizzolo lost his shoe during the short chase. As the vehicle driven by the unidentified male pulled away, Moyer said he grabbed the T-shirt off the license plate and memorized the number.

Moyer returned to his house and discovered the life threatening wound. His mother called 911, and Moyer was transported to the hospital where he received three hours of emergency surgery followed by three days in the intensive care unit.

Moyer later identified the T-shirt as one he had purchased for Gabrielle during their relationship.

Rizzolo's preliminary hearing was held on July 30 in Clark County Justice Court. Rick Rizzolo's criminal defense attorney Tony Sgro plead not guilty on behalf of Dominic based on self defense, but Judge Deborah Lippis found sufficient evidence to bind the case over to District Court.

Sources close to Gabrielle report that she was forced by Dominic Rizzolo "at gunpoint" to go to attorney Sgro's office to sign an affidavit stating she witnessed Rizzolo stab Moyer in self defense.

In her affidavit she claims that Moyer provoked the fight after Rizzolo attempted to collect a past due debt. She stated that Rizzolo used the knife to stop Moyer from hitting him with a brick.

However, only Moyer received injuries or filed a police report regarding the altercation. And a local criminal attorney told INSIDE VEGAS that the phone call made to Moyer prior to Rizzolo's appearance, along with the covering of the license plate on Rizzolo's SUV clearly shows premeditation

Also, Rizzolo was arrested more than six weeks following the stabbing, and only after police were tipped off that he was residing with Rick Rizzolo's god son Rick Belcastro in a Summerlin estate.

It's not known whether Rizzolo was purposely trying to avoid arrest by staying at Belcastro's estate, or if Belcastro was aware there was a warrant issued for his house guest? These are questions that may be asked in court.

Belcastro is the owner of the Bada Bing strip club. Rick Rizzolo is a suspected hidden owner of the club.

The Rizzolo family was most likely aware of Dominic's whereabouts at least a week prior to his arrest based on Dominic's grandfather Bart Rizzolo, 76, being overheard in early March complaining that his grandson was about to be arrested for attempted murder and extortion, and how much the family's lawyers would charge to get him off.

I reported the conversation to my 10,000 subscribers in one of my daily INSIDE VEGAS E-Briefs, and Dominic was located and arrested several days later.

After the arrest, Dominic was released on his own recognizance and I soon received two death threats in the mail. The first came on April 19, and the second on June 23. I turned the letters over to the police and FBI. No arrests were made.

This was not the first time I had received communications that purportedly came from a Rizzolo family member. On July 27, 2007, I penned an column that mentioned one of Dominic's closest friends in a rather unfavorable light.

I referred to a person named Benny Behnen as being a coward for beating up women. His first victim was Summer Stupak who he attacked on August 25, 2000 at Piero's restaurant in Las Vegas. His latest victim was Sandra Murphy whom he reportedly slugged and kicked at Piero's on July 9, 2007.

I stated that Benny, 30, and Dominic are part of a new breed of local spoiled brats who have no education or skills, but plenty of mom and dad's money to blow in bars and casinos. I referred to Dominic as Benny's protégé, and those words inspired the following email.
From: Melissa Hicks <> 
Subject:    Dominic Rizzolo 

This is Dominic Rizzolo. You have some nerve calling anyone a coward especially my best friend Benny Benhen (sp). It was you (steve miller) who gave up his own daughter for cocaine that was found in your possession in a car you were driving [1]. If that isnt (sp) the definition of a cunt and a coward then i dont (sp) know what is. Why dont (sp) you make a copy of this email and put it on your website so that people can see just what kind of person your are. If you were to see any of us around you would scurry like a frightened rabbit.
Dominic Rizzolo  

Dominic's assault case is being prosecuted by the Clark County District Attorney's office which has apparently made an abrupt about face when it comes to the Rizzolo family.

In 2002, Rick and Lisa Rizzolo donated $10,000 to then District Attorney candidate David Roger. Rizzolo also hosted a fundraiser for the candidate at his Canyon Gate Country Club estate that raised an undetermined amount of money (Nevada political campaign finance law does not require candidates to specify where, or the date when they received donations.)

At the fundraiser, the Rizzolos introduced the candidate to most of the local adult business owners and their wallets. At the time, Roger seemed unconcerned that his chief fundraiser's strip club employees were facing multiple police requests for prosecution for robbery, battery, and conspiracy to commit robbery and coercion, along with separate requests for the DA to prosecute several Crazy Horse Too employees for an attempted murder, and a wrongful death.

After I wrote about the fundraiser, Roger purportedly returned $50,000 in campaign contributions from the adult business owners and Rizzolos. However, immediately following election to his first term, Roger dropped all police requests for prosecution in cases involving Rick and Lisa Rizzolo's business.

The FBI was forced to step in and take over the cases. In 2006, Rick Rizzolo was indicted for crimes at the Crazy Horse Too. He pleaded guilty and served one year and one day in federal prison in exchange for forfeiting the Crazy Horse, and agreeing to never again be involved in any adult business for the rest of his life. The Crazy Horse Too permanently lost its liquor license and adult use zoning. The property and trade name are being liquidated by the government to pay back taxes.

Rizzolo was released from prison on April 4, 2008, and has since been reported to be a consultant and hidden owner in the recently opened Bada Bing Men's Club. (Belcastro is the blond man in this video wearing a white T-shirt and jeans shown immediately after the stripper says "This is Bada Bing, and we have class!" Rick Rizzolo is not shown).

Since returning from prison, Rizzolo has claimed to be broke -- having transferred all of his assets to his wife in a hastily conceived 2005 divorce. An action has been filed in federal court to apply the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (UFTA) to seize and recover the couple's hidden assets to pay creditors. According to Rick's plea bargain, he or his wife cannot declare bankruptcy.

The Rizzolo family has a long history of violence. In 1989, Rick Rizzolo pleaded guilty to the 1985 baseball bat beating of a Crazy Horse patron. Rick Sandlin died three years later of complications related to his injuries. Rizzolo did not serve jail time for his crime.

In 1995, long haul truck driver Scott David Fau was beaten to death by Crazy Horse bouncers. The bouncers were not convicted.

In a 2000 document filed in district court, Crazy Horse Too neighbor Robert L. Westphal stated: "I asked if he (Bart Rizzolo) would send someone to my property to clean my parking lot (of used condoms and drug paraphernalia). Mr. Rizzolo refused to do so. I told him I would sweep it up and bring it down to Crazy Horse Too and dump it out. He replied that, if I did, he would 'blow my f - - k-ing head off.'"

In 2001, Kansas tourist Kirk Henry's neck was broken by a Crazy Horse employee for disputing a bar tab.

In December 2007, and January 2008, two restraining orders were issued against Bart Rizzolo. The orders were to prevent Bart from coming within 100 feet of the late Buffalo Jim Barrier, the former next door neighbor of the Crazy Horse Too who died under mysterious circumstances the day after Rick Rizzolo was released from prison. According to the TROs, Bart attempted to run the garage owner down with his Range Rover.

Now, following Rick Rizzolo's conviction for racketeering and tax evasion, Bart Rizzolo's TROs, and Dominic Rizzolo's felony indictment, it appears that the once Teflon coated family is about to again feel the long arm of the law for their misdeeds. Though I heard Rick Rizzolo recently called a couple of his associates in chicago, and told them Dominic got "12 months probation."

Dominic Rizzolo is scheduled to appear for arraignment on August 12. The charges against him, if proven, can result in a prison sentence of between two and five years for each count.

Dominic is rumored to be relaxing in Florida while awaiting his arraignment.

And speaking of Piero's...

INSIDE VEGAS on July 14, 2008, broke the story about Rick Rizzolo's crony Freddie Glusman, 72, the 210 pound owner of Piero's in Vegas and the Ritz in posh Newport Beach, getting arrested for allegedly beating up a 30 year old 127 pound cocktail waitress.

This is the same Freddie Glusman who hosted Rizzolo's bizarre Going to Prison Party that inspired all sorts of LV and Laguna Beach denizens to mingle with a bunch of mobsters, politicians, and celebrities including former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, the husband of a LV councilwoman.

I broke the Going to Prison Party story in May 2007, and the resulting press coverage turned the Ritz into the laughing stock of Southern California along with exposing the neuvo riche Vegas transplants who have been infesting the sea side village for over a decade. My story also infuriated the federal judge presiding over Rizzolo's case so much that he rushed Rizzolo to prison before all his appeals ran out!

Since July 14, and to Glusman's dismay, the story of the girl beating has gone multi-media with reports in the Laguna JournalOrange County Register, and Las Vegas Review Journal that followed my lead. (I don't plan on dining at Piero's or the Ritz in the immediate future.)

What makes the Glusman story interesting is his close relationship with our town's pillars of the community like Rick Rizzolo and Benny Behnen, and with Orange County's pillar of the community, disgraced ex-Sheriff Mike Carona.

According to police reports, Glusman beat the bejesus out of the cocktail waitress. And Behnen must have been inspired by Freddie when he beat the bejesus out of 125 pound Summer Stupak, and 115 pound Sandy Murphy in Piero's, then was seen drinking with Freddie at  his bar as if such violence is acceptable in Glusman's restaurants.

Now, it seems the girl beatings have moved to the west coast.

Could it be that Freddie is mentoring Benny in the art of girl beating, and in turn influencing young Dominic when it comes to being violent?

For many years I thought guys like Behnen, the Rizzolos, and Freddie Glusman were immune to bad press or prosecution, at least in Sin City. It was Freddie Glusman who was named "Las Vegas Citizen of the Month" in September 2002 by the mayor and council, a few weeks after he publicly referred to an African American city councilwoman as a "Schwarz."

His immunity was always suspected of being caused by all the free food and booze he doles out to politicians and a few thirsty reporters, along with his hosting fund raisers in his restaurants for selected politicians when election time rolls around.

And what about that Sheriff in Orange County getting ousted for his association with Rizzolo and Glusman, among others? Isn't he the same pillar of the community that mooned his constituents in the Orange County Weekly?

With such pillars of the community being arrested, and their escapades exposed for all to see, I'm starting to think this world may finally be changing for the better.

Copyright © Steve Miller

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