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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:

Kirk Henry's attorneys seize Rick Rizzolo's
2009 Mercedes-Benz SL65 BiTurbo V12

"Gangster" continues mocking the Federal Court
First he threw himself a going to prison party
Then he bought himself a $180,000 Benz
while debts to Henry and IRS languish

               Rizzolo's former 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL65 BiTurbo V12

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
August 8, 2011

LAS VEGAS - On Thursday evening, August 4, 2011, former Crazy Horse Too owner Rick Rizzolo was enjoying a quiet dinner with friends. Just outside Piero's Restaurant near the Strip, Las Vegas Constables were seizing Rizzolo's favorite toy over the objections of a loyal parking attendant. Soon, the entrance to the bistro was abuzz with Vegas luminaries including Piero's owner Fredde Glusman watching the goings on.

Some background: In April, 2008, Rizzolo was released from prison after serving an abbreviated ten month sentence for tax evasion. Upon his release, he was placed on parole for the next three years. During that time, Rizzolo was required to report all his financial transactions to his Parole Officer Eric Christiansen. He was also required to pay over $27 million in court ordered personal debts.

Sometime during the first year of his supervised release program, Rizzolo obtained a shiny black $180,000, 2009 Mercedes SL65 sports car. He did so without reporting the acquisition to Christiansen, unpaid beating victim Kirk Henry, or the IRS.

During Rizzolo's pre-sentence plea negotiations in 2005, he agreed to pay Henry $9 million in restitution for injuries suffered in 2001 when Henry's neck was broken by a Crazy Horse Too manager over a disputed bar tab. Henry has been a quadriplegic ever since. Rizzolo agreed to pay the restitution in exchange for a feather light sentence.

After Rizzolo's release from prison, he paid Henry a total of only $4,000 while claiming to have no money, but continued living a lavish lifestyle in the Roma Hills section of Henderson, an exclusive enclave located several miles south of Las Vegas.

On July 21, 2011, United States Judge Philip Pro ORDERED Rizzolo to return on September 14, 2011 to Federal Prison to serve an additional nine months for violating the provisions of his parole including his non-payment of Henry's restitution, and failure to report large financial transactions. Judge Pro also extended Rizzolo's parole for an additional 24 months after his next release from prison.

But most troubling to Rizzolo was that Judge Pro prohibited him from gambling, ordered him to stay out of casinos, and ordered him to immediately repatriate back to the U.S. the ill-gotten assets his ex-wife Lisa secretly transferred off shore following a hasty 2005 divorce that took place three months before Rick began his plea negotiations. Lisa made the transfers with the help of "asset protection" attorney John Dawson, the brother of a Federal Court Judge.

At the time of the July 21 sentencing, Judge Pro was not aware of the Mercedes-Benz.

This was not the first time Rick Rizzolo tried to fool the court. Back in 2006, during the months leading up to his original prison term, Rizzolo feigned sickness to delay reporting to prison in his criminal case, or being deposed in Kirk Henry's civil action. Rizzolo's sentencing was first scheduled for September 15, 2006. Then it was postponed until December 8. Then it was delayed until Dec. 18, all purportedly for health reasons. Meanwhile, residents of the plush Park Towers and Turnberry Place condominiums in Las Vegas reported Rick's late night activities, and their stories dispelled the claim that he was sick!

Rizzolo was also seen in the company of strippers at the Hilton and other hotels chain smoking and drinking while gambling hundreds of thousands of dollars -- money pledged to the Henrys and the IRS. Rizzolo, then 47, reportedly told his friends his heart condition was "upgraded," and he's on heavier medication. His friends said it would be a miracle if he lived long enough to go to prison.

On April 29, 2007, with several Appeals and Requests for Reconsideration of his sentence laying on Judge Pro's desk, Rizzolo threw himself a "Farewell Party" at Fredde Glusman's former Ritz Restaurant in Newport Beach, the exclusive Southern California town where the Rizzolo's have a luxurious beach house on Ocean Front Drive.

INSIDE VEGAS had someone stationed at the secret Ritz party, and on May 7, 2007, I wrote a column on breaking news of the festivities, and a follow up column on May 21 telling of how the party backfired. One day later on May 22, Rizzolo reported to prison.

This is how my source described the melancholy evening: "I despise these people. Rizzolo had Joe Pesci, Jerry Tarkanian, Gary Primm among other old Las Vegas cronies of his that have one foot in the grave. They were accompanied by silicon filled hookers that stood out at the Ritz like the Grand Wizard of the KKK at a Martin Luther King rally. Others present were very prominent professionals in business in the Newport Beach area. Guests were all met by Ritz employees dressed in prison outfits pointing machine guns at them. All guests were provided with handcuffs and other prison/inmate related novelties. In addition, all guests had their pictures taken while standing behind a makeshift prison cell with jail bars with Taft Penitentiary booking number and all. It was meant to be a slap in the face to the Feds."

After learning of the extravagant party, Judge Pro threw out all of Rizzolo's appeals, requests for reconsideration, and motions to delay his incarceration. That's when Rizzolo officially became a resident of the maximum security Los Angeles Federal Detention Center, and became known as Inmate # 41390-048.

It appears Rizzolo's arrogance screwed up his chance of being assigned to the Taft Minimum Security Camp outside Bakersfield, a virtual country club compared to the downtown LA jail with balconies covered by razor wire.

Rizzolo's over the top parties ended -- temporarily -- but resumed immediately after he was released from prison and when he became the proud owner of a brand new Mercedes-Benz L65 BiTurbo V12!

Kirk Henry and the IRS continued waiting less-than-patiently for their money while Rizzolo's legal team flooded the court with more frivolous motions.

It was as if Rizzolo was purposefully trying to make a mockery of Judge Pro, the United States Federal Court System, Kirk Henry, and the Internal Revenue Service.

With Henry's attorneys Don Campbell, Stan Hunterton, and Phil Erwin vowing "We'll follow this gangster to the gates of Hell," private investigators were reportedly hired to watch Rick and Lisa Rizzolo's every move. That's when the Mercedes was discovered.

P.O. Christiansen and the Court were informed of Rizzolo's continued lifestyle and his expensive turbocharged ride, that's when things began to change.

During the days following Judge Pro's July 21 Order re-sentencing Rizzolo to additional prison time and supervised release, the esteemed jurist continued to pound his gavel in response to newly tendered information about the racketeer and his mysterious ex-wife.

On July 28, 2011, Judge Pro DENIED Lisa Rizzolo's Motion for Summary Judgment. In her Motion, she tried, but failed to get Kirk Henry's Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act Motion dismissed.

Also on July 28, Judge Pro ORDERED that Kimtran Rizzolo, Rick's mother in law, could be included as a Defendant in Kirk Henry's lawsuit. Henry contends that Kimtran laundered $789,000 from the sale of the Philadelphia Crazy Horse Too.

Then on August 1, 2011, Henry's attorneys filed a MOTION to hold Vince Piazza in Contempt. They claim Piazza, Rizzolo's business partner in the Philly club, failed to follow a Court Order to transfer to the Henrys hundreds of thousands of dollars being held for the Rizzolos in Piazza's Bank of America account.

True to form, on the same day Judge Pro denied Lisa's motion, and ordered that Kimtran can be sued, Rizzolo's latest attorney Dominic Gentile filed a fully expected NOTICE OF APPEAL with the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco.

However, as Gentile is aware, four previous Rizzolo appeals to the Ninth Circuit have been dismissed in this drawn out case, and in order to succeed with this latest appeal, he must prove that during the five days of hearings, Judge Pro "made substantial mistakes that seriously affected the outcome of the case."

This flies in the face of Judge Pro's 24 year tenure on the United States District Court bench. His decisions have seldom if ever been reversed.

Gentile, a shareholder in the Gordon Silver law firm, filed this latest appeal for his client in order to try to reverse all of Judge Pro's rulings. Doing so will cost Rizzolo (or whomever is paying his legal bills) tens of thousands of additional dollars, money meant for Henry, the IRS, and others.

Based on Rizzolo's dismal record with the Court of Appeals, it's fully expected that the Court will again promptly Dismiss his latest Appeal as frivolous and only meant to further stall incarceration and debt payments. (The Court's quickest Dismissal of a Rizzolo Appeal took only 23 days.)

Here's a list of Rizzolo's previous Appeals that were Dismissed by the Ninth Circuit:
Prior Cases:
     Date Filed: 03/18/2008     Date Disposed: 08/21/2009     Disposition: Rule 42-1 Dismissal - Judge Order
     Date Filed: 05/21/2008     Date Disposed: 07/31/2008     Disposition: FRAP 42b Dismissal - Clerk Order
     Date Filed: 07/29/2008     Date Disposed: 08/21/2009     Disposition: Rule 42-1 Dismissal - Judge Order
     Date Filed: 02/17/2011     Date Disposed: 05/25/2011     Disposition: FRAP 42b Dismissal - Staff Atty Order

An appeal of a judgment such as the one filed by Mr. Gentile does not necessarily prevent that judgment from being carried out. While the legal system gives parties an opportunity to appeal a judgment, it does not intend to do so as an avenue to avoid sentencing. If so, sentences could be postponed for years based on appeals to Federal Circuit Courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

In order to postpone Rizzolo's sentence during his Appeal, Rizzolo must be granted a Stay of Judgment by Judge Pro, and that seems highly unlikely.

If Judge Pro does not issue a Stay of Judgment after giving Gentile five full court days to make his case, Rick Rizzolo will have to report to Federal Prison on September 14 to begin his new nine month sentence regardless of the sometimes years long appeal process.

During Rick's extensive parole revocation hearings, he sat in Judge Pro's court slouched in his seat, chewing gum, and giggling. He also consistently wore a $30,000 Rolex Daytona Oyster Perpetual 18kt Gold Automatic watch to court as shown in this February 28, 2011 photo by Mike Christ, all while Rizzolo was pleading poverty.

Based on the surprise seizure of Rick's Mercedes, Court observers are now wondering how long it will take the Constable's Office to seize the valuable Swiss time piece, and whether it will be done in a public setting to further humiliate Rizzolo?

And as far as Rick being able to get around town without the power of twelve cylinders, sources at Piero's report that Fredde Glusman handed his pal the keys to his personal luxury car to make sure Rick has prestigious wheels until he reports to prison on September 14 when he will no longer have such a need.

According to Nevada law, the Constable has ten days to advertise and auction off seized items. INSIDE VEGAS will be at the auction to see if one of Rizzolo's cronies, possibly Fred Doumani, shows up to bid. Doumani claims to be paying Rizzolo's legal bills as an act of kindness. In his deposition, when asked why he allegedly was paying Rizzolo's legal bills, Doumani said: "I'll pay it. I cannot stand to see what's, what's happening here."

Who knows? The Benz could somehow fall back into Rizzolo's hands with a little help from his friends. According to the Kelly Blue Book, the car is presently worth $127,875 in excellent condition, not a bad investment in today's luxury car market.

Rizzolo is still suspected of having millions in cash secreted in casino cage lock boxes. It would be magic if he was somehow spending his own unreported cash on legal bills and expensive cars right under the noses of Judge Pro and Kirk Henry.

Nonetheless, the "donation" of expensive legal defense services might be considered in-kind income by the IRS, and could come back to haunt Rizzolo, et. al.

While all of the above is going on, John Dawson, the "asset protection" attorney who hid the Rizzolo's ill-gotten assets right in the middle of a well publicized personal injury lawsuit and federal investigation, is being taken to task by his peers.

While John Dawson and his law firm Lionel Sawyer Collins were happily receiving a reported $80,000 for their "asset protection" service to the Rizzolos, John's brother Federal Judge Kent Dawson failed to disclose his sibling's enrichment while doling out feather light sentences to 15 of the Rizzolo's employees.

Though it's not against the law for a licensed attorney to hide a client's ill-gotten assets, or for a Federal Judge to skip making proper disclosures, members of the national legal community have taken clear notice of such events that appear to be happening exclusively in Las Vegas.

"I suspect the next we hear of this case will be about a contempt hearing to incarcerate the debtors/beneficiaries until the moneys come back from offshore. Rick Rizzolo was released from prison in April 2008, and Lisa Rizzolo was apparently never charged for anything, so both are available for incarceration if the trust assets are not returned. Stay tuned."

These are the words of highly respected asset protection attorney Jay Adkisson of the firm Riser Adkisson LLP.

Mr. Adkisson's website describes him as: "Nationally known as a leading critic of abusive asset protection and offshore strategies." "...a leading foe of those who promote abusive tax schemes or financial frauds." "Jay's lectures have included 'The Ethics and Morality of Asset Protection Planning' (presentation to the American Bar Association), 'Avoiding Fraudulent Transfers', and 'Why Offshore Trusts Fail'."

With Rick temporarily tooling around in borrowed wheels, a Federal Judge who has become very impatient, and a supposed "asset protection" lawyer trying to save his self tarnished reputation, we may have begun the final chapter in this ad nauseam saga.

If attorney Adkisson is correct in regard to Lisa Rizzolo being  "..available for incarceration if the trust assets are not returned,"  then Kirk Henry's legal team may be about to strike pay dirt.

But if Lisa refuses to repatriate her ex-husband's stash and is indicted, we'll soon learn if Rick is man enough to pay his court ordered debts and not let his wife, the mother of his children, go to jail for violating a Federal Judge's Order.

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