Dumpty - Vegas Style
really worried about the (state) bar (of Nevada)
as much as I was the Ethics
Commission. We have
a long and storied history, and I
didn't want to
appear in front of them again.
- Oscar Goodman
Clark County District Court, September 12, 2006
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
September 18, 2006
LAS VEGAS - As small time
Rizzolo watched, Clark County District Court Judge
Mark Denton last Tuesday ruled to uphold the unanimous vote of the Las
Council that permanently revoked his Crazy Horse Too strip bar's liquor
license thereby ending twenty years of bloodshed.
Five days earlier, the same judge denied Rizzolo's motion for a
Temporary Restraining Order against the City.
Sources close to the case say Crazy Horse Attorney Tony Sgro, in order
to convince Rizzolo and 15 of his thugs
to plead guilty to felonies, promised that when they
return from prison, their blood soaked bar would still be in
operation, albeit, in the hands of a straw boss, and that they could
return as hidden owners and continue bashing heads.
Then the sky fell in.
Sgro opened his lightweight argument before Judge Denton by
saying the City
client's rights by conducting the license revocation hearing in
He said the hearing should have been conducted in private behind closed
Then he said that (his mentor) Mayor Oscar Goodman had had a change of
heart and, after the fact, decided he had no conflict of interest and
should have presided over the Council hearing.
The judge was not impressed. While Sgro droned on and on, award winning Review-Journal photographer Clint
Karlsen snapped dozens of photos of a droopy eyed Rizzolo watching his
empire shatter like an egg.
after hearing Judge
Denton's ruling , Rizzolo's pal, 72 year old Fred Doumani, needed
the bailiff's assistance to exit the courtroom. Rizzolo didn't fare
much better as he brushed off reporters during his retreat to his car.
Then to add insult to injury, the next morning's RJ front page included a 5 by 9
inch color photo of Rizzolo with egg on his face along with the two
page story of his demise. (The Review-Journal
is Nevada's largest newspaper.)
My July 10 complaint
to the State Ethics Commission was
the straw that broke the Horse's back. The complaint forced
Rizzolo's former criminal defense attorney Mayor Oscar Goodman to
abstain, and cleared the way for the rest of the Council to -- without
powerful influence -- do the right thing.
Now seeing the empty parking lot in front of the once bustling criminal
enterprise, I can't help but remember back when Rizzolo seemed to
have the world dangling on a string of hundred dollar bills.
In 2001, he sued me and my publisher for breaking the story of the
crippling of Kansas tourist Kirk Henry. He was so concerned that his
reputation would be injured by my reports that he authored the
following Letter to the Editor in the weekly newspaper I then wrote
Here's Mr. Rizzolo's letter in its entirety. Though it reads more like
a letter from his attorney, Mr. Rizzolo's signature was affixed as the
author. So you're not mislead, please read
my response. I've linked to it at the end of the letter.
Letter to Editor
Las Vegas Tribune
October 9, 2001
Dear Mr. Larraz:
On September 25, 2001, the Tribune
published an article entitled,
"Racketeering Charge Against Rizzolo Sticks," written by Steve Miller.
In no way could this article, with
its false and misleading
information, be considered a news article worthy of publication in a
"real" newspaper or even on the Internet. These lies have injured us
and our reputation; we demand and, in the interest of truth, must be
provided with a retraction, as well as publication of this letter.
This article and Mr. Miller, who owns
and utilizes this newspaper as
a vehicle to attack business and political competitors, does nothing
but mock real journalism.
Not only does this paper fail to
report that Mr. Miller owns the
newspaper for which he is its most prolific writer, but also fails to
report the extent of Mr. Miller's interest and involvement in the
lawsuits he discussed.
The Las Vegas Tribune and Mr. Miller
fail to disclose that 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.
Mr. Miller, unlike the true
newspapers of this city, has devoted
much of his time and energy to writing articles about me and my club.
What Mr. Miller omits, in addition to what he chooses to write, in
these articles are tell-tale signs of Mr. Miller's agenda.
In every Miller article devoted to
myself or to Crazy Horse Too, Mr.
Miller, in violation of what every first-year journalism student is
taught, presents only one side of the story. For example, while quoting
directly from complaints filed against me, Mr. Miller has never quoted
the complaint I filed against him or his personal friend, James
Barrier, When Mr. Miller does deign to mention those complaints against
him, the reference is brief, cursory, and buried somewhere towards the
end of the article.
It is no surprise, of course, that
one will not find a single
article in the Tribune reporting any event or fact favorable to myself
or to my club.
In many of his articles, Mr. Miller
claimed that he sought comments
from me. With this letter, I now present Mr. Miller and the Tribune my
comments to those articles and, if the Tribune has any integrity, it
must publish this letter without changes.
Also in 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.
In his October 2 article, Mr. Miller
wrote that "It is well known
that City Councilman Michael McDonald takes his marching orders from"
me. (If this "fact" was so well known, Mr. Miller could have easily
quoted someone, but Mr. Miller did not do that since such an attempt
would actually involve real investigative journalism.) Of course, Mr.
Miller does not substantiate such allegations except by connecting me
with McDonald, McDonald with Cusamano, and Cusamano with me.
Mr. Miller, as customary, omits
circumstances which would reveal his
bias against Councilman McDonald. Although Mr. Miller repeatedly
reminds his readers at the end of his editorials that be was a former
City Councilman, Mr. Miller conveniently forgets to mention that he
lost his seat to Councilman McDonald, who shares the spotlight that Mr.
Miller likes to place on me.
For those interested in the truth,
which the Tribune does not
apparently offer, Mr., Miller was sued along with James Barrier and the
Las Vegas Tribune for racketeering, which alleges that Mr. Miller has
been repeatedly involved in providing false evidence to the court.
(Editor's note: There is no official record of Mr. Miller or the
Tribune being sued for "racketeering." Mr. Rizzolo is the only person
on record being sued for racketeering.)
Mr. Miller, or this paper, 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, omits, skews, or outwardly
lies about pertinent information.
For example, in paragraph two of the
September 25 article, Mr.
Miller wrote that the attempt to evict Barrier was unsuccessful and
that the eviction suit was brought to expand Crazy Horse Too. To the
contrary, Barrier would have been evicted had he not agreed to comply
with his landlord's and the law's demands. Those demands included
refraining from dumping toxic chemicals in and around the property,
refraining from parking his junk automobiles in neighboring private
properties and common areas, and taking down a big belching mechanical
buffalo that was deemed an environmental nuisance. The eviction was
also brought because Barrier has been operating an automobile body shop
without a license.
The eviction suit was not brought at
all by myself or as an attempt
to expand the Crazy Horse Too. The architectural drawings depicting
expansion into Mr. Barrier's leaseholds, referred to in paragraph
twelve of Mr. Miller's article, were prepared long before Crazy Horse
Too expanded in the other direction and certainly long before the
Department of Transportation (DOT) announced possible plans to widen
Industrial Road. The DOT has not even scheduled this purported
Ironically, it is not our leasehold
that is in danger of being
substantially reduced by the DOT expansion; it is Mr. Barrier's
leasehold, which is closer to Industrial, Widening Industrial would
essentially eliminate Barrier's property. Undoubtedly, Barrier is
willing to negotiate and sell his leasehold that may not be there in a
couple of years.
In any case, if Mr. Miller had
actually done some investigating, as
any reporter would do, and contacted the architect of those plans, Mr.
Miller would have discovered two sets of plans for the expansion of
Crazy Horse Too, one northward and the other southward towards Mr.
Barrier's leasehold, both of which were prepared well before the
proposed DOT expansion.
Contrary to Mr. Barrier's claim, I
did make an offer to Mr. Barrier
when I was still contemplating these two options for expansion. When
Mr. Barrier sought a ludicrous multimillion dollar purchase price, a
price that was ten times more than what his actual leasehold was worth,
I decided on a northward expansion and purchased the adult bookstore
that was next to Crazy Horse Too, Once Crazy Horse Too expanded
northward, there was no reason and no need to purchase Mr. Barrier's
Again, accurately reporting the facts
takes no investigative skills
as Mr. Miller would have had all the inside information, since he did,
after all, finance Mr. Barrier's defense to the eviction suit
This he did in exchange for Mr.
Barrier's agreement to file a
countercomplaint against me. Mr. Barrier himself admitted this in
court, under oath, on March 15, 2001
In paragraph three of the article,
Mr. Miller further reported that
District Court Judge Nancy Saitta denied our motion to dismiss the
Conspiracy/Civil RICO causes of action. Again, a blatant lie, as Mr.
Miller well knows and as evident by the absence of an order dismissing
the motion. In fact, not only did Judge Saitta not deny the motion but
she also stated that she deemed it "meritorious." In other words, Judge
Saitta found that Mr. Barrier's complaint was legally defective in that
it failed to state what we did that could amount to a conspiracy or
racketeering. The only reason that Mr. Barrier's case has not been
dismissed is because Judge Saitta gave Mr. Barrier another opportunity
to re-write his complaint. Unless he can now come up with a new theory
of liability, his case will be dismissed
Thus, contrary to the article's
title, the racketeering charge
against me has not "stuck."
In the eighth paragraph of the
September 25E article, Mr. Miller
wrote that Judge Nancy Oesterle dismissed the eviction action brought
by Barrier's landlord Renata Schiff. Again, this is incorrect. Judge
Oesterle did not dismiss the action; the court was divested of
jurisdiction when Barrier and Mr. Miller filed for declaratory relief.
Additionally, it was not "by
coincidence" that the libel action is
also assigned to Judge Saitta. The cases before Judge Saitta have been
consolidated and are being heard by one judge because they involve the
same matter, Mr. Miller had unsuccessfully attempted to remove Judge
Saitta, but a different and independent judge, Judge Ron Parraguirre,
found that Mr. Miller had acted improperly in doing so.
In the fifth paragraph of the article
(and in two October, 2001,
articles) Mr. Miller misstated the facts of another case, facts which
are again available to the public. Contrary to what Mr. Miller wrote,
Mr. Fau was not found beaten to death. Mr. Fau was not even dead when
he was found.
Contrary to what Mr. Miller chooses
to report, the coroner who
examined Mr. Fau's body could not determine the cause of death but
completely ruled out that Mr. Fau was beaten to death or that his death
was caused by an altercation. Mr. Fau, with his friend, had come into
the Crazy Horse Too in an inebriated state and threatened and harassed
my bartender, When my employees were attempting to eject Mr. Fau, who
was at least six feet tall and weighed 300 pounds, from the club, Mr.
Fau took off his belt, wrapped it around his hand, and struck one or
more of my employees, injuring them.
Two of my employees eventually had to
go to the hospital for those
injuries. The police had to be called in and it was the police who
ejected Mr. Fau and his friend from the premises and saw these two
people walk southwards away from the club. At least three hours had
elapsed before Mr. Fau's body was found on the train tracks far from
Crazy Horse Too.
Mr. Miller also refers to another
alleged beating that occurred at
my club on September 20, 2001. No "beating" ever occurred on my
premises on that day. A customer leaving the club drunk did trip, but
in no way was this man "beaten," About the only accurate fact reported
by Mr. Miller was the club personnel were standing over the injured
man. Of course, Mr. Miller does not mention that my employees were
assisting the injured man, as that would ruin his insinuation that my
employees had "beat up" this man.
It appears that Mr. Miller's
omissions of the pertinent information
discussed above was necessary to preserve the very purpose for the
Tribune's existence. That purpose is not to report the truth but to
provide Mr. Miller an outlet to attack those he considers as "enemies"
or competitors. Unfortunately, Mr. Miller attacks more than just
enemies; he mocks the public, the public's intelligence, and real
journalism. With this unethical twisting of the truth, Mr. Miller and
the Tribune disgrace even Yellow Journalism.
President, Crazy Horse Too
CLICK HERE FOR STEVE'S RESPONSE
Since his letter was published,
and his corporation pleaded guilty to several felonies including
Racketeering; Councilman Michael McDonald was named a "Subject" in the
FBI's "Operation G-Sting," then ousted from office; Buffalo Jim
Barrier's auto garage is the only business still operating in the strip
center he once shared with the Crazy Horse; and Scott Fau's widow and
daughters are hoping to bring a new wrongful death lawsuit in Federal
Rick Rizzolo awaits sentencing on Oct.
23. He faces up to up to five years in Federal prison.
Undaunted and still charging by
the hour, Rizzolo's lawyer last week told reporters he thinks he can
find a legal reason
to cause the City Council to bring the Crazy Horse license revocation
back for reconsideration based on material evidence he allegedly left
out of the
Sept. 6 - four hour Show Cause hearing; Sept. 8 - two hour Temporary Restraining Order
hearing; and Sept. 12 - four hour Preliminary Injunction hearing
that all came to the same conclusion: close the Crazy Horse before
anyone else in injured or killed.
Sgro couldn't make his case in ten
hours of testimony in front of the City Council and a veteran Judge, so
why does he think he can succeed if Goodman somehow presides over a
With tens of millions of dollars
at stake, you're guess is as good as mine. But keep in mind it was
Rizzolo who, if he had not plea bargained and skipped having to go to
trial, faced several counts of political corruption in addition to
racketeering and extortion.
Sgro cited that the vote would
probably have gone the other way had Goodman not
abstained, and that the Mayor had a change of heart saying he now
believes he did not have a conflict of interest and should've
voted to keep the place open. His reasons were not clear -- something
about his law partner
David Chesnoff, who represents Crazy Horse manager Vinny Faraci, and
him splitting up their law practice, and the after the fact removal of
"Oscar B. Goodman, ESQ., of counsel"
from the letterhead of Goodman and
Also, that a man (with alleged
to organized crime) named Stuart Cadwell has purportedly agreed to
million for the bar that had previously been offered for $30 million,
and that the offer was mysteriously put in writing only one day after
the Council's license
Because both of the above reasons
occurred after the vote to
revoke, it will be very difficult to
convince the City Attorney that Rizzolo and Goodman should get another
bite of the
apple. In the meantime, the violence has stopped.
And Sgro continues to insist
that Rizzolo does not have the financial wherewithal if the bar stays closed to pay off about $16 million in debts to
the IRS and
beating victim Henry. (Henry is the man Rizzolo refers to in his letter
as "A customer leaving the club drunk did trip, but
in no way was this man 'beaten.'"
However, Sgro neglects to mention
in 2005, Rick and Lisa Rizzolo divorced in the middle of the Federal
Investigation and after Kirk
Henry filed his attempted murder lawsuit. In such divorces,
settlements designed to protect assets can easily be reversed.
Vegas Sun investigative reporter Jeff German on August 5, 2005
wrote a column
that spelled out the divorce settlement and laid to rest any sympathy
one might have for Rizzolo not being able to pay his agreed upon debts.
August 05, 2005
LAS VEGAS SUN
Jeff German: Sweet deal for Rizzolo's ex may not be all about love
According to a copies of the
decree and the petition, Lisa Rizzolo,
who is keeping her married name, makes out incredibly well in the deal,
as the feds continue to probe her husband's financial affairs.
gets the couple's 5,763-square-foot home in Canyon Gate, appraised at
$944,760, as well as a $1.4 million oceanfront home in Newport Beach,
Calif., and a condominium in Chicago that Cook County records say had a
market value of $192,638 in 2003.
that's not all.
Rizzolo also gets two "Oppenheimer" investment accounts that were
holding $7.2 million when the divorce petition was filed in court.
starting in January, she receives $83,333 a month from her ex-husband
over the next five years. That adds up to $20 shy of $5 million.
part of the deal are three luxury cars being put in her name -- a 2002
Mercedes S600 and two late-model Range Rovers.
Rizzolo also is continuing to pay for his "incompatible" ex-wife's
health insurance, and he's making her the sole beneficiary of his life
thing Rizzolo is holding on to is the Crazy Horse Too, which he said
under oath in a July 20 deposition grosses between $800,000 and $1
million a month.
also keeping a 2005 Mercedes SL65 and a classic 1958 Corvette, as well
as "real property and related structures" he owns in Philadelphia.
Based on the above, instead of insulting our intelligence by arguing that the same
goons who broke their client's neck should be allowed to remain in
business, attorneys Don Campbell and Stan Hunterton should immediately
file a lawsuit against Lisa Rizzolo to whom her embattled husband
wealth to avoid paying the Henrys.
This way Campbell and Hunterton can get their deserved legal fees, and
recover Henry's personal injury damages, while negating the possibility
of there ever being another Kirk Henry-type attack on an innocent
Last but not least is the status hearing on Rizzolo's DEFAMATION
OF CHARACTER lawsuit against Buffalo Jim Barrier. It was scheduled
for Monday, Sept. 18, but has been temporarily postponed. I will let
you know when it's rescheduled, and the outcome.
Coincidently, Rizzolo's libel suit
against me was dismissed, but his libel action against the Tribune is ongoing, as are Sgro's
legal fees. The Tribune now
editorializes in favor of Rizzolo.
Meanwhile, even with the procrastinated help of the Mayor, all the
King's men can't put Humpty together again.
© Steve Miller