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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 tries every trick to
get Crazy Horse re-opened

And they said the Mob left Vegas years ago.....

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
September 25, 2006

LAS VEGAS - Three weeks after what the U.S. Department of Justice described as a "racketeering enterprise," and "serious threat to the community" was shut down by the City of Las Vegas, Crazy Horse Too owner and newly convicted felon Rick Rizzolo is trying to pull a rabbit out of his hat.

First he produced Stuart Cadwell, a partner in the trouble plagued Spearmint Rhino chain of gentleman's clubs to testify on Sept. 12 in District Court that he was offering Rizzolo an amazing $45 million for his club -- with one provision; the liquor license would have to be reinstated by the City.

Cadwell's mysterious offer was $10 million more than Rizzolo said he needed to pay off all his liabilities including $9 million to beating victim Kirk Henry. The offer was also $20 million above what a New York company paid in 2005 for the brand new Jaguars -- the former topless bar owned by Michael Galardi located in a free standing building on Desert Inn Road. Jaguars,  now known as Scores, is bigger, plusher, and twenty years newer than the Crazy Horse; a dilapidated converted warehouse next to the tracks on Industrial Road.

Rizzolo contends he will be unable to pay off his debts if he cannot sell the Crazy Horse with its liquor license intact, though in a 2005 divorce settlement (that can be reversed since it occurred during a Federal investigation), he gave his ex-wife Lisa a
5,763-square-foot home in Canyon Gate, an oceanfront home in Newport Beach, Calif., a condominium in Chicago, two Oppenheimer investment accounts worth $7.2 million, $83,333 a month in alimony, and named her beneficiary of his life insurance.

(So far, Rizzolo hasn't paid the Henry family one cent from his personal wealth -- or that of his ex-wife -- while the Henry's medical expenses have almost put them into bankruptcy.)

Judge Mark Denton obviously saw through the ruse, and denied Rizzolo a Temporary Injunction that would have allowed his family to re-open and run his business while he's in prison, and until Cadwell's purported deal closed. Had the Judge allowed the business to re-open, the skimming Rizzolo plead guilty to, would in all probability continue under his family's direction.

The June 2 Review-Journal reported, "Sgro said prosecutors have agreed not to pursue criminal charges against Rizzolo's sister, Annette; brother, Ralph; or father, Bart."

Rizzolo plea bargained to spare his family being tried on racketeering, skimming, and extortion charges.

Following Sgro's court defeat, he filed a Petition with the City Attorney asking the Council to reconsider their unanimous vote revoking the liquor license.  His basis was that Mayor Oscar Goodman, Rizzolo's former criminal defense attorney and close friend, abstained from the license revocation hearing (based on my Ethics Complaint), but had he participated, Goodman said he would have fought to keep the CH2 open. 

Sgro also argued that the Council had a conflict of interest based on a future eminent domain action, but did not mention that Goodman as a member of the Council shares the same conflict if he participates in hearings regarding the Crazy Horse.

Sgro wrote that the Council wanted to devalue Rizzolo's property so they could take it inexpensively for a road widening. He made it appear that the City wanted all of the property, but failed to mention that only a 23 foot wide sliver was ever mentioned in design drawings. He strained to reason that the Council was his client's enemy and had a conflict when Goodman was absent, but would be his client's friend and have no conflict if Goodman participated.

Also, Sgro failed to mention why anyone would want to pay $45 million for a piece of land about to be taken by eminent domain?

Based on Sgro's contradictory arguments, the Council didn't budge, and Cadwell faded into the sunset -- temporarily -- after it was revealed that his partner John Gray had been
convicted of a felony and served time in the Boron, California Federal Prison.

In his plea agreement, Rizzolo agreed he would not sell his club to anyone who had been convicted of a felony in the past ten years.

Cadwell's deal would certainly not pass muster with the Federal Court based on his business relationship with Gray and the amazing coincidence of a
Sept. 5 beating related death at the Spearmint Rhino in Santa Barbara, California. According to the San Francisco Examiner, a 26-year-old accountant was killed in a scuffle with club bouncers over a $960 dance bill. This is the same type of attack suffered by Kirk Henry on Sept. 20, 2001 at the Crazy Horse. Henry was beaten after disputing an $88 bar tab, and rendered a quadriplegic.

The Spearmint Rhinos are also known for employing fighters from the Ultimate Fighting Championships as security staff.

Rizzolo is scheduled to be sentenced on October 23, but during the week of September 18, Rizzolo reportedly traveled to New York. Upon his return, a local
restaurateur applied for a temporary liquor license to operate the Crazy Horse Too.

On Sept. 12, following his defeat in District Court, Rick Rizzolo was heard in the courthouse hallway telling his friends and attorneys to meet later that day at the Golden Steer Steak House.
Now, Dr. Michael Signorelli, a partner in the Golden Steer, suddenly wants to obtain a temporary liquor license to operate the bar until it can be sold, possibly to Cadwell and Gray.
In Rizzolo's plea agreement, it stated: "The (Federal) Government shall have the right to disapprove a buyer who the government objectively demonstrates... has business dealings with identified members or associates of La Cosa Nostra (LCN) or other identified organized crime group..."
Signorelli is the business partner of Sorkis Webbe, Jr.
The January 23, 2005 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch describes Webbe as "the son of a St. Louis powerbroker accused of having ties to organized crime."
Webbe, Jr.  went to prison in the 1980s for vote fraud, obstruction of justice, attempted extortion and harboring an organized crime figure accused of murder. 


Now, since Cadwell has become a hot potato, Signorelli enters the scene. The names have changed, but the act appears to remain the same.

Rizzolo, et. al., are obviously trying to put a straw man in to retain the Mob's control over the Crazy Horse Too, and the ploy caught the attention of Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese, the same Reese who made the motion to revoke the bar's license.

"He may have a liquor license for the Golden Steer and there are no problems. But there's a big, big difference between a steakhouse and a strip club," Reese told the Review-Journal.

If for any reason on October 4, the City Council  -- with Mayor Goodman participating in spite of an ethics complaint -- succumbs to covert pressure and votes to give someone who appears to be a straw man a temporary liquor license to re-open the Crazy Horse (to resume robbing and beating its customers), they will have fallen for the biggest subterfuge ever pulled in the history of Sin City!

And they said the Mob left Vegas years ago...

Recent INSIDE VEGAS columns on this subject:

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