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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:

"Aggravated Assault. No Intent to Kill"
Six suspicious new words suddenly appear on a
Florida probation document to minimize
the impact of a serious crime

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
September 7, 2009

LAS VEGAS - Authorities accused Dominic Rizzolo in January 2008 of trying to extort $20,000 from a former high school class mate. When the extortion attempt failed, Rizzolo stabbed the man according to a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police report.

Ten months later on October 28, 2008, Dominic, the 26 year old son of convicted racketeer Rick Rizzolo, pleaded guilty to Battery With Use Of A Deadly Weapon.

The Rizzolos are no strangers to acts of violence. On September 6, 2006, during a license revocation hearing before the Las Vegas City Council, City Attorney Brad Jerbic informed the council that Rick Rizzolo, 50, (photo by the late Buffalo Jim Barrier) admitted in a plea bargain that "...the government would have sought to prove at trial 35 to 40 beatings had occurred at Rizzolo's Crazy Horse Too topless bar in three years."

Admitting that federal prosecutors would have probably prevailed at trial, Dominic's father pleaded guilty to lesser charges and accepted a one year reduced sentence in federal prison in exchange for agreeing to the forfeiture of his bar, and paying court ordered debts totaling over $27 million dollars including $9 million to a man whose neck was broken in 2001 by a Crazy Horse manager during a dispute over an $88 bar tab.

The family's history of violence began years earlier according to Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith who wrote on October 17, 2003: "Rick Rizzolo was part of a 1987 incident in which a Colorado tourist was assaulted with a baseball bat at the club. The incident, the attorneys allege, resulted in the customer suffering permanent brain damage."

In 1990, Rick Rizzolo with the help of a friendly District Attorney plea bargained his Battery charges down to a gross misdemeanor, and served no time in jail. The victim, Rick Sandland, died three years later of complications caused by the attack. A friendly judge sealed the record, but the file became public when the FBI in 2002 began its racketeering investigation of the Crazy Horse Too.

Twenty-one years after the baseball bat attack, Rick's son proved the apple doesn't fall far from the tree by pleading guilty to Battery With Use Of A Deadly Weapon.  And like his father, Dominic's light penalty also reflected the extent of the Rizzolo's political clout in Las Vegas.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal; "Authorities accused Dominic Rizzolo of trying to extort $20,000 from a man whom he suspected of credit card theft. Dominic Rizzolo ended up stabbing the man, according to a Las Vegas police report. He was charged with extortion and battery with a deadly weapon but police said prosecutors should consider attempted murder and conspiracy charges. In October, Dominic Rizzolo pleaded guilty to one count of battery with use of a deadly weapon."

On January 21, 2008, at approximately 10 PM, Dominic, accompanied by an unidentified man and woman, drove to William Moyer's home in a dark colored SUV with the license place covered by a T-shirt -- an obvious premeditated act.

Moyer, 26, reported he received a phone call earlier that evening asking if he was staying home? Fifteen minutes later, Rizzolo 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 hit him in the face. A fight ensued in which Rizzolo pulled a switch blade knife and stabbed Moyer in the upper abdomen. The blade came within a half inch of Moyer's aorta. Rizzolo fled the scene.

Moyer's mother called 911. Moyer received three hours of emergency surgery followed by three days in intensive care.

However, according to newly released information from the Florida Department of Corrections, the stabbing was not intended to kill Moyer. This flies in the face of the fact no discussion about Dominic's intent occurred during hearings in court, and especially since the victim was not even put on the stand to tell his side of the story.

The hearings seemed very contrived to court observers, especially when no Rizzolo family members were ever seen in the audience.

The latest Florida Department of Corrections Supervised Population Information only describes Rizzolo's offense as: "Aggravated Assault With Weapon. No Intent to Kill," though Rizzolo clearly pleaded guilty to "Battery With Use Of A Deadly Weapon" in Nevada!

It's too obvious that someone in Nevada or Florida tampered with the record after-the-fact to minimize Dominic Rizzolo's crime.

"Offense: Aggravated Assault With Weapon. No Intent to Kill" (?)

Please notice the word "Battery" was omitted along with the words "Deadly Weapon" in the Offense section of the Florida document.

Then compare that document with the original "Offense" section on Dominic's Nevada GUILTY PLEA MEMORANDUM/AGREEMENT (below) which clearly lists his crime as "Battery With Use Of A Deadly Weapon."

The two documents when held side by side tell a very troubling story that may include Obstruction of Justice.

"BATTERY" means an offensive touching or use of force on a person without the person's consent.

"AGGRAVATED ASSAULT" means the assailant uses a gun or knife to threaten harm or contact.

There's a big difference!

Dominic Rizzolo pleaded guilty to "Battery With a Deadly Weapon;" not "Aggravated Assault." He used lethal force on Moyer. He was not performing acupuncture when he plunged a knife into Moyer's chest. He clearly went beyond just threatening harm or contact -- he tried to kill a man - nothing less can be said!

What happened to the words "BATTERY" and "DEADLY" in the newly discovered Florida document? Who was responsible for excising the two most important words?

Five years probation in sunny Florida may be ample punishment for just threatening harm on another person, but Dominic's punishment does not fit the crime of trying to take a person's life!

Someone is obstructing justice in this case. I believe that person tampered with the files, probably from the start, and probably took money or other favors for doing so. Dominic's father Rick Rizzolo has long been accused of paying off politicians, and he is a convicted racketeer!

On January 13, 2009, Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass sentenced Dominic to a minimum term of twenty-four months and maximum term of seventy-two months in the Nevada Department of Corrections. Then Judge Glass (wife of Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Wolfson, a criminal defense attorney with mayoral ambitions) suspended the sentence and placed Rizzolo on probation for what her court record called an "indeterminate" period not to exceed five years.

("Indeterminate" means "not definitely or precisely determined or fixed" according to Webster's Dictionary.)

Judge Glass attached the following conditions to Dominic's probation:  "1. Deft. shall submit his/her person, property, place of residence,  vehicle or areas under his/her control to search at any time, with or  without a search warrant or warrant of arrest, for evidence of a crime or  violation of probation by the Division of Parole and Probation or its agent. 2. Comply with any curfew imposed by Parole & Probation. 3. Complete anger management counseling. 4. Complete 20 hours of community service work per month. 5. Obtain and maintain full-time employment. 6. Defendant to have no contact with the victim, William Moyer, or his family."

But because of recent developments, I doubt the above conditions are being enforced.

Then the judge in a coddling way accepted Dominic's request to relocate to Florida to serve out his sentence. She was informed that he was promised a job with Paramount Hospitality, a time share and resort company founded by Marco A. Manzie, a close friend of Rick Rizzolo.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Glass (left), turned to Dominic and almost apologetically stated, "If you keep out of trouble, you can come back here in a year and request that I reduce the charges to a misdemeanor."

This all occurred after Las Vegas Police clearly asked prosecutors working under the command of Clark County District Attorney Dave Roger to consider attempted murder and conspiracy charges against Dominic, but Roger has been known to accept the largesse of  Rick Rizzolo, and may have gone easy on his son for that reason.

In 2002, Rick Rizzolo donated $10,000 and organized several fundraisers for then-DA candidate David Roger; one in Rizzolo's Canyon Gate home; the other at known mob hang out Piero's restaurant. At the Canyon Gate get together, Rizzolo reportedly introduced Roger to most of the town's adult business owners and their wallets. Although Roger later said he had second thoughts (after the story hit the news) and claimed he returned most of the money, in total he collected over $50,000 based on Rick Rizzolo's efforts.

During the time Rizzolo was raising funds for Roger's election, the outgoing DA had five pending police Requests for Prosecution of Crazy Horse employees. After his successful election, Roger's first order of business was to drop all five cases including one that involved Kirk Henry, the Kansas tourist whose neck was broken by a Crazy Horse employee.

With no family members present in the courtroom, a young Deputy District Attorney sat silent as Judge Glass pronounced her sentence. The absence of family in the court inspired questions as to whether the light sentence had been predetermined? The question was heightened by the fact that William Moyer was never put on the stand or interviewed by prosecutors in the year this case took to go to trial.

If there was no intent to kill, why was Dominic required to post $13,000.00 bail? And if there was no intent to kill, why did the restitution Dominic pay include $1,650 to Anesthesia Critical Care and Trauma, and another $6,903 paid to Sunrise Hospital for emergency surgery and intensive care? Moyer was not getting cosmetic surgery. He was fighting for his life!

The offense was certainly not: "Aggravated Assault With Friendly Weapon. No Intent To Kill." It was as LV police described -- an "attempted murder."

Moyer filed charges as soon as he was released from the hospital, but Rizzolo was not immediately arrested. Six weeks following the attack, Moyer called INSIDE VEGAS. I authored an E-Brief reporting the stabbing for the first time, and Dominic was arrested the next day at the home of Rick Rizzolo's god son Rick Belcastro. Dominic's family posted bail and he was released several hours later.

It was not determined if Belcastro was just mentoring Dominic for six weeks, or harboring a fugitive because no action had been taken by the District Attorney since the stabbing.

But most troubling is the fact that when Dominic Rizzolo's files arrived at the Florida Department of Corrections, six new words were added. Or were the false words generated off-the-record by Judge Glass in Nevada prior to Dominic's probation being transferred to Florida?

Being taught no lessen at all at the hands of Judge Glass and David Roger may set the stage for Dominic Rizzolo's recidivism knowing his family can easily influence the justice system in two states. In the likely event that occurs, I hope federal authorities look into why his 2009 court records were obviously altered.

* If you would like to receive Steve's frequent E-Briefs about Las Vegas' scandals, click here: Steve Miller's Las Vegas E-Briefs

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