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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:

Justice – Vegas Style

Scott Fau - 8/4/95

Paul Russo - 12/12/97

Eben Kostbar - 7/3/01

Unidentified Man - 10/2/01

Jermaine Simieou - 4/30/02

Unidentified Man - 11/30/02

Kirk Henry - 9/20/01
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
January 20, 2003

A visitor is greeted by framed prints of famous gangster movies (Casino, Goodfellows, etc.) Upon entry, the visitor is treated to a virtual "shrine" of organized crime memorabilia and mob photos.  A "limited edition" Leroy Neiman painting of Al Capone sits directly behind the "original" barber's chair that Al Capone used in his office in the south side Chicago hotel he used as his headquarters. To the side of his desk, your host proudly displays (angled nicely for the visitor to see) a framed 8 by 10 photograph of his "rabbi" Joey Cusamano.  Scattered around the banquet size office are additional posters from some of his favorite gangster movies (the Godfather, Little Caesar and others). If the guest is fortunate enough to be invited to escort his host around the topless club the first time of the night, when he enters the room, he can witness every single floor man he comes in contact with, come up to the Boss and respectfully kiss his cheek. If you wanted to be a soldier for this leader, what would you do when some customer has the nerve to refuse to pay tribute to your leader's sanctuary or one of his "broads?" I'm only surprised that they don't wear spats with their tuxedos and brass knuckles.

Last week, it was no surprise when a "Las Vegas Jury," after only an hour of deliberation, found that bouncers for the “Boss” mentioned above - men who had beaten a man severely, were not responsible when the man died an hour or so later of "undetermined" causes. A very friendly judge who had allegedly been seen attending a recent Christmas party at the defendant's palatial mansion, sat obediently while the plaintiff's attorney pleaded to allow the jury to hear about numerous other beatings of customers that occurred prior to and subsequent to the untimely death of 39 year old long haul trucker Scott David Fau after a night at the Crazy Horse Too in Las Vegas. The judge, who has accepted campaign contributions from Rizzolo, denied thirteen motions in limine, and limited testimony to only the instant wrongful death action on her docket. The jury heard extremely condensed information and the civil trial was over in just four courtroom days. If this had happened in the Murphy/Tabish criminal trial that was prosecuted by the Clark County District Attorney's office, Sandy and Rick would be sipping Pinot Noir at the Beverly Hills Hotel right now.

Camille Fau had lost her husband, and her two pre-teen daughters had lost their father after he was involved in a violent altercation in a topless bar. Even the club bouncers admitted to breaking their hands during the August 4, 1995 episode that began a death scenario that later ended with Fau’s lifeless body being found next to railroad tracks behind the Crazy Horse. It was now to be the responsibility of a jury in a poorly funded civil proceeding to decide whether the initial altercation had anything to do with Fau's death a few hours after he left the club.

“Contrary to what Mr. (Steve) 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.” –  Frederick “Rick” Rizzolo, purported owner of the Crazy Horse Too

"Security is there to watch and monitor and intervene if something happens," security expert Robert Maddox testified. "If security becomes part of the problem, they are defeating the purpose of being there in the first place. Allowing the bartender to go outside doesn't settle the situation whatsoever," he said. "It just continued to aggravate the situation."

On that hot August morning in 1995, Scott Fau and fellow trucker Ed Rivera were ejected from the bar. Outside, they were unquestionably subjected to a severe beating that was witnessed by several people.

Israel Bella, a witness for the plaintiff, testified he was driving north on Industrial Road past the Crazy Horse when he noticed a large group of men in front of the club. Bella was on his way to work when he noticed a man on the ground, surrounded by a group of men. "There was one guy on the ground kind of curled up in a ball," he said. "It looked like he was trying to protect himself." Bella called 911.

"Yeah, they're the one that beat up this Hawaiian guy out there that was just - - the poor guy wasn't even moving, and they were kicking him, and, um, at that point that's all. They were just kicking him around, jumping on him, stomping on his arm. They stomped his leg. Kicked him in the stomach. They kept - Moe was kicking him in the head, and you just watched his head wiggle around. The manager guy would poke his head out the door, but he wouldn't walk out. He'd just - he'd open the door and look out and then step back in. I never seen - he didn't come out." –  Dan Kennedy, purported eye witness

The judge struck Kennedy's taped testimony after he suddenly signed an affidavit for Rizzolo saying he was coerced into making his statement. Edwin Rivera could not be located to be served a subpoena, something that happened more than once during this litigation that dragged on and off for more than five years. Also, two of the bouncers involved in the incident died years before the once dismissed, twice rescheduled trial. Depositions are expensive, and unfortunately the most needed ones were not taken in a timely manner especially when money was being spent writing an appeal and a peremptory challenge of the judge. This was a case that needed the testimony of three dead men, and several long-missing persons. Its no wonder it went the way it did, justice delayed is justice denied (especially if by design). But did it vindicate anyone?

After the verdict, Mr. Rizzolo and his bouncers claimed through a high priced PR firm headed by mayoral assistant Tom Letisia, that they had been "vindicated" - vindicated by winning against a case financed on an elementary school teacher's salary. Someone suggested that Rizzolo would have looked better had he offered a few kind words and a little help to the widow and her fatherless children, instead of putting on a lavish party to celebrate his "courtroom victory."

"I really am horrified that these people let them get away with this. I am livid," Camille Fau said after the trial. "What their verdict told me was that my husband's life meant nothing." A courtroom observer commented, "They got away with murder."

No one doubts that Scott Fau and Ed Rivera were terribly wrong to refuse medical assistance when paramedics and police were on the scene. The duo was even more wrong for walking away from the scene. However, Mr. Fau could still walk, though at the time of his death several hours later, he had somehow suffered a broken leg in addition to his previous injuries.

An hour after the altercation, Ed Rivera was found lying in a traffic lane on Spring Mountain Road a mile from the Crazy Horse. He evidently sustained a concussion during the melee, and eventually lost consciousness. Somehow, Scott Fau wandered back alone to the vicinity of the club. He had lost blood, had head injuries, and the 115-degree desert heat was probably taking its toll. He then unexplainably sustained additional injuries including a fractured leg before he was found dead next to the tracks. Why did he return to the vicinity of the Crazy Horse? What happened in the hours between the initial altercation and his eventual death? The Clark County District Attorney did not investigate.

After receiving instructions from the judge, the jury could not connect the two incidents: the beating, and the death. Ed Rivera, the only person who could tell the true story was no where to be found, and a purported eye witness had recanted his taped testimony. The plaintiff also could not afford to hire an expert medical witness to tell the jury how fatal cerebral hemorrhages can occur within hours after head trauma, or discuss the fractured leg that mysteriously occurred after the initial altercation. The jury ruled unanimously for the defense, however, Rizzolo’s troubles are far from over.

A federal grand jury is looking into what has been called a “pattern of violence” at the Crazy Horse topless bar. Two more civil trials are pending for the alleged beatings of Kirk Henry and Eben Kostbar. Other questions remain unanswered such as why does the District Attorney continually refuse to file criminal charges in all incidents regarding Rizzolo's business, and why must victims and their families be the only ones responsible for seeking justice for violent events involving the Crazy Horse?

After the mini-trial, Mrs. Fau and her children drove back to their home in Carson, California without finding closure or justice in this town so aptly named “Sin City.”

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