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: http://www.SteveMiller4LasVegas.com
Stupid is as stupid does
Rizzolo loses another case in Small Claims Court
VEGAS by Steve Miller
October 10, 2005
is a very old and very stupid story -- a story that doesn't seem to
have an end.
LAS VEGAS - According to sources close to the FBI's investigation, Rick
is days away from being indicted for racketeering, but
purported owner of the blood soaked Crazy Horse Too strip bar,
continues pestering his next door neighbor, Buffalo Jim Barrier, by
illegally towing Barrier's customer's cars from a bogus "Fire Lane."
(L to R) Ralph
Rizzolo and attorney Jon Norheim Rizzolo's "Fire
Lane" is blocked by electrical transformers,
listen as Rick
Rizzolo points to his "Fire Lane."
and used as valet parking area at night.
(Photo by Buffalo Jim Barrier)
Rizzolo's "Fire Lane"
was removed by the city several years ago because of electrical
transformers blocking the movement of emergency equipment. But that didn't stop the strip club
mogul. He had his own "Fire Lane" signs painted and posted on the
side of Buffalo Jim's auto repair shop. Then, with the city's help,
Barrier's customer's cars were towed during the day, while the strip
club used the space at night for VIP parking.
You see, Barrier's business of 29 years is blocking the expansion
of Rizzolo's club, and Rizzolo, for some unknown reason, doesn't want
to buy out the remainder of Barrier's lease (Barrier pays only
forty-three cents per square foot rent). Instead, Rizzolo bought the
shopping center that houses both businesses, and three times
unsuccessfully attempted to evict Barrier. That was 2002, this is 2005,
and the highly publicized conflict rages on.
Immediately after he bought the center, while Barrier tried to make a
living fixing cars as he has done in the same location since 1976,
Rizzolo, who moved next door in 1987, called in favors from the mayor
-- a former criminal defense attorney who represented a number of
Rizzolo's associates in the 70s and 80s. City Parking Enforcement
officers obediently began patrolling the topless bar's parking lot
on an hourly basis to ticket only Barrier's customers. Barrier was
forced to sue Rizzolo for harassment. When
I began writing stories
about the city helping to harass Barrier, the city suddenly
stopped their patrols, but Rizzolo continued towing!
patrolled topless bar parking lot hourly
lawyer Dean Patti and mayor speak
in favor of ordinances
to expand Crazy Horse
and allow teenage
Barrier sued Rizzolo
in small claims court each time a car was towed. Every judge ruled
Rizzolo could not arbitrarily tow cars, and assessed him damages.
Rizzolo continued the towing, claiming he was helping to clear a fire
lane! Last Monday, a court referee decided
that Rizzolo must again reimburse the car's owner $405 for the
inconvenience saying: "Plaintiff's testimony is credible as to how car
was parked and towed. No evidence from Defendant on actual boundaries
of Fire Lane. Plaintiff is entitled to damages..."
For the past several years, each time
Barrier prevailed in small claims court -- and that's every time, Rizzolo's attorneys,
Dean Patti and Tony Sgro, , appealed the rulings to District Court while charging their
client thousands in legal fees. However, despite their best efforts,
all appeals failed, and their client continues to suffer humiliating
defeats, defeats I report in my daily Insider E-Briefs that are read by
most attorneys and judges in the Las Vegas area.
is the same prestigious legal team that in 2002 advised Rizzolo he
could evict Barrier if he purchased the shopping center. Rizzolo went
forward and offered the property's owner twice its worth, and as soon
as the ink dried on the deed of trust, filed the eviction papers. The
case went to court, and Rizzolo lost. He had been advised by Patti and
Sgro to sign a secret
agreement stating: "...Buyer has been advised that the property is
subject to certain leases... and it agrees to purchase the Property
subject to the terms of said leases."
This agreement was meant to be confidential, but soon after it was
signed, an employee of Patti and Sgro handed it to INSIDE VEGAS. I
included it in a column. When the document suddenly appeared in court,
Rizzolo suffered the first in a series of humiliating court defeats.
That's when his towing fetish first started.
on April 16, 2004 for illegal towing.
Barrier displays cash judgment District
Plaque says, "Buffalo whups Rizzolo"
the esteemed Patti
and Sgro did it again. This time they advised their biggest client
to divorce his wife and transfer all his assets to her, plus $85,000
per month in alimony to purportedly escape forfeiture and awards at
upcoming trials. This move inspired Jane Ann Morrison of the Las Vegas Review-Journal to write,
"Rizzolo didn't have the smarts to seal his records, which showed his
wife of 27 years was treated generously, receiving three of their
homes, three of their cars and remains his insurance beneficiary.
Rizzolo's exposure to a potential criminal indictment and a pending
civil lawsuit could have prompted the divorce as a way to put Rizzolo's
assets in his ex-wife's name."
INSIDE VEGAS writes of other Sin City subjects, e-mails begin arriving
from AmericanMafia.com readers asking about the status of Mr. Rizzolo.
Its obvious the mercurial Rick Rizzolo is one of your favorite
subjects. A man once referred to as a "Pillar of the community," now
reduced to wasting immeasurable hours and money fighting a juvenile war
in a "Judge Judy" type courtroom.
The only fact Patti and Sgro didn't tell Rizzolo was
that he should have done it prior
, and that this sham will most likely be reversed if
and when he's convicted of racketeering by the feds, and ordered
to pay damages in the Kirk
On the other hand, there's Buffalo Jim Barrier, the former pro wrestler
who loves publicity. His garage business has never been better,
and this year he was named "Las
Vegas most colorful character" in the Review-Journal Reader's Poll. His
claim to fame? He's standing up to the Mob! Never before has the Mob so
underestimated a foe!
Rizzolo's crew: Greg Liosi, Bobby D’Apice, Joe
Blasko, Pro wrestlers Psycho Sid, Bill Goldberg, and Rick Steiner
Ray Randazzo, Mo
McKenna, and Vinnie
show Buffalo Jim their support. (photo by Mike Christ)
This is a very old story, and parts of it fall into
the realm of pure stupidity -- even sick comedy. I'm almost
embarrassed to keep repeating it. However, the antics of the principal
players show that Mr. Rizzolo and his pals are not fully aware they may
be facing years in prison. Meanwhile, they tow cars and appear in small
claims court demanding justice.
Though the amount of effort I've expended on telling this sordid tale
seems excessive -- even compulsive, the end of the story is finally in
sight. For those doing research for the upcoming trials, I provide the
following chronology with links to Las
articles I authored about Rick Rizzolo, et. al. My research began on
February 11, 1999, and continues through the present day. Included are
additional links to in-depth investigative reports by Glen Meek, John
William Tuohy, Jon Ralston, Jeff German, Jon Moser, Cathy Scott, John
L. Smith, and Dateline NBC.
Las Vegas Tribune
- 02/11/1999 through 11/20/2002:
TwistedBadge.com - 12/27/2001 through 9/04/2004:
AmericanMafia.com - 9/16/2002 through 9/5/2005:
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scandals, click here: Steve Miller's Las Vegas E-Briefs
Copyright © Steve Miller
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