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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's "Protector" Exposed!

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
October 5, 2009

Las Vegas - There are times in every sporting man's life when he needs a "Protector." In the case of convicted Vegas racket boss and former Crazy Horse Too topless bar owner Rick Rizzolo, his "Protector" may not be the kind some people think of when the word is mentioned.

    John Dawson, Protector                               Everlast Protector

It's not often when a prominent attorney from a prestigious law firm such as Lionel Sawyer & Collins (LS&C) calls himself a "Protector." But at the bottom of this 2007 document, LS&C attorney John Dawson proudly used that very fitting word to describe himself when he knowingly authorized an unsecured "loan" of $400,000 to a convicted racketeer. In this instance, after he placed ill-gotten assets out of reach of an unpaid beating victim and the IRS, the unusual legal term fits Dawson like a -- pardon the pun -- Everlast Protector.

The only problem is that Rick Rizzolo is not the only one who needs a "Protector." I believe Dawson blatantly kicked the taxpayers and unpaid beating victim Kirk Henry in an unprotected part of the anatomy when he hid tens of millions of Rizzolo's ill-gotten dollars in off shore accounts out of reach of U.S. forfeiture laws.

I also believe that Dawson, an Adjunct Professor of law at Community College of Southern Nevada, is setting a horrific example for his students by doing work for a well known criminal and conversely causing further harm to Kirk Henry who was rendered a quadriplegic in October 2001 after his neck was broken by a Crazy Horse Too manager for disputing an $88 bar tab.

According to the Las Vegas City Manager, Henry's was only one of "35 to 40 beatings (that) had occurred at Crazy Horse Too in three years." The criminal activity resulted in the convictions of Rick Rizzolo and fifteen of his former employees.

“With today’s sentencings, the Court wrote the final chapter of defendant Rizzolo’s long control over what many believed was an impenetrable criminal enterprise involved in violence, fear and fraud," said U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden.

"The Power Company, Inc. must also forfeit $4.25 million, acquired unlawfully from racketeering activity or unlawful debt collection at The Crazy Horse Too."

"If patrons refused to pay a dancer or disputed charges, the shift manager or other male employees sought to extort payment from them through threats of violence and through the actual use of force," stated Bogden.

For the past eight years Kirk Henry has tried to support his family while fighting for his life and the remainder of his $9 million dollar settlement. He received $1 million from the Rizzolo's insurance in 2006. Since then it's believed that the Rizzolos are stalling, waiting for Henry to die, or settle for a much smaller amount in order to pay his medical bills, and college tuition for his children.

I believe this case is a well orchestrated waiting game.

Here's a list of Rick and Lisa Rizzolo's current court ordered debts:
All of the United States Marshals Service's costs, expenses, and private counsel's attorney fees for the real property transaction related to the care and the sale of the Property and the Trademark and Trade name Crazy Horse Too, including but not limited to the maintenance, the protection, the repair, the service of process, the publication, the utilities, the insurance, the CB Richard Ellis real estate commission, the escrow, the closing costs, the real estate transfer tax, private counsel's attorney fees for the real property transaction, etc.; 
The Clark County Taxes owed on the Property with penalties and interest 
The City of Las Vegas sewer lien 
The Security Pacific Bank ($5 million dollar) loan with attorneys' fees, penalties, and interest 
The restitution of US $9,000,000.00 plus interest to Kirk and Amy Henry 
The restitution of US $1,734,000.00 plus accruals to the IRS 
The assessment of US $500.00 plus interest 
The fines of US $750,000.00 plus interest 
The forfeiture of US $4,250,000.00 plus interest 
The City of Las Vegas judgment lien of US $2,192,000.00 plus interest 
The IRS tax lien against Rizzolo for the 2006 individual income taxes of US $1,032,535.26 plus accruals 

According to Lisa's Deposition, she seemed totally unaware of how much of her husband's money John Dawson stashed in a Cook Islands bank -- which begs the question, did Dawson knowingly participate in the fraudulent transfer of assets derived through a criminal enterprise?

But $400,000 was not the only "loan" Dawson approved for Rick Rizzolo. According to Lisa's Deposition, on November 5, 2006, Dawson happily approved another $200,000 unsecured "loan" to Rick who is regularly seen squandering tens of thousands cash in local clubs and casinos.

It's amazing that John Dawson can approve unsecured personal "loans" to a chronic gambler when the money should be going to pay court ordered debts! (Hello... Internal Revenue Service... Is anybody there?)

In the Deposition when attorneys for Henry asked Lisa, "And what was the balance in the account?" She answered, "I don't know exactly." The attorney then said, "Ballpark it." Lisa unassuredly answered, "Six million (?)"

Her vague answers to questions about the $600,000 in "loans" were equally unrevealing, especially when she couldn't confirm if they were ever paid back! (When is the U.S. Department of Justice going to indict this woman as a co-conspirator?)

Lisa gave the vague answers about her uncertain bank balance back in June 2009. Since then, new information has surfaced indicating her answer was either naive, or very disingenuous. The amount of cash Dawson stashed in the Cook Islands is suspected of being far more than $6 million. Qualified estimates have it at around $17 million or more!

So how did the divorced couple get away with hiding so much from the IRS and Kirk Henry for so long?

For this to happen, it's obvious John Dawson is not the only "Protector" the Rizzolos have.

I believe John Dawson's brother U.S. Federal Judge Kent Dawson and Kent's mentor U.S. Senator Harry Reid may also have had a hand in protecting the Rizzolo family jewels and cash.

The "Protectors" clearly have tentacles (correct spelling) in the Federal Government, or the Internal Revenue Service would have had Rick and Lisa Rizzolo for lunch by now!

Remember, at one time Rick Rizzolo was one of the biggest political campaign contributors and fund raisers in Nevada. And Nevada has the weakest campaign reporting laws in the nation, so cash flows freely during our elections. (I can personally attest to collecting $80,000 in cash from casino owners in one day of fund raising during my failed mayoral campaign.)

      Ex-con Rick Rizzolo           U.S. Judge Kent Dawson                U.S. Senator Harry Reid

In September 2007, I broke the story of the Dawson Brothers and what may be one of the biggest conflicts of interest in Nevada history.

I told of attorney Dawson's brother the Federal Judge being assigned to preside over the trials of 16 Crazy Horse Too defendants. Of how the judge threw conflicts of interest to the wind while his brother the asset protection attorney was busy setting up the "LISA M. RIZZOLO SEPARATE PROPERTY TRUST," the "LMR TRUST," "LIONS LIMITED PARTNERSHIP," "RILI  LLC," "DOMOLE LLC,"  and "RLR TRUST," and became Rick Rizzolo's Resident Corporate Agent for "THE POWER COMPANY, INC." all while his brother the judge never uttered a word about the relationship during 16 criminal trials of Rizzolo's employees.

Attorney Dawson set up these trusts and hid the couple's money off shore even though Rick Rizzolo's criminal activities were front page news at the time. Dawson had to know how his clients made their fortune.

In the meantime, John Dawson just completed guest lecturing at the The Southpac Offshore Planning Institute ~ The 2009 Annual Conference ~ Encore at the Wynn Las Vegas, October 1 & 2, 2009.

Here's how Southpac touted his lecture:
Seminar Agenda and Highlights

CLE Accreditation Pending

Thursday, October 1

1:30pm - 2:15pm ~ Domestic Asset Protection Trusts: Do They Really Work?(John E. Dawson ~ Lionel, Sawyer & Collins

Southpac helped introduce the world's first asset protection trust law in the Cook Islands in 1989. Over the past twenty years, this legislation has served as a model for similar laws in over a dozen other countries, and now several U.S. states have implemented their own protective statutes. Mr. Dawson will analyze the state and federal legal issues affecting domestic planning, the constitutional concerns, and the potential for attorney liability if things go wrong. Special attention will be directed at Nevada’s own domestic asset protection trust law.

I've not yet heard if Dawson's Rizzolo off shore trusts served as a model of "Domestic Asset Protection Trusts: Do They Really Work?" Or possibly served as a model of "the potential for attorney liability if things go wrong."

I bet no one publicly asked the "Protector" how a federal case can take so long to resolve? Or how a criminal can protect his money from the IRS in Cook Islands accounts? Or if someone with connections in Washington, DC is running interference for the Rizzolos while Lionel Sawyer & Collins and Southpac Offshore Planning Institute cash in for their asset protection services?

According to my September 2007 INSIDE VEGAS, the "Protector's" brother Kent was a humble Henderson Justice of the Peace until 1999 when Senator Harry Reid appointed the then-inexperienced jurist to the Federal Bench for life. With a Federal Judge as a brother, attorney John E. Dawson was soon recruited into the politically powerful Lionel Sawyer & Collins firm where he now enjoys status as a stockholder, and enjoys a list of prestigious clients including the Rizzolos.

To add to their stature, Lionel Sawyer & Collins is honored to have two of Senator Reid's sons as partners ("Protectors?") and fellow stockholders with John Dawson. It's currently not known how much Dawson and Southpac charged the Rizzolos to protect their fortune, but some estimate the legal fees amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Now, is it pay back time for the Dawsons, Reids, and LS&C?

What makes this all so highly disturbing is that at the same time Judge Dawson's brother was hiding the Rizzolo's cash, Judge Dawson defied Federal Prosecutors by handing down feather light sentences to all of Rizzolo's former employees, even after some pleaded guilty to crimes including racketeering, tax evasion, robbery, and extortion; and after Federal Prosecutors asked for harsh sentences; and after a member of the New York Crime Commission testified about several of the defendant's mob ties.

So it's not a stretch of the imagination to conclude that some very heavy political juice is behind the Rizzolo's uncanny ability to avoid paying their court ordered debts and keep their money.

But what surprises me most is that the IRS has not stepped in to collect their (our) over $7 million in forfeitures, liens, accruals, interest, and unpaid individual income taxes.

I wonder what the IRS would do to me if I welched on paying my taxes for over three years? Oh, I forgot. My attorney is not the brother of a Federal Judge who was appointed by the United States Senate Majority Leader. And I also forgot to mention that Senator Reid is the business partner of Rick Rizzolo's former Corporate Resident Agent and Crazy Horse Too attorney, Jay Brown.

That's how incestuous this case has become!

But never discouraged, Kirk Henry's attorneys smell blood in the water:
Case 2:08-cv-00635-PMP-GWF Document 1 Filed 05/16/2008 Page 3 of 7


(Conspiracy to Defraud) 

7. Beginning on or about May 24, 2005, the Defendants Rick and Lisa Rizzolo together, and with each other and with third persons acting in concert with them (believed to include attorneys and accountants whose names are not presently known but who will be added as parties once their identities are confirmed) did combine, conspire, confederate and agree together and with each other to defraud the Plaintiffs and each of them. 

13. In an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy, Rick Rizzolo and Lisa Rizzolo, together with third parties believed to include attorneys and accountants (whose names are not presently known but who will be added as parties once their identities are confirmed), formed a so-called “family trust” and thereafter transferred their assets into the same in an attempt to shield the assets available to compensate the Henrys for their catastrophic injuries. 

I can't wait to find out who those parties are "once their identities are confirmed," especially the attorneys ("Protectors")!

And there's this recently filed Motion awaiting the Federal Court's decision:
Case 2:08-cv-00635-PMP-GWF Document 200 Filed 09/24/2009 Page 1 of 8

As to the Third Cause of Action, for (a) avoidance of the transfer or obligations assumed by the Rizzolos and/or their family trust and/or their so-called "separate property trusts" in their various forms to the extent necessary to satisfy claims of the Henrys; (b) an attachment and/or garnishment against assets transferred; (c) an injunction against further disposition by the Rizzolos of assets transferred or otherwise possessed; (d) for appointment of an examiner or, if necessary, a receiver to take charge of the Defendants' assets; (e) any other relief which in the circumstances should be afforded.


Kirk Henry's attorneys on September 30, 2009, also  filed a Motion requesting Rick Rizzolo's secret financial information from the Department of Parole and Probation.

With all this activity, it still puzzles me why the IRS continues to remain silent on this case? Maybe Senator Reid knows the answer.

But the true test may take place this Wednesday when Rick Rizzolo is brought before Federal Magistrate Judge George Foley on a Contempt Motion.
Full docket text for document 198:

ORDER re [184] MOTION for Hearing re: Motion to Reveal Pro Se Litigant Rick Rizzolo's Ghost Writer; Request for Verification Pursuant to FRCP 11; Alternatively for Contempt Sanctions filed by Kirk Henry. Motion Hearing set for 10/7/2009 at 02:00 PM in LV Courtroom 3A before Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr. Defendant Frederick Rizzolo aka Rick Rizzolo is ORDERED to appear in person at the hearing on 10/7/09 at 2:00 PM. Failure to appear may result in the granting of the Plaintiff's motion to reveal and request for sanctions. Signed by Magistrate Judge George Foley, Jr on 9/16/09. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - ECS; cc: Frederick Rizzolo)

INSIDE VEGAS will report the outcome of the Contempt hearing in next week's column.

If Judge Foley finally hands down some justice in this protracted case, I hope Rick's "Protector" is handy. Rick may need one if he's sent back to prison for making such a mockery of the federal judicial system.

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