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 11-23-09
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: http://www.SteveMiller4LasVegas.com


Confidential INSIDE VEGAS source
                 outs himself
                         
               Kenny "Kenji" Gallo leaves Witness Protection,
                            writes a book, and names names

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
AmericanMafia.com
November 23, 2009

LAS VEGAS - Nevada has the strongest reporter's shield law in the nation. According to Gannett Media; "A journalist does not waive the protection of Nevada's shield law by publishing information, the state's highest court has ruled. (Diaz v. District Court, Jan. 27, 2000.) The decision, which reverses prior Nevada law, affords journalists an absolute privilege from disclosure of confidential and nonconfidential information and sources. It creates one of the strongest privileges in the country."

In 1999, I was offered the opportunity to become a true crime writer. Prior to then, I had spent over 20 years as a radio talk show host.

In my new position, I began by writing news stories and columns on organized criminal activities happening at the former Crazy Horse Too strip club. When my Crazy Horse stories began appearing on the front page of the weekly Las Vegas Tribune, circulation immediately tripled, so the paper's owner, the late John Fadgen (left), encouraged me and other Tribune writers to investigate further and try to uncover information about hidden ownership in the club.

In addition to being a newspaper publisher, Mr. Fadgen was a well known criminal defense attorney. He fully understood the workings of the criminal mind. The walls of his law office were covered with photos and news clippings about some of his infamous clients including Robert Panaro, and Stephen Cino.

Fadgen told me that I had a tiger by the tail with my Crazy Horse Too stories and columns, and he offered me the full backing of his law firm and newspaper to encourage me to delve deeper in the face of what he warned could be a possible threat to my safety.

Then in march 2001, Mr. Fadgen died. He was only 62. I continued writing for the Tribune, but  under new management the weekly soon fell on hard financial times. Stories and columns began to be edited if the writer stepped on certain toes.

In October 2001, Kansas tourist Kirk Henry suffered a broken neck at the hands of a Crazy Horse Too manager after he refused to pay a padded bar tab. Crazy Horse next door neighbor the late Buffalo Jim Barrier photographed Henry moments after his beating and rushed the pictures to me. I wrote a front page Tribune story that hit news stands the next morning scooping all other local media.

Henry's beating also triggered a federal racketeering investigation of the Crazy Horse, and several national news stories followed. The Tribune's photos appeared on NBC News.

Unfortunately, the new Tribune management was not paying the company's bills. Checks began to bounce, and local suppliers put the paper on C.O.D. status. I also began to receive requests from the new owner, ex-felon Rolando Larraz, to tone down my Crazy Horse Too stories, though he did not dare edit my work. I became suspicious of his motivation, ignored his requests, and continued undaunted to write my stories and columns.

During the next year Larraz, who referred to himself as the "Editor in Chief of the Tribune," wrote several editorials that were apologetic to Crazy Horse Too owner Rick Rizzolo (left) and his cronies Fred Doumani and Joey Cusumano. In one he stated, "Rick Rizzolo is a productive member of our community and has not been charged with any wrongdoing or violation of the law."

In another editorial, Larraz wrote: "Mr. Rizzolo deserves to be treated with RESPECT and DIGNITY as is his right as an American citizen living in the United States of America. (Mr. Larraz is not a U.S. citizen.)

I soon learned that Larraz owed money to several of Rizzolo's cronies. In a telephone interview with Cathy Scott of Las Vegas CityLife, Larraz is quoted saying: "Doumani is my friend for 40 years. I owe him money. He's never asked for it back. He has always been nice to me."

I authored several more Tribune stories and columns about the Crazy Horse, Rizzolo, and Larraz' admitted creditors.

But in his November 20, 2002 column, Larraz had had enough. I have asked him (Miller) to avoid attacking or writing discriminatory articles about my friends Joey Cusumano, Fred Doumani, Oscar Goodman, and Judge Nancy Saitta...  Steve does not give me the respect that I deserve...  Steve does not want to listen to what I have to say...  I am the one and only ruler in the Las Vegas Tribune and Steve Miller is not writing here anymore."

The afternoon of the "I am the one and only ruler" column, Buffalo Jim Barrier called to report that Larraz had just left his auto repair business located next to the Crazy Horse Too. Barrier described Larraz flashing a roll of $100 bills. "He acted like it was the most money he had ever had in his hand at one time," stated Barrier.

Without the guidance of John Fadgen, and with Larraz as the "ruler," the Tribune had completely lost its credibility. I was thrilled to learn that I wasn't writing there anymore, and gladly transferred my literary efforts to AmericanMafia.com. Shortly thereafter, Larraz suddenly found the funds to pay his bills, and the publication has consistently written positive articles and editorials about Rizzolo, Doumani, and Cusumano ever since.

During my transition from print to web based media, emails began arriving from an anonymous source who appeared to have a wealth of information about Rizzolo and his associates. Not knowing the name of the source, I refused to publish the information he supplied on AmericanMafia.com, though the information I received was more than interesting.

Several weeks passed and the email sender contacted me again asking, "Don't you believe me?" I answered that I needed to know more about him so I could confirm his information through other sources. He responded by sending me a dozen J-peg photos of a group of men at a party enjoying the company of strippers. In several of the photos was a man whose face was blacked out. I later learned that the man was the email sender being hugged and kissed by men who I can only describe as the cast of "Goodfellas."

My email writer asked me to share the photos and his emails with federal authorities. I did, and within hours was informed that my source was a man named Kenny Gallo (left). I was told that Gallo was a pornographer who operated out of New York and North Hollywood, California.

I asked a source in the federal government if I could rely on the information Gallo was sending me. He said the information Gallo had already sent was reliable. I began to cautiously publish some of the information Gallo supplied -- information I could independently verify through other sources, and wrote back to him by name to thank him and confirm I had researched who he was. I also warned him to not try to lead me astray, or I would shut him off as confidential source. He agreed, and for the next three years supplied me with hundreds of leads, names, photos, story ideas, and information only a Mafia insider would know.

All his information later proved to be completely accurate.

On February 20, 2003, the Crazy Horse Too was raided by the FBI, and bugs were planted thoughout the Rizzolo empire. The feds coined "Operation Crazy Horse" as the title of the investigation.  From those bugs, the FBI learned from Rizzolo of competitive strip club operator Mike Galardi's criminal activities. Based on leads developed from listening to Rizzolo's phone conversations, Galardi would later be convicted of bribing Las Vegas and San Diego politicians. The investigation of Galardi's business was given the code name "Operation G-Sting."

During "G-Sting," Galardi was interviewed by the FBI.  In the interview,  he accused a local judge of being "taken care of" by Rizzolo. (More on that later.)

According to Kenny Gallo and other sources, Rizzolo actually did blame me for most of his troubles. He even unsuccessfully tried to sue me for libel. During the proceedings, his lawyers at Patti & Sgro tried to force me to appear for deposition and to answer interrogatories demanding I reveal my sources. I ignored subpoenas and refused to appear for depositions or to answer interrogatories based on the Nevada Shield Law, so Rizzolo's lawyers Dean Patti and Tony Sgro filed a Motion with a local judge they obviously had in their pocket, asking her to issue a gag order against my writing about anything involving Rick Rizzolo or his business.

With the help of the ACLU, Nevada Press Association, and Las Vegas Review Journal, the gag order failed, and because the libel suit had no legal footing, it was dismissed. However, had attorneys for the above three organizations not appeared at the last minute in the gallery of Judge Nancy Siatta's court room, I fully expected her to comply with Rizzolo's wishes, therefore I refused to show up in her court for the gag order hearing, instead staying home and intentionally writing a column for the next morning's Tribune that would have violated any gag order she was expected to issue. I never had the chance to publish my specially written column based on Saitta's obvious reaction to the presence of the men who appeared in the gallery of her court.

My hunch proved accurate when several years later, Judge Siatta was singled out in the Los Angeles Times story; "Las Vegas, They're Playing With a Stacked Judicial Deck. Some judges routinely rule in cases involving friends, former clients and business associates and in favor of lawyers who fill their campaign coffers."

Then, according to Judgepedia - an interactive encyclopedia of courts and judges: "Former Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Miller writes an article on the consistent involvement in Rizzolo's case leads into speculating then-District Court Judge Nancy Saitta. The fact that Judge Nancy Saitta was presiding over five concurrent cases all involving Rick Rizzolo raised suspicion at a local weekly newspaper. An editorial entitled "Here comes the same judge" was published, and shortly thereafter, Judge Saitta on May 29, 2002, suddenly reassigned four of her five Rizzolo cases to other randomly selected district court judges. However, Judge Saitta kept the most important case, the civil wrongful death action brought by the widow and children of Scott David Fau. Mr. Fau was found dead behind the Crazy Horse in 1995 after being beaten by club bouncers two hours earlier. In each of these cases, judges are selected to preside over local cases in a random manner. As each case is presented to the court clerk, it is supposed to be given to the next judge in chronological order. There are 19 District Court judges. It's suspected that the court clerk sometimes sets aside special cases that certain judges desire, and waits until that judge's name is about to appear in numerical order, then pulls out the set-aside case to be assigned to that judge."

Following my departure from the Tribune, the paper refused to cover any crimes that involved the Crazy Horse Too, Rizzolo, or his crew. It also wrote glowing editorials about Judge Saitta who has since been elected to the Nevada Supreme Court.

Four years after I began my INSIDE VEGAS columns, to prove the validly of my sources, sixteen Crazy Horse Too thugs were convicted of felonies including Rizzolo. And with Rizzolo's help, Mike Galardi was also convicted and sent to prison.

The Tribune cried foul, and claimed all who were associated with the Crazy Horse Too were framed by corrupt FBI agents working in collusion with Steve Miller. The "Editor in Chief" also claimed that Steve Miller had "brainwashed" Tribune editors including himself, and fabricated stories on its pages to injure Rizzolo.

Kenny Gallo continued supplying me confidential information through 2005, and I continued protecting his identity on AmericanMafia.com. Then the emails stopped.

Last summer, I received an email from Gallo announcing the release of his book entitled "Breakshot: A Life in the 21st Century American Mafia." In his book, Gallo thanks me for my help in exposing Vegas underworld figures.

In October, a national TV network contacted me to request I do an on camera interview about my heretofore confidential source. Since he was the one to out himself, I had no hesitation to tell my story about a confidential source who was proven to be completely accurate during the three years we were in contact, and how his information may have helped to squash a major Mafia crime spree in Sin City.

The hour-long prime time documentary about Kenny "Kenji" Gallo is scheduled to air in late January.



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

Copyright © Steve Miller


email Steve Miller at: Stevemiller4lv@aol.com





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