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
Baseball bat attack returns to haunt
Vegans in their classy sanctuary
"Pillar of the community" has a secret criminal
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
November 7, 2005
NEWPORT BEACH, CA. - The buzz around the Ritz Restaurant at
Fashion Island is all about Sin City topless bar owner Rick Rizzolo. Transplanted Las Vegas
residents who frequent Fred Glusman's plush eatery can't stop talking
about how their fellow Newport Beach vacation home owner kept his
criminal record quiet for so long, and how a front page story in the Orange County Register will
affect his social standing in a beach town where people covet their
security, and family values.
In recent years, the surfside cities of Newport and Laguna have become
sanctuaries for Las Vegas denizens including former Mayor Jan
Jones, MGM CEO Terri Lanni, current LV Mayor Oscar Goodman, and topless
bar mogul Rick Rizzolo. Nearby John Wayne Airport is only a thirty
minute biz jet ride from Las Vegas. Their hangout, the Ritz, was built
for them by their buddy Fred Glusman who owns Pieros
Though rumor has it that Mr. Rizzolo and some of his mob
cronies were the money behind the Newport eatery, the locals, up until
last week, evidently had no idea who some of their new neighbors were.
Orange County is the home of
Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, and Pepperdine University. Its also the
one of the most conservative areas of California. A wealthy suburb of
Los Angeles where family values run high.
For several years, Vegas Mayor
, City Attorney Brad Jerbic, city Business License Director
Jim DiFiore, and District Attorney David Roger, along with
attorneys for the Crazy Horse, argued that Mr. Rizzolo has no
and therefore is fit to hold a privileged
license. In fact, Rizzolo was once referred to as a "Pillar of the community
" at a
council meeting. Then the same council named Fred Glusman "Citizen of
the Month" in 2002, after he had referred
to then-Councilwoman Lynette Boggs-McDonald as "that black woman."
Boggs-McDonald was not present at the meeting when Glusman received the
To the dismay of the "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" crowd at
the Ritz, the Orange County Register
spilled the beans on one
of our homies by reporting
"Rizzolo has a criminal record: he pleaded
guilty in 1985 to battery for a baseball bat attack on a Crazy Horse patron,
who suffered brain damage, records show.
The patron, Rick Sandland, died three years later of complications
caused by the attack. The Clark County DA at the time, Rex Bell,
evidently plea bargained the case, and is suspected of helping to seal
record. Rizzolo was defended by attorney Stu Bell (no relation). Stu
Rex Bell as DA, and is currently a Clark County
District Court Judge. Rizzolo is known as one of the most generous
political campaign contributors in Southern Nevada.
Ten years after Sandland was attacked, California truck driver Scott
in 1995, was beaten unconscious by Crazy Horse bouncers, and
died several hours later. In 2001, Kansas tourist Kirk
was also beaten, and is today a quadriplegic. Then-DA Stu
Bell refused to prosecute both cases. His successor, David Roger
in 2002, has also refused to prosecute any cases involving the Crazy
Meanwhile, Rizzolo has become known as a "pillar of the community" in
both Vegas and Newport Beach. His beach house has become a resort for
his pals including fallen LV Councilman Mike
, and others. In fact, on a recent New Years Eve, the
beachside mansion was full of frolickers that reportedly included some
of Sin City's and Chicago's most notorious -- rubbing elbows with Vegas
and Laguna elite. All out of view from prying eyes, or at least they
When it comes to sanctuary
watering holes in Newport and Laguna are about as secure from
eavesdroppers as the Iraqi Embassy in Washington D.C. On a recent
Sunday evening, early birds at the Ritz found un-asked-for copies of
INSIDE VEGAS on every table and along the bar. Of course all
AmericanMafia material was reportedly destroyed before any VIPs arrived.
In Vegas, a mobbed
up eatery is considered classy, but in Orange County, such places
are not held in high esteem. Neither are guys who bash heads with
I doubt there is room in the hearts of the mostly conservative
Republican O.C. residents for a guy like Rick Rizzolo, or his pals.
Also of interest is that Clark County court records following the
baseball bat attack were sealed thereby making it easy for Rizzolo to
maintain a privileged business license in Sin City, something that
should have been revoked had his now-revealed criminal record been
known to previous mayors and councils. (Steve Miller served on the Las
Vegas City Council from 1987 through 1991.)
Meanwhile, in spite of
ongoing violence at the Crazy Horse including a knifing that occurred
on Oct. 27, the city council in 2003 closed Treasures, and fined
Cheetahs one-million dollars. Treasures and Cheetahs are competitors of
the Crazy Horse, and neither club has a history of violence.
Nonetheless, they were penalized by Goodman and his obedient council,
and the Crazy Horse was not.
The main difference I can find between the owners of Treasures,
Cheetahs, and the Crazy Horse, is that Oscar Goodman, prior to becoming
mayor, was the criminal
defense attorney for many of Rizzolo's associates --
but he did not represent the owners of Treasures or Cheetahs. Rizzolo's
associates include Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, Vinnie Faraci, Al
Rapuano, Joey Cusumano, and others who Rizzolo still maintains close
friendships with. In fact, Rocco Lombardo, Joey's brother, is currently
a Crazy Horse executive.
According to the Orange County
Register, "Crazy Horse Too has been under investigation since
August 2001 for suspected fraud, illegal sexual activity and drug
violations. Court documents also allege
that Rizzolo repeatedly dined with mob underboss Joey 'The Clown'
Lombardo in Chicago - who disappeared after being indicted on murder
charges. Court records, quoting the Chicago
Tribune, add that Rizzolo also rubbed shoulders with
high-ranking mobsters John 'No-Nose' DiFronzo and his consigliere, Joe
'The Builder' Andriacchi."
Its not known if DiFronzo or Andriacchi were clients of Goodman's law
firm that was famous for requiring a half million dollar retainer
before taking on a criminal defense client.
So, the protection afforded the Crazy Horse by the mayor and his timid
council may be
based on his long term friendship and business association with
Lombardo and other Chicago mob figures who were former Goodman law
and are now suspected hidden owners of the strip club. Meanwhile, no
one on the council would dare cross the mayor lest they be cut off from
future campaign fundraisers
Goodman brags that he arrived in Vegas with eighty-five dollars in his
pocket. He had to receive a lot of help to become as rich as he is
today, and its obvious who his loyalties are to, otherwise the Crazy
should have been the first on his list for license
revocation instead of its two closest competitors who don't beat
Following the August 2004, Dateline NBC expose' on the
violence at the Crazy Horse,
then-Las Vegas Review-Journal
hall reporter Michael Squires asked the mayor if
he watched the program? Goodman's answer was "I did not see that." My
reaction to his statement? The
mayor fears Joe Lombardo, and
will protect his alleged
investment at any cost.
Now, after being kept in the closet for so long, the dirty Sin City
secrets are starting to see the light of day -- but not in Las Vegas --
in Southern California, the most lucrative tourist market we have.
Instead of protecting our investment in tourism by closing the Crazy
Horse before anyone else is maimed or killed, our paid off Mayor and DA
bury their heads in the sand while potential Southern California
visitors read that our city harbors those
When will we ever learn?
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