ALL ROADS WILL LEAD TO
MOBBED-UP BOOB BAR
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
February 10, 2003
"Revised" Design Drawing issued Feb.
3, 2003 by the city Public Works Dept.
(Highlights, annotations, and outlines provided by author)
In late January, City of Las Vegas real estate appraiser Steven Anderson
visited the site of the Crazy Horse Too topless bar. When asked his purpose
for being there, he reportedly told garage owner "Buffalo" Jim Barrier
that the city was reconsidering the alignment of a planned two-lane expansion
of the roadway that runs in front of the bar and Barrier's next door Allstate
Auto repair business. He also hinted that Barrier's auto shop might be
removed by eminent domain to make way for the road to widen along with
several additional features to purportedly enhance the flow of traffic.
The week following Anderson's visit, and in the absence of any submitted
plans for a new Crazy Horse, the city Department
of Public Works suddenly released new drawings including a custom designed
driveway (A) and a dedicated left turn lane
(C) into the entrance of the yet-to-be approved
free standing "Gentleman's Club" - drawings that would exclusively benefit
the Crazy Horse since it would be the only business remaining on the property
if the road were widened to the extent shown on the highly creative, city-generated
After a contentious four-year battle to keep from being evicted to make
way for the often rumored topless bar expansion, Barrier was shocked to
see the city's newly created plan include a sidewalk through the front
of his business. Also of concern to Barrier was a statement his landlord
made one week before the plan was released saying the Nevada Department
of Transportation (NDOT), not the City of Las Vegas, would be the agency
assigned to remove Barrier's business by use of eminent domain. If this
is to occur, it will be for the exclusive benefit of a topless bar owned
by a man who chums
around with city and state politicians including the mayor and governor,
along with a slew of underworld types.
NDOT is an agency that works at the pleasure of Nevada Governor Kenny
Guinn who last year received a campaign donation of $20,000 from Rick
Rizzolo, the owner of the bar that moved in next to Barrier in 1986.
This writer served four years as a Clark County (Las Vegas) Regional
Transportation Commissioner. During my tenure, I never imagined seeing
a taxpayer funded private driveway and exclusive turn lane into a topless
bar! I also never imagined the government misusing its power of eminent
domain to displace a long time business to make way for such a project.
Now these prospects seem very possible.
The original plans for the widening of Industrial Road, a meandering
lane through one of the seamier parts of Vegas, showed only the need of
25 additional feet to provide for two extra travel lanes. NDOT officials
assured Barrier that since his garage is 53 feet behind the present curb,
the original plan issued in 1998 would still
have provided 28 feet of space in front of his business; an adequate area
for parking alongside a five foot wide sidewalk. However, it would have
destroyed the present Crazy Horse's valet parking area.
Feeling secure with the original plan, Barrier announced that he intended
to remain in the location his business had occupied since 1978 until his
lease expires in 2010. Following his proclamation,
covert political actions began that were clearly intended to harass him
into moving. At the same time, a mutual friend of Barrier and Rizzolo began
talking about the possibility of a $1.5
million dollar buy out. Up until then, Rizzolo had never offered to
buy out Barrier's remaining leasehold. It was later discovered that the
purported offer had no merit since there was a spanking-new plan afoot
- one that would put the financial burden on the taxpayers instead of Rizzolo,
and ultimately expose them to unending legal fees defending an obvious
After Barrier said he was not going to move, the City of Las Vegas
immediately established an arbitrary fire lane that removed Barrier's allocated
parking spaces. Then the city began patrols of the privately owned center
Enforcement officers to ticket or tow Barrier's customers. This action
took extraordinary clout from City Hall, something
that Rizzolo had in bundles since he donates up to $100,000
per year to local political campaigns.
Barrier hired noted attorney Gus Flangas and sued Rizzolo for harassment.
Rizzolo's attorneys immediately moved to have the suit dismissed, but the
judge ruled for Barrier.
In the meantime, Rizzolo reportedly began bragging that he could get
Barrier removed at no cost to himself. There were reports that Rizzolo
dispatched his attorneys to Carson City
to meet with the Governor to get the job done. To confirm the suspicion
that the fix was in, the Las Vegas Mercury reported the following in the
30 edition, more than a week before the "Revised" Design Drawings were
Rizzolo says a street widening project that's slated to get rolling
in the next few years will render the whole conflict moot, as Barrier will
have to negotiate with the state Department of Transportation and Rizzolo
will raze the whole shopping center--including Crazy Horse Too and Buffalo
Jim's auto marine shop--and build a new 60,000-square-foot gentlemen's
Based on the January 30, Mercury story, Barrier made three attempts
to obtain the new street widening plans from the city or NDOT. On February
6, after much prodding, it was the city that reluctantly released a copy
of the plans that bore the date "February 3, 2003." For the first time,
the new driveway, island, and turn features that benefit only Rizzolo were
depicted along with the ominous sidewalk drawn through Barrier's business.
Seeing the writing on the wall, Barrier began preparing for a lengthy court
battle saying it was obvious Rizzolo possessed advance knowledge of the
plans when he made his prediction in the Mercury more than a week before
the plans were released to the public.
Who gave Rizzolo advance knowledge? Possibly Rizzolo's best friend Joey
Cusamano, one of Las Vegas Mayor Oscar
Goodman's former mob clients. Then there's Rizzolo's PR man, Tom
Letizia, Goodman's campaign manager. To remain out of the fray, Goodman
has repeatedly said he will do no favors for Cusamano and will not participate
in the eminent domain taking of Barrier's business for the benefit of Rizzolo
who is Cusamano's cousin.
Another inside player at city hall is Councilman
Mike McDonald. He lived rent-free for some time in a half million-dollar
golf course villa owned by Cusamano's family. McDonald conveniently abstains
on matters that affect Cusamano's cousin but is known to exercise his influence
behind the scenes to help his friends including Rizzolo; an action that
once got him sanctioned by the Ethics
Nonetheless, looking at the last-minute road-widening plan, a trained
eye can see several more subtle indications that something special is being
done to hasten the removal of Barrier's business at public expense. Shown
are double left turn lanes and an extra wide island (B)
adjacent to the new driveway. The two turn lanes merge into a single
lane on-ramp to West Sahara Ave. Just south of the double left turn
lanes is a single left turn lane (D)
to access another single lane on-ramp to East Sahara Ave. Traffic volume
is the same in both directions on Sahara Ave. This causes speculation
that the double turn lanes and twelve foot wide island in
front of the Crazy Horse are purposefully designed to swell the road into
Barrier's front wall thereby making an eminent domain taking of his business
Then there is the question of why the only driveway depicted on the
entire three mile long plan is in front of a yet-to-be approved topless
bar? Less than a quarter mile north of the Crazy Horse is the Bell Transportation
Company, operator of thousands of taxicabs, limos, and shuttle busses.
No new driveway is depicted there!
It will not surprise observers if Rizzolo donates the right of way at
no charge. Nor will it be a surprise if Goodman, et al., gives the bar
owner the "Citizen
of the Month" award for doing so.
Is the state about to do the dirty work in a plot to keep the Mayor's
hands clean? Many observers believe that Goodman and McDonald's fingerprints
are all over this sordid affair. Based on a similar scheme in the early
1990s that parted a pioneer
family from their downtown property to turn it over to the Fremont
Street casinos, the city spent close to a million dollars defending their
unconstitutional eminent domain action in court, and lost. Barrier's attorneys
are eager to get their teeth into this battle.
Only in Vegas would government participate in a scheme to take a long-time
private business - at taxpayer's expense – to benefit a mobbed-up
topless bar. No wonder they call this Sin City!
Copyright © Steve Miller
email Steve Miller at: Stevemiller4lv@aol.com