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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:

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
Pictures worth a thousand words...
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
February 2, 2004
             Gotti                                   Rizzolo                                  Gotti                                   Rizzolo

Can someone please explain to me what this Rick Rizzolo-Golden Nugget thing is all about? The Golden Nugget's new owners Tom Breitling and Tim Poster are not allowed to know him? Why? They are limited to a one-year license? Why? Can anyone out there please explain what in the heck Rick Rizzolo, owner of the Crazy Horse Too, has done or what he is being accused of? He has been investigated by every law enforcement agency in Las Vegas. He has been in business for many years in Las Vegas. Now here is another question: Rick Rizzolo has a business as well as a liquor license, yet because one of the new Golden Nugget owners knows him, the duo is having trouble with their own license? Does that make any sense? Why does the government continue to burn up our money on useless investigations like the one at the Crazy Horse? We, as everybody knows, have a major crime problem in Las Vegas -- rape, drugs, gang-bangers, armed robbery, political corruption, home invasions, car theft. So I guess going after the Crazy Horse and Rick Rizzolo is really going to stop the crime problem in Las Vegas. Yeah, right. It's time law enforcement and our justice system -- as well as our politicians (the ones not going to jail) -- stop the useless time and money going after people who really have no effect on our crime problem or our daily lives. Also, I want to know: Will I be investigated if I talk to Rick? -- TED BOMMARITO, Henderson, NV, Letter to the Editor, Las Vegas Review Journal, 01/29/04

Truly they have wrongfully incarcerated a man who's only motive in life was to live and die by the rules he saw as a necessary way of life. To keep his wayward sheep in control. To me this formidable person saw to it that his family was never to do without a morsel of food, heat, clothes. I wished I was raised in such a family. I think the justice system felt threatened by his capacity to be even more powerful than a mere judge, therefore being frustrated by his power they found pathetic reasons to lock him up. Those poor pathetic fools! -- DANA LaVIOLETTE, Canada, The Official John Gotti Tribute Site, 6/11/02

LAS VEGAS -- While the clock ticks off the days and hours until Federal Indictments are handed down against Vegas skin merchant Frederick "Rick" Rizzolo, a fan club of sorts is forming for the man who many believe has long lusted to walk in John Gotti's footsteps.

In a town that has more Elvis impersonators per square foot than any other spot on the face of the Earth, and covets its Mob heritage so much that its citizens elected a former Mafia lawyer as mayor, its not beyond reason to believe that martyrs can be made of those who least deserve the title.

In the case of the late John Gotti, thousands of Brooklyn residents took to the streets on February 9, 1990 to celebrate after a jury found him not guilty.

In Rizzolo's case, it appears that at least Mr. Bommarito and several local politicians will celebrate if the imminent indictments are found to be meritless.
                 Gotti                         Rizzolo (Photo by Mike Christ)

"Can anyone out there please explain what in the heck Rick Rizzolo... has done or what he is being accused of?" asks Mr. Bommarito.

So far, like Gotti in his early years, Rizzolo has also been clothed in Teflon. Even with over 700 police responses to his nightclub in less than three years -- responses that included dozens for beatings, credit card fraud, coercion, shootings, and a probable murder -- no arrests were made and no perpetrators prosecuted.

Though he has been referred to as a "Pillar of the community" by a councilman, and a local judge once said he has "a good name in the community," (Rizzolo has grown another title in some circles - "The Teflon Pimp," in contrast to Gotti's nickname - "The Teflon Don") the political corruption web of suspicion that surrounds him ensnares some local law enforcement officials, the county courthouse, and even city hall - hence the FBI investigation, Mr. Bommarito.
 Gotti and crew gather at the Ravenite                     Rizzolo and crew gather at the dumpster (Photo by Jim Barrier)

The fate of John Gotti was sealed by his most trusted confidant, Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, possibly the most notorious "rat" in the history of organized crime.


Since his club was raided by 80 FBI and IRS agents with guns drawn on February 20, 2003, rumor has it that numerous Rizzolo confidants have also turned Federal witnesses  The fallout from this raid caught innocent bystanders, Golden Nugget buyers Tom Breitling and Tim Poster, on a wiretap talking to Rizzolo; a simple conversation that almost cost them their Nevada gaming license as Mr. Bommarito so eloquently stated in his Letter to the Editor.

            Rizzolo's crew (KVBC TV News)

In the meantime, Chief US District Judge Philip Pro placed a Stay on all Las Vegas Metro Police records regarding the Crazy Horse. Even an NBC Dateline news crew was recently denied access to records needed in an upcoming episode about the alleged criminal activities surrounding Rizzolo. The Stay is expected to last until Indictments are issued.

Also, tens of thousands of pages of sworn testimony have so far been gathered by the Federal Grand Jury in Rizzolo's case, an investigation that is rumored to have cost taxpayers over $4 million to date -- an unprecedented expenditure that Ted Bommarito, I'm sure, believes is "useless time and money," and Dana LaViolette would certainly find "pathetic."

Who the "rats" may be in Rick Rizzolo's future are only speculation, but some now believe that deals have been cut with persons in his most inner sanctum; once-loyal friends who will make the betrayal of John Gotti pale in comparison.

To Ted and Dana's obvious dismay, this poor imitation of John Gotti is about to reach a crescendo, and when it does, it will definitely have a profound effect on Las Vegas' "crime problem" and our "daily lives."

Now, "does that make any sense" Mr. Bommarito?

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