judge who signed Rizzolo's Divorce Decree
"Defendant Lisa Rizzolo maintains that
the divorce decree was not
collusive and was in accordance with considerations
Nevada state law regarding the division
of marital property."
- Mark Bailus, attorney for Lisa Rizzolo,
March 2, 2009
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
March 16, 2009
VEGAS - For over three and a half years, unpaid
beating victim Kirk Henry has been inferring that Rick and Lisa Rizzolo's
divorce was a collusive sham
to allow the couple to hide their ill begotten assets from seizure by creditors.
If Rizzolo's divorce was a "sham" as asserted
in a Las
Vegas Sun Editorial, what kind of judge would have allowed Rick
Rizzolo to transfer most of his criminally derived assets to his wife
three weeks before he was to begin plea negotiations in a widely
reported racketeering case involving his former topless night club,
the Crazy Horse Too?
None other than the Honorable Steven E.
Jones (left), a highly rated Clark County District Court Judge. And if
a picture was ever worth a thousand words, this is it!
All you need do is take a quick look at
the mug shot of the thug like person who presided over the Rizzolo's divorce
to lose faith in the competence of our local family court system, and see
just how possible it was for the couple to transfer and conceal their assets
in a fraudulent
The above mug shot courtesy of the Henderson,
Nevada Police Department was taken in June 2006, a few hours after the
esteemed jurist allegedly
beat the crap out of his 34 year old girl friend.
Was this troubled judge's signing of the
Rizzolo Divorce Decree an example of "honor among thieves?" Or can a judge
wrought with personal demons be easily influenced?
Then, one month after his domestic violence
arrest, a column in the LV
Review-Journal revealed that in 2003, Judge Jones was accused of
scamming a senior citizen out of $9,494.63 in unauthorized credit card
According to Review-Journal columnist
John L. Smith; "A sample of the expenditures from Jones' portion
of a July 2003 American Express bill: $301.37 for a watch, $227.37 for
men's clothing, $1,150 for Tommy Hilfiger jeans, and $127.63 for items
marked 'spring seasonal' from Dillards-Henderson. The bill also included
hundreds of dollars for groceries, hundreds more for clothing, and expenditures
in Hawaii in excess of $4,300." (Judge Jones claims he's settled all outstanding
debts with the card holder.)
One year before his domestic violence arrest,
Judge Jones was "randomly assigned" to preside over the Rizzolo's pop-up
divorce, and his stamped name appears on the FINAL DECREE.
In addition to Judge Jones, several other
Clark County District Court judges have been accused of doing the Rizzolos
favors. They were also "randomly assigned" cases in which Rizzolo was a
party, and in each case assigned to these specific judges, he prevailed
against strong odds. The questioned judges include former District Court
Judge Nancy M. Saitta, and current District Judge Jackie Glass. (Saitta
is currently a Nevada Supreme Court Justice.)
Saitta gave jury instructions that ruined the Scott David Fau wrongful
death lawsuit against the Rizzolo's business, and Judge
Glass ruled that Kirk Henry could not locate or examine Lisa Rizzolo's
personal assets even though Rick and Lisa were married at the time of Henry's
In another case "randomly assigned" to
Judge Glass, on January 13, 2009, she let Rick and Lisa's 26 year old son
Dominic off with probation
after he tried to stab a man to death during a December 2008 extortion
attempt. The victim almost died of his injuries.
After the sentencing, she volunteered to
reduce Dominic's felony to a gross misdemeanor if he stays out of trouble
for the next two years. No one in open court made this request. Judge Glass
made her generous offer without being asked by Dominic's criminal defense
Judges are selected to preside over local
cases in a purportedly 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. Unfortunately, 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.
In this way it's possible that all cases involving Rizzolo were coincidentally
assigned to judges who look out for his best interests.
After learning the identify of the judge
selected to preside over the Rizzolo's divorce, it became increasingly
clear why the couple received everything they asked for from his court,
and why Kirk Henry -- eight years following his beating and robbery --
is finding it almost impossible to collect the remaining nine million dollars
he's owed after one of the Rizzolo's employees broke his neck and rendered
him a quadriplegic for disputing a padded bar tab at their now defunct
Based on a 77 page Response filed on Friday,
March 13, 2009, the answers to this puzzle are starting to fall into place.
In the Response, lawyers for Lisa Rizzolo
asked the United States Federal Court to keep Mr. Henry's attorneys away
from their client's cleverly
hidden assets -- and that her hasty
divorce was a legitimate "parting of the ways" with no connection to
Rick's plea bargaining that took place less than a month later.
Lisa's Response included as Evidence a
copy of Judge Jones' signed FINAL DECREE as supposed proof of the divorce's
legitimacy. This was presented as if Judge Steven Jones is a respected
member of the local judiciary who would never have signed off on
a fraudulent transfer of assets!
attorneys repeated several times in their Response that Judge Jones' colleague,
District Judge Jackie Glass (left), had ruled that Henry had no right to
try to locate or examine Lisa's hidden
fortune while the Crazy Horse was still for sale. Judge Glass neglected
to mention that most potential buyers were either connected
to Rizzolo, or were without
funds. (The bar has been dark since July 1, 2007.)
Lisa's attorneys wrote in last week's Response
that it's "premature" for Henry to know where her assets are, even though
he suffered his injuries in October 2001 while she co-owned the club. Then
five years later in 2006, Rick Rizzolo promised to pay Henry $10 million
in exchange for a feather light prison sentence.
So far, with the help of Judges Jones and
Glass, Henry hasn't received one cent from the couple's personal fortune,
and Rick Rizzolo is out of prison and seen nightly squandering
tens of thousands in cash at some of our town's most expensive venues.
In their Response, Lisa's attorneys disingenuously
try to console the court by saying Rick Rizzolo already paid Henry $1 million.
But they neglect to mention that the money came from the couple's Farmer's
Insurance policy, not from their personal assets.
On March 17, Presiding United States Federal
Judge Philip Pro will be asked to rule whether Federal Magistrate George
Foley was correct on February 3, 2009, when he upheld the previous rulings
of lower court Judges Jones and Glass who dutifully placed Lisa's
assets off limits.
If Judge Pro agrees with Judges Jones,
Glass, and Foley, then it's expected that his ruling will be challenged
in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
I will let you know Judge Pro's ruling
in an upcoming INSIDE VEGAS.
In the meantime, Judge Steven Jones remains
on the bench and is one of our town's most respected jurists. His continuing
status and that of Rizzolo's former mob lawyer, uber-popular Mayor Oscar
Goodman, says a lot about our local quality of justice.