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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:

"Innocent" people don't need
immunity from prosecution!
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
April 3, 2006

LAS VEGAS - Its all coming together now. Seven years of investigative writing is finally about to meld into a cohesive story. My hundreds of  news stories, reports and columns since 1999 have been dominated by a mob infested strip joint and its corrupting effect on local cops, DA's, judges, and politicians. As one racketeering trial starts its second week, another much bigger one waits in the wings -- a trial that will validate dozens of INSIDE VEGAS columns describing one of Sin City's biggest disgraces  -- the Crazy Horse Too.

This sordid story came to a head on September 20, 2001, when a Kansas tourist disputed a $99 bar tab, and in response, a Crazy Horse Too manager broke his neck. Kirk Henry was permanently injured -- paralyzed from the neck down following his night on the town. The bar tried to deny that the injury occurred on their premises, but a quick thinking next door neighbor snapped photos of Henry being lifted onto a gurney by paramedics, and the rest is history.

I originally broke the Kirk Henry story on October 3, 2001. My front page "Another beating reported at local topless bar," started a chain reaction leading to the following top stories in last week's Las Vegas Review-Journal, and LV SUN.

Apr. 02, 2006
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

Word is the Rizzolo case is approaching a critical stage. One road leads to a negotiated settlement, the other to a trial that threatens not only Rizzolo and Co., but his family members as well. It's no secret his father, Bart Rizzolo, and sister, Annette Patterson, have been associated with the cash-rich business for many years. In a case that's one-part income tax probe, that could mean real problems for the family... The question is: How much would Rizzolo have to give up to clear up the Crazy Horse Too mess? There's money, of course. Millions, in fact. Not only in penalties to the government, but to the family of Kansas tourist Kirk Henry, who suffered a broken neck in the parking lot of the club after a long night of partying.

Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
McDonald says time proving his innocence
Apr. 01, 2006
Sources familiar with both strip club investigations say the trial of Herrera and Kincaid-Chauncey probably is only the prelude to a Rizzolo trial, one that could feature public officials either as witnesses or defendants...Wright said McDonald would testify against Rizzolo at a potential trial only if he is offered immunity from prosecution. Rizzolo, his family and his business associates have contributed at least $40,000 to Mayor Oscar Goodman's campaigns. Rizzolo has supported Goodman, and the mayor is quick to defend the strip club owner..."I like Rick Rizzolo," Goodman said.

Galardi dishes up dirt on club rival
Rizzolo fingered in secret FBI reports

By Jeff German and Steve Kanigher
March 26, 2006
Las Vegas Sun
As Galardi sought to strike a deal with the government to fend off corruption charges, according to secret FBI reports obtained by the Sun, he supplied agents with derogatory information about Rizzolo. That information included allegations that Rizzolo, like Galardi, was providing cash under the table to public officials... One elected official Galardi linked to Rizzolo was described in the FBI reports as "Judge #1." As with Rizzolo, this official has been identified by the Sun as District Judge Nancy Saitta through the descriptions of Judge #1 in the FBI reports matched with independent research and information obtained from sources familiar with Galardi's claims.


Following my original Tribune article on the Henry beating, the newspaper's editor received a "shoot the messenger" type letter from Rick Rizzolo, the first and last time he has ever personally responded to adverse stories about his place of business. I was also the subject of a failed motion for a gag order filed by Rizzolo's attorneys Dean Patti and Tony Sgro in the court of an overly friendly judge. The judge had come under federal scrutiny because she had sat on several cases involving Rizzolo. Michael Galardi, the government's key witness in the current trial, recalled Rizzolo telling him that he had "taken care of (Judge) Saitta." At a settlement conference, Galardi also recalled, Judge Saitta gave Rizzolo "a big hug and kiss like they were friends," according to Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith.

In his Letter to the Editor, Rizzolo wrote: "Mr. Miller is the landlord of Club Paradise. Club Paradise, an adult dance establishment, is a direct business competitor of the club I operate, Crazy Horse Too. A mere glance at the titles to Mr. Miller's articles clearly reveals Mr. Miller's bias against his competitor, the Crazy Horse Too and myself, and his complete lack of journalistic professionalism... Mr. Miller also refers to another alleged beating that occurred at my club on September 20, 2001. No 'beating' ever occurred on my premises on that day. A customer leaving the club drunk did trip, but in no way was this man 'beaten,' About the only accurate fact reported by Mr. Miller was the club personnel were standing over the injured man. Of course, Mr. Miller does not mention that my employees were assisting the injured man, as that would ruin his insinuation that my employees had 'beat up' this man."

After two Clark County District Attorneys refused to prosecute Kirk Henry's assailant, the tragic story caught the attention of the FBI who dispatched 80 elite members of their Organized Crime Strike Task Force to Sin City. Upon landing, they contacted me to request copies of three year's worth of Las Vegas Tribune,, and articles I penned on the subject of beatings and robberies at the Crazy Horse, along with my stories of alleged political corruption. I gladly complied with their requests.

Then agents began interviewing witnesses including the Crazy Horse's next door neighbor Buffalo Jim Barrier who shot the photos that time-stamped the Henry beating. From Barrier they learned that Mr. Henry's brutal experience was not the first of its kind -- that many others had met a similar fate at the hands and boots of Crazy Horse employees including the beating death of Scott Fau, and baseball bat beating of Rick Sandland that led to his death three years later. Again agents learned that local District Attorneys refused to prosecute in either case.

Wire taps were placed on Rick Rizzolo's phones. Soon new subjects of interest emerged. It was evident that Rizzolo hated his competitor Michael Galardi. According to sources, Rizzolo would talk openly of Galardi bribing public officials, and how other officials who had loyalties to the Crazy Horse would work to thwart Galardi's business efforts. This brought then-city councilman Michael McDonald into the investigation.

Michael Galardi had loaned his brand new Ferrari to Joey Cusumano, a close associate of Rizzolo and Mayor Oscar Goodman, and member of Nevada's infamous Black Book of undesirables. It was well known that Michael's father, Jack Galardi, had wanted his son to avoid any contact with Rizzolo or his crew. The Ferrari episode broke any confidence the father and son shared.

Michael Galardi must have thought "If you can't beat em, join em" when he suddenly put Rizzolo's biggest political stooge, McDonald, on his payroll. All of a sudden, according to sources, the city stopped harassing Galardi's Cheetahs club, located in the city limits.

However, Jack Galardi despised McDonald, so much so that he openly contributed $5,000 to his recall effort in 2000.

According to wire taps obtained by Jeff German of the LV SUN, even Rizzolo was shocked at the new relationship between McDonald and Michael Galardi, so he temporarily took McDonald off his payroll. The SUN's wire tap transcripts stated, "Ultimately, club owner #1 quit paying McDonald, at least for a time, because of McDonald's efforts to collect cash from both club owner #1 and Galardi."

Then, with McDonald's alleged help, Galardi made a slew of new friends on the Clark County Commission, hence this week's Galardi racketeering trial.

As stated in the above Review-Journal story, this week's Galardi trial probably is only the prelude to a Rizzolo trial. The original mission of the Organized Crime Strike Task Force was coined "Operation Crazy Horse," and to this day, that remains their priority.

But the most revealing statement was made by Michael McDonald's well respected attorney Richard Wright. Wright told RJ Special Projects Reporter Alan Maimon that McDonald would testify against Rizzolo at a potential trial only if he is offered immunity from prosecution.

That being the case, it's obvious that McDonald has a lot of important information if he needs immunity. Innocent people do not need immunity to do their civic duty. If McDonald gets immunity and takes the witness stand, the IRS will certainly be listening. Then Rick Rizzolo and his family will have much more to fear.

As far as speculating that Rizzolo would turn Federal witness, a long time Chicago law enforcement officer put it this way:
"Rizzolo is too well connected to cut a deal....he'd be in witness protection the rest of his life....or in solitary in a prison."

If the above statement is true, Rick Rizzolo has nothing to lose by fighting the Feds to the bitter end.

Copyright © Steve Miller





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