"Court submissions by pro se litigants'
are to be construed liberally
and held to less stringent standards than
the submissions of
the lawyers in opposition, being provided
including but not limited to, unfamiliarity
requirements." - Frederick J. Rizzolo,
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
July 20, 2009
LAS VEGAS - Convicted
racketeer Rick Rizzolo on July 8 and 9, supposedly became his own lawyer
and filed two last minute court documents he purported to author. Both
claimed privilege to "less stringent standards," "wide latitude," and "unfamiliarity
with rule requirements," the standards imposed on real attorneys.
He wrote both documents, one 3 pages, the other 23, without once using
the "F" word!
In 2006, Rizzolo agreed to
pay $9 million dollars to a Kansas tourist named Kirk
Henry. Henry had his neck broken for disputing an inflated bar
tab at Rizzolo's former topless bar the Crazy Horse Too. Henry was rendered
a quadriplegic from his beating. Rizzolo agreed to pay Henry in exchange
for prosecutors going easy and letting him off with less than a year in
prison. In 2008 after he was released from prison, Rizzolo welched on the
deal and hired
the attorney-brother of a federal court judge to set up off
shore accounts to hide his assets from seizure. However, Rizzolo's
ex-wife Lisa was forced to reveal the location
of their assets during a lengthy May 12, 2009 deposition.
It's been speculated that
Rizzolo's choice of asset protection attorney -- John
Dawson -- the brother of U.S. Judge Kent Dawson -- was conveniently
designed to discourage Henry's progress and cause the federal court embarrassment
if there were future problems in this case. Judge Dawson presided over
the trials of fifteen Crazy Horse Too defendants without disclosing that
his brother was the attorney for the defendant's former boss, so it may
have been anticipated by Rizzolo's camp that other federal judges would
not want to open this can of worms, and would rather have Henry's case
tried in state courts where Rizzolo has generously donated to local judicial
campaigns, than to embarrass Judge Dawson and offend the man who appointed
him judge for life. Judge Dawson was appointed by U.S. Senator Harry Reid.
Senator Reid's two sons are also employed as attorneys at the same law
firm that employs Judge Dawson's brother.
However, the presiding judge
in Henry's case, Judge Philip Pro, has so far been completely objective
and let the case continue in his court despite Rizzolo's objections and
any embarrassment it may create for Judge Dawson or Senator Reid.
A pro se litigant without
an attorney can communicate directly with the court through his personally
written court filings that automatically become part of the case record
and are read by judges prior to hearings. This can happen after the date
document filing closes for opposing attorneys.
Henry's attorneys have had
moderate success in locating the
Rizzolo's hidden assets, and are expected to ask the federal court
to seize $9 million dollars worth in the near future. But on July 13, 2009,
hours after Rizzolo filed his two pro se Motions, and well after the deadline
for opposing attorneys to file their Objections, U.S. Magistrate Judge
George Foley without explanation denied Motions to compel Rizzolo's camp
to turn over financial records and impose sanctions against attorneys representing
Judge Foley's sudden and
unexpected action stopped Henry in his tracks, and will require Henry to
expend additional legal fees and wait additional months to correct.
Philip Pro who was appointed
United States District Judge for the District of Nevada by President Reagan
in 1987 and has served as Chief Judge for the District since 2002, according
to the Federal
George Foley was appointed
in 2005. He is merely the referral judge in this case, and Judge Pro has
overruled him once before in a
ruling Foley made that favored Rizzolo. The person who appointed Foley
as Magistrate is not identified.
Not playing by the rules
is one of Rick Rizzolo's talents. When he owned the now closed Crazy Horse
Too, Rizzolo made his fortune by allowing his employees to beat,
patrons. This happened until Henry sued Rizzolo and brought national
attention to the criminal activities at the Crazy Horse Too. After
turned their backs, the FBI stepped in and prosecuted Rizzolo and fifteen
of his employees. On June 30, 2007, the City of Las Vegas seized
the club's liquor license. On August 29, 2007, U.S. Federal Marshals
possession of the mob owned business and property. The place has been
dark ever since.
After failing to get justice
in the District Court of Judge Jackie Glass, a judge who is known to do
favors for the Rizzolo family, Kirk Henry went to U.S. Federal Court
to try to claim his missing settlement. In the meantime, Rizzolo resumed
his extravagant lifestyle of squandering
tens of thousands in cash per night in local clubs and casinos.
Now, if Judge Pro were to
unlikely agree with Rizzolo's latest "Pro Se" Motions and dismiss
Henry's complaint, the case will go back to Rizzolo's cronies on the Nevada
Supreme Court and Clark County District Court.
Then based on Rizzolo's example,
racketeers throughout the nation may begin scrambling to become their own
pro se lawyers to avoid the professional standards required of licensed
attorneys, and be able to stall cases indefinitely and cost opponents additional
legal fees like Rizzolo seems intent on doing to Henry.
I'm sure there are many unscrupulous
attorneys eager to take cash to secretly author their criminal client's
supposed pro se documents like the example below.
Liberally citing case law
on a Word Perfect-type legal document with his name printed vertically
in the left margin just like a real lawyer, Rizzolo thrust upon the court
the task of determining whether he's the actual author, or are there phantom
lawyers doing his bidding for cash payments?
years Rizzolo has claimed poverty in order to avoid paying Henry, and last
year said he couldn't afford an attorney.
Based on his amazing transformation
from thug to jurist, the federal court will soon have to determine if "Frederick
J. Rizzolo, Pro Se" has the hidden gift of being able to write Motions
like a seasoned attorney, and the ability to research case law so effectively
as to inspire the respect of two federal court judges?
Or did he somehow find enough
funds in a secret Strip casino cage safe deposit box to continue paying
his legal team at Patti & Sgro to insult the court's intelligence by
pretending to be him (without using the "F" word in every sentence)?
No matter how he got this
on, I can't believe any judge would believe a guy like Rick Rizzolo could
actually author dozens of pages in perfect legalize.
(Rick Rizzolo sits stoically
during his sentencing, LV Review-Journal photo by Clint Karlsen)
DUELING FEDERAL COURT JUDGES
|Jul. 14, 2009
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
Hunt for Rizzolo assets stalls
Judge refuses to order delivery of financial records
By ADRIENNE PACKER
Attorneys on a treasure hunt for former strip club owner Rick Rizzolo's
money hit a wall Monday when a federal judge denied their motion to compel
Rizzolo's camp to turn over financial records and impose sanctions against
attorneys representing Rizzolo's wife.
Henry's attorneys expressed frustration that much of the divorce paperwork
filed by the Patti & Sgro law firm has disappeared. Representatives
of the law office, which handled the divorce for both Rizzolos, have said
paperwork was destroyed in a flood.
Foley gave Bailus two weeks to attempt to collect the records. He also
directed DeGree to subpoena the records himself from John Dawson, an attorney
with Lionel Sawyer & Collins and the brother of U.S. District Judge
When Judge Foley first tried
to remand the Henry case back to state court and stop the ongoing Discovery
process, Judge Pro wisely issued the following ORDER:
Even after Judge Pro overruled
Magistrate Foley's first ORDER, Rizzolo remained busy filing his pro se
In the 23 page Motion he
purportedly authored on June 7, Rizzolo again listed his name followed
by the words "Pro Se," address, phone and fax number vertically in the
left margin like a real attorney. In the document he challenged Judge Pro's
ruling that his case should stay in federal court instead of being tried
in state courts where Rizzolo has friends including Supreme Court Justice
Below are excerpts from the
Motion Rick Rizzolo purportedly authored:
Document 139 Filed 07/09/2009 Page 1 of 23
Defendants, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
56, respectfully request this Court to enter an Order for summary judgment
in favor of the Defendants and against the Plaintiffs, as there exists
no genuine issue of material fact and the Defendants are entitled to judgment
as a matter of the applicable law on theory of claim preclusion, judicial
estoppel and waiver.
In the second alternative, Defendants,
pursuant to Nevada Rule of Appellate Procedure 5, respectfully request
this Court to enter an Order to certify questions of law to the Supreme
Court of the State of Nevada.
Defendants further request pursuant
to FeII.R.Civ.P. Rule 26(c) that this Court enter an Order to stay the
discovery orders and discovery pending decision on the dispositive motions
and alternative motion to certify questions of law to the Supreme Court
of the State of Nevada.
The Decree of Divorce is undisturbed
as a final state court order. Because the Plaintiffs are seeking relief
affecting the distribution of community property, only the original state
court and department that issued the Decree of Divorce has subject matter
jurisdiction to grant relief related to setting aside or modification of
DATED this 7th day of July, 2009.
DEFENDANTS FREDERICK RIZZOLO a/k/a
RICK RIZZOLO , a individual; and
RICK AND LISA RIZZOLO FAMILY TRUST
1760 Amarone Way
Las Vegas, Nevada 89012
(Emphasis in bold added by
Rizzolo argued that his 2005
divorce ruling by Family
Court Judge Steve Jones, and a civil court ruling in his favor by District
Court Judge Jackie Glass should take precedence over the U.S. Federal
Court case now in progress -- in other words, Judge Pro is overstepping
Nonetheless, Rizzolo's two
pro se Motions are somehow being taken seriously, and Judge Pro is expected
to rule on their merits within the next two months.
Rizzolo's state court judges:
(L to R) Justice Nancy Siatta, Judge Steve Jones, and Judge Jackie Glass
Meanwhile, doesn't anyone
realize that quadriplegics have a shortened life span? Or is that the plan
-- to wear out Mr. Henry's resolve, or stall this case until his passing
when his wife and children are so saddled with unpaid medical bills that
they either give up, or accept a pittance from the criminal family who
caused them such pain and grief?
Hopefully, Judge Philip Pro
will once again see through the subterfuge and keep this case on track
before Lisa Rizzolo can further hide her and her husband's ill-gotten assets,
and make a mockery of our Federal Court system.