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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:

Lombardo's Vegas connections may soon surface

On Friday night, about a dozen FBI agents descended on Lombardo in an Elmwood Park alley
as he and an elderly friend sat inside a 1994 silver Lincoln
- Chicago Sun-Times, 01-14-06

              Rocco and Joey Lombardo                          Joey "The Clown" Lombardo        
              KVBC TV News                                             CPD Mug Shot, 01/13/06

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
January 16, 2006

LAS VEGAS - Back on April 25, 2005, the day Joey "The Clown" Lombardo was indicted, I received a call from a reporter for a London daily paper. He asked if I thought Lombardo would implicate Oscar Goodman, the mayor of Las Vegas, in any criminal activity?

I told him that our mayor who was once Lombardo's attorney, harbored many secrets as do many of Goodman's former law clients, but the mayor's omertà was probably as strong as Lombardo's, and little may ever be known of their internal relationship.

Coincidentally, that same evening, I received the second telephone call I had ever received from Goodman. He asked if we could meet? We did the next morning in the street in front of my house. This was the second time the mayor had made such a request.
On April 26, 2005, Mayor Oscar Goodman visited  Steve's home. The day before, Goodman's former client,
 Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, was indicted in connection with 18 murders. Lombardo
is a suspected hidden
owner of the Crazy Horse Too topless bar in Las Vegas. In the street, Steve scolded Goodman for protecting

the violence plagued business.                                          ( photos by Mike Christ)

The first meeting Goodman arranged occurred on October 25, 2001 in his office. It didn't go too well. There in city hall Goodman opened the conversation with the statement, "I'm not doing Joey Cusumano any favors."

           Cusumano and Goodman
Cusumano is suspected of having hidden ownership in the Crazy Horse topless bar. He was also attorney Goodman's point man with the mob, bringing him clients, and arranging his social schedule. When the mayor made his "favors" statement to me, I was surprised since I had not brought up Mr. Cusumano's name.

From that statement until the end of our brief meeting, we discussed closing the topless bar based on its history of violence. However, the mayor seemed mainly interested in finding out what I knew about the club and its owners -- some who were his former clients and present clients of his law partner David Chesnoff. I sensed a hidden agenda, so I avoided answering most of his questions.
Shortly after the city hall meeting, Goodman sponsored ordinances to allow the club to expand, and employ teenage strippers. These actions confirmed my suspicions about him having a hidden agenda at our first meeting.

In the meantime, the club, which enjoys a privileged business license, employed a score of ex-felons along with Joey's brother Rocco, while its purported owner Rick Rizzolo was often seen in the company of "The Clown" -- offenses that would have cost any other Sin City liquor license holder its license.

At our second face to face meeting four years later, Goodman looked disheveled. His eyes were red and his clothes wrinkled. I guessed he had not slept the night before -- the same night Lombardo went on the lam.

Why was he in the street in front of my house I wondered? In a continuation of the conversation we had four years earlier, he told me that he was not going to take action against the bar's license. "I can't take action in the middle of a federal investigation," Goodman said. However, one year earlier, on March 4, 2004, the city council fined the Crazy Horse's closest competitor, Jack Galardi, one-million dollars in the middle of another high profile federal investigation.

Knowing Lombardo was on the lam, I wondered whether Goodman's stubborn
refusal to take official action to stop the violence at the Crazy Horse was the result of fear of retaliation from one or more of his murderous former clients? Or was he just paying them back for helping him start his lawyer career? Nonetheless, it seemed as though Lombardo, at 77 years old, had little to lose, and Goodman needed my help in some unexplained way.

This brought to mind a statement made by
mob informer Jimmy "The Weasel" Fratianno. He once said the Hole in the Wall Gang regularly used the conference room in Goodman's law office to plan their heists, and Lombardo was part of that crew along with the late Tony "The Ant" Spilotro. Could it be that Goodman knew in advance of his client's activities, and did nothing to stop them? 

          Goodman and Spilotro
Indeed, the timing of Goodman's visit to my home the morning after Lombardo's disappearance was suspicious. If this was the action of a poker player, I assure you he would never make it to the Championships. Or was it Goodman's way to try to schmooze me into laying off the subject?

The old saying goes, "You can't bullshit a bullshitter," and Goodman should know I hold a world championship in that department.

All Goodman accomplished during our two meetings was to pique my suspicions -- suspicions that he's still very close to and doing favors for Lombardo, and others who were convicted of bribing public officials, money laundering, fraud, and worse -- people he once described as "legitimate businessmen." His actions in the street in front of my house also made me feel that he knew the whereabouts of Joey "The Clown."    

When the mayor of a major American city goes out of his way to protect a bunch of thugs the way Goodman has time and again in the case of the mob's favorite playpen, reasonable people wonder about his loyalties. Even after the U.S. Department of Justice last year said the Crazy Horse "
constituted a racketeering enterprise," Goodman let the bar stay open.

Meanwhile, last week MGM Grand drew the attention of the Nevada Gaming Control Board for a
controversial business relationship they have with Rizzolo and his strip club. It seems that anywhere Rizzolo goes, law enforcement is close behind watching to make sure the mob never again gains a foothold in Sin City.

Rizzolo is known as a "whale" in Vegas casinos having a half million dollar line of credit in most. Based on his spectacular gambling losses, he somehow was able to stage an event promoting the strip club's calendar on MGM property.  Because of his shady reputation, the Control Board red flagged and MGM Grand may be told to sever the relationship or face disciplinary action.

Columnist Jeff Simpson in Sunday's Las Vegas SUN wrote: "Only two years ago the Control Board roasted license applicant Tim Poster for his friendship with Crazy Horse Too owner Rick Rizzolo, telling the future (and now former) Golden Nugget owner that Rizzolo was the subject of an FBI investigation and that the club employs several people with organized crime connections."

"'I'm very familiar with Mr. Rick Rizzolo,' Control Board member Bobby Siller said at Poster's January 2004 licensing hearing. Siller, a former FBI special agent in charge of the bureau's Las Vegas operations, told Poster why he thought Rizzolo had befriended him: 'People such as you, very successful, very young, are considered marks. People in organized crime try to set you up, get some of your funds. And I think that's what they were trying to do with you.'"

             The Crazy Horse Crew  (KVBC TV News)
When indictments are finally handed down, many of the current Crazy Horse crew stand to enrichen Goodman's law partner and lawyer sons by hiring them as their defense attorneys. Anticipating that the Feds have no intention of letting the crew walk, Chesnoff and the Goodman boys can't help but see dollar signs, especially knowing that the mayor will secretly be in the wings watching their every move at trial time, and offering his guidance.

No wonder he lets the place stay open! Chesnoff and the Goodman kids can retire on the legal fees!

To prove his skewed loyalties, especially to the fortunes of his former law firm, when the Crazy Horse crew in 2004 brought national shame upon his city, Goodman curtly stated, "I did not see that."

August 5, 2004

MICHAEL SQUIRES - LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: This week Dateline NBC had a program on the Crazy Horse Too...

MAYOR GOODMAN: I did not see that. 

(A videotape of DATELINE NBC was hand delivered to Goodman two days prior to the press conference.)

SQUIRES: Some of the allegations against the club that have been known for some time. Is there any appetite for a Show Cause Hearing...


SQUIRES: ...against the club, and why not?

GOODMAN: Ah, I've taken a position publicly, you know, that's no different than where I was before. I'm under the impression that there's a federal investigation that is underway or is taking place, and I'm not going to, ah, screw it up by having, ah, some kind of hearing in front of the City Council, ah, until somebody tells me that that is not the case.

SQUIRES: Given the facts that are known publicly that have been published, moving forward on that basis wouldn't screw up any...

GOODMAN: No one, no one's asked that other than "Captain Truth*," no one's ask me to ah, I, I haven't had a request from anybody to have an order to Show Cause. 

JON RALSTON - LAS VEGAS SUN: Steve Miller sends out seven e-mails a day...

GOODMAN: Yea, right...

RALSTON: Give credit...

GOODMAN: I know...but, I, ah...Steve Miller is, ah, he's afraid of me. I don't wanna, I don't wanna, I don't wanna scare him. Excuse me...

SQUIRES: Are you looking for some credible outside source to call for this, or...

GOODMAN: Well I would would, I would assume that, ah, we have a Business License Department that I don't agree with on many occasions, ah, and ah, if ah ah they felt there was a need, I hope they would come forward and bring an order to show... say "Mayor, we're gonna bring an order to Show Cause." If they do that I'm certainly not gonna, ah ah, squelch it, that's for sure.

(The Business License Department works at the pleasure of the mayor and council.)

*Steven "Captain Truth" Dempsey holds a law degree and appears twice monthly before the Las Vegas City Council to report crimes at the Crazy Horse and demand that the bar's license be revoked. His testimony has been consistently ignored for more than four years.

* If you would like to receive Steve's frequent E-Briefs about Las Vegas' scandals, click here: Steve Miller's Las Vegas E-Briefs

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