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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:

The plot thickens
Rizzolo's sentencing delayed one week.
Council grants 90 day extension
in face of multiple violations.
What in Hell is going on?

"Was supposed Crazy Horse Too owner Michael Signorelli serious when he claimed at this week's City Council meeting that he would stop paying $70 per customer to the cabbies? Let's recap: Signorelli's not paying his rent to ousted boss Rick Rizzolo, who isn't paying his debt to paralyzed customer Kirk Henry, who must be having trouble paying the rent on his house these days. Is anyone paying attention?" - John L. Smith, LV Review-Journal, 01/19/07

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
January 22, 2007

LAS VEGAS - Since 1999, I've been completely accurate on this important subject though I feel like a voice in the wilderness.

Several East Coast and Mid West mob families are fighting to remain in control of the Vegas strip club rackets, and some of them have a very powerful ally.

For months I've suspected that former mob attorney-cum Mayor Oscar Goodman has been working behind the scenes to facilitate the re-opening and continued operation of his former and present mob client's topless bar, the Crazy Horse Too.

Before the City Council shut the place down last summer, I correctly anticipated Goodman would change hats from Mayor back to mob lawyer and covertly step in to help the criminals who made him rich. I even went so far as to file a complaint with the state Ethics Commission to stop Goodman from participating in future discussions and votes to re-open the place after its' owner and former Goodman law client Rick Rizzolo and 16 of his thugs were convicted of racketeering and tax evasion. But that didn't stop the Mayor's
efforts behind the scenes to re-open the mobbed up topless bar.  Meanwhile, he's running unopposed for his third term, and the local media is sadly downplaying the importance of this story, possibly because Rizzolo is a degenerate gambler who blows millions each year on the Strip, and Goodman is expected to spend over a million dollars in political ad buys for his uncontested campaign.

     AmericanMafia photos by Mike Christ
First it was Goodman's lackey Jim DiFiore, the city's Director of Business Activity, who twice appeared at Council meetings with suspected front man Mike Signorelli. DiFiore recommended Signorelli be granted a temporary liquor license to re-open the club prior to receiving the go ahead from the LV Metro Police Department - something totally unprecedented.

Metro usually takes up to six months to complete a comprehensive background investigation of any liquor license applicant, especially someone who wants to re-open a bar that was shut down for extorting and beating its' customers. But DiFiore (on Goodman's orders?) couldn't wait for an investigation, and assured the Council it would be OK to grant a thirty-day temporary license on his word there were no areas of concern with the background of Mr. Signorelli who was described as a successful gaming entrepreneur who was also bidding to buy the Riviera Hotel.

Seeming overly impressed, the Council asked no questions and dutifully granted the temporary license, and
the bar that City Attorney Brad Jerbic described as a "public nuisance," and the U.S. Department of justice called a "threat to the community" was re-licensed against the wishes of Federal officials. Because of this, a giant can of worms was opened that the City Council can no longer close.  And re-closing the Crazy Horse was made that much more difficult.

It was soon discovered that Signorelli was a bankruptcy artist who twice in 15 years filed for protection from his debtors. Though he has no police record, his financial background is very questionable. Signorelli in 2000 was involved in a class action lawsuit based on allegations he stole health insurance premiums from his employees at one of his bankrupt businesses; a casino in Mesquite that shut down one year after opening.

Then it was disclosed his bid to buy the Riviera was turned down because he could not produce a financial statement. This, after the City Council believed his line that he had the $45 million to buy the Crazy Horse, and in the meantime would pay Rizzolo $400,000 per month -- $14,000 per day

In spite of this, no red flags were raised by the City Council or Federal Court.

U.S. Federal Court Chief Judge Philip M. Pro last June ordered the Crazy Horse be sold by June 2007, but warned against selling it to any La Cosa Nostra interest.

At least one qualified buyer offered to buy the business and real estate, but Rizzolo killed the deal in favor of Signorelli. The Federal Court has yet to comment on Rizzolo's choice of buyer, but the Court must approve the sale by this June, or place the business and real estate in receivership.

At an abbreviated hearing last Tuesday, Judge Pro rescheduled Rizzolo's sentencing on his conviction for
racketeering and tax evasion to this Tuesday at 9 AM. He did this after accepting a motion in limine to reconsider his previous decision based on a newly submitted declaration and memorandum. It's not yet known what's contained in the declaration and memorandum.

After being allowed to reopen the Crazy Horse last October, Signorelli, against the City Council's orders, continued employing three of Rizzolo's immediate family members as his manager, assistant manager, and book keeper. After I informed the Council of the relatives still working there, a special hearing was called. At the November hearing, Signorelli tried to explain he was too busy to check the last names of his key employees.

The Council groveled and let him stay open, but only after a harsh admonishment from Councilman Steve Ross and Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese. You'd think he'd get the hint, but Signorelli was soon having to defend himself again.

Ninety days have elapsed since the bar re-opened, and last Wednesday Signorelli was back before the Council to ask for another 90 day extension of his temporary liquor license.  That's when it looked like the Council members might get the balls to shut him down.

To bolster my suspicion that Goodman was pulling the strings from his office on the tenth floor of City Hall, and from his law firm on Fourth Street, Jim DiFiore was conspicuous by his absence at Wednesday's hearing after I wrote about him in INSIDE VEGAS. But that didn't stop the covert help from pouring in, possibly all the way from Washington, D.C.

At the January 17 Council meeting, Signorelli/Rizzolo rolled out a much bigger gun than DiFiore
in the form of Mayor Oscar Goodman's business and law partner Jay Brown -- Mike Signorelli's new attorney. 

(Since Signorelli took over the club, business has fallen to a trickle, and it's highly questionable that he's personally paying for Brown's services. )

Besides being the Mayor's crony; a noted political campaign fund raiser; and Democratic Whip, U.S. Senator Harry Reid's business partner, Jay Brown has another giant conflict of interest in representing the Crazy Horse.

Brown, whose name has surfaced over the years in organized-crime investigations
, last month consulted for ninety minutes with Florida night club mogul Athanasios Karaholios and his attorney. Prior to Signorelli entering the picture, Karaholios, 32, had made a higher bid on the Crazy Horse, but was turned down when
he reportedly refused to include Rizzolo as a silent partner.

                                     Review Journal photo by Clint Karlson
After spending thousands of dollars on an appraisal, environmental report, travel, and other related expenses, Karaholios, better known as Tommy Karas, sued Signorelli and Rizzolo for racketeering and fraud.

After hearing the ultimatum that Rizzolo must remain as a secret partner in the deal, and not knowing the local landscape or political players,
Karaholios and his California attorney made a beeline to the Goodman Law Group on Fourth Street thinking they might find a reputable local attorney. There they met with Jay Brown who reportedly did not reveal that he and Goodman were once the corporate Resident Agents for Rizzolo's "THE POWER COMPANY, INC."

During their consultation,
Karaholios revealed to Brown all his evidence and strategy related to a then-proposed Federal lawsuit against Signorelli and Rizzolo. After seeing this confidential information, Brown reportedly offered to represent Karaholios for a retainer of $30,000. Karaholios declined Brown's offer, hired different counsel, and went on to sue Signorelli and Rizzolo.

However, now armed with
Karaholios' privileged information and strategies, Brown signed on as Signorelli's attorney! This is an obvious violation of the Nevada State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct.

Prior to last Wednesday's Council meeting, upon my suggestion, Signorelli was asked to produce canceled  checks with bank stamps showing dates of deposit to prove he was paying $400,000 per month rent. He could not do so.

He was also asked to provide proof he placed a $300,000 deposit in escrow, and to prove he personally financed the expenses for re-opening the business including purchase of liquor, and a cash reserve. He also could not do so, but under pressure admitted that Rizzolo fronted him the money!

The conditions he admitted to not complying with are clearly spelled out in a CONFIDENTIAL Purchase Agreement obtained by INSIDE VEGAS, which I shared with all Council members before last Wednesday's hearing.

Knowing the Council and local media now have copies of his previously CONFIDENTIAL document,  Signorelli and his new attorney had no choice but to tell the truth. He was not paying rent, and Rizzolo fronted him the start up money!

But that's not all that should have triggered a red flag. It was also disclosed that Signorelli was violating city and county laws that prohibit businesses from bribing taxi and limo drivers for convincing customers to come to their place of business.

Click here to see Signorelli and Brown nervously tell the Council that things were not as they were supposed to be. Click on "Jump to," and go to Item # 51.

After Signorelli admitted he could not afford to pay rent because he was being extorted out of hundreds of thousand of dollars each week by unscrupulous taxi and limo drivers, I expected one of the Council members to ask if this illegally paid money should instead be going to beating victim Kirk Henry whose neck was broken in 2001 by a Crazy Horse manager, and has since been awarded $10 million dollars by the Federal Court, and hasn't received a dime!
(L. to R.) Beating victim Kirk Henry being transported to hospital after his neck was broken by a Crazy Horse manager. Henry on life support in Sunrise Hospital. Kirk Henry's 12-year-old son, Jared, checks his father's blood pressure after Henry felt light-headed. Since his neck was broken, problems with low blood pressure have repeatedly threatened Henry's life.          
Photo: Buffalo Jim Barrier, Dateline NBC                   KVBC TV                             Las Vegas  REVIEW-JOURNAL

But the question was never asked because Henry's attorney Donald Campbell was nowhere to be found to make the obvious inquiry, and Henry's beating has been used by Signorelli/Rizzolo's attorneys to elicit sympathy to convince the City Council and Federal Court to let the place stay open long enough to be sold to generate the $10 million needed to pay Henry's life-long medical bills and other neglected expenses such as his mortgage.

However, it's now obvious Rizzolo has no intention of paying his legal obligations, especially to Henry.

Not one cent has been paid to Henry, nor have the legal fees been paid to Campbell and his partner Stan Hunterton for the excellent work they did to expose Rizzolo and his criminal enterprise. This begs the question:
where is attorney Donald Campbell when Kirk Henry needs him?

Former Federal Prosecutor-now private attorney Donald Campbell could blow this wide open if he wanted to. But where is he?
While Henry's health continues to deteriorate, and his family is impoverished by Rizzolo's legal stonewalling, Rick Rizzolo last Tuesday left the courthouse with a smile on his face.

After all this, the question remains as to why Judge Pro doesn't liquidate the personal assets Rizzolo fraudulently transferred to his ex-wife Lisa in a bogus divorce on the eve of his indictment.

Meanwhile, the City Council dug themselves into a hole by believing Jim DiFiore's recommendation that Signorelli be granted a temporary liquor license. Now the Council is forced to give the police 90 days to finish their investigation of someone who is obviously a straw man for Rizzolo et .al.  In the meantime, the place is probably being skimmed to death.

And they said the mob left Vegas years ago...

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