| Home | Books and Gifts | Photo Album | Mob Busters | Mafia Site Search |
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:

Judge cuts short Bart Rizzolo's lawyer's plea to clear his client's name,
Vegas brings out
the hypocrisy in the Clinton campaign,
Councilwoman Tarkanian's favors to Rizzolo,
Rick Rizzolo's current and future abodes

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miler
January 28, 2008

Judge cuts short Bart Rizzolo's lawyer's plea to clear his client's name

In what must have been one of the most embarrassing moments of his long career as a criminal defense attorney, Dominic Gentile (left) was repeatedly cut short last Thursday when he tried to convince Justice of the Peace Deborah Lippus that his client's reputation had been damaged by a six week long Restraining Order she issued.

His client was Bart Rizzolo, 77, a person who, through his corporation, pleaded guilty to racketeering for beating and robbing patrons at his family's now defunct topless bar. Based on this background, the judge showed little sympathy.
Rizzolo (right) attempted to run over Buffalo Jim Barrier and another man while they were standing in front of Barrier's business which shares the parking lot with the shuttered topless bar. The TRO was based on a complaint filed with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department on November 16, 2007. Based on that complaint and witness statements, attorney Robert Lueck, a former District Court Judge, on November 26 requested and received a Restraining Order against Rizzolo to protect Barrier.
For the next six weeks Rizzolo was not allowed to come within 100 feet of Barrier. Because Barrier's auto repair business is located next to Rizzolo's government seized Crazy Horse Too, Rizzolo was also prohibited from accompanying prospective buyers on tours of the property while Barrier was present in his business less than 100 feet away.

A source reported that C.B. Richard Ellis Realty Company, the firm contracted by the United States Department of Justice to sell the topless bar and property for top dollar, regularly invited the elder Rizzolo along on tours to brag how his family made up to $54 million per year running the business. However, my source said that Rizzolo skipped telling buyers about the extortion methods he used to generate such profits from unknowing tourists -- the same methods made his son and 14 Crazy Horse employees convicted felons.

Being prohibited from coming on the property while Barrier is present was probably Bart's biggest problem because the Rizzolo's are doing everything in their power to assist in the sale of the topless bar for at least $28 million -- enough to cover all their court ordered debts. If the joint sells for less, then assets Bart's son
Rick Rizzolo illegally hid could be seized and liquidated to pay the difference.
The day began when Judge Lippus sentenced a young women convicted of battery to six weeks of anger control counseling. Then the judge turned her attention to the second case on her docket; Mr. Gentile and his client who wanted to explain why he shouldn't be subjected to a Restraining Order.
Gentile opened by telling the judge that the gravity of the case made it unusual. The judge disagreed about it being unusual and cited the law that empowered her to issue the Order to prevent "criminal conduct."
Gentile again attempted to tell the judge that his client is a man of honor, but the judge cut him short saying she would lift the Restraining Order only if the "criminal conduct" ceased.
Judge Lippus then asked Barrier, "Has Mr. Rizzolo repeated any acts of criminal conduct toward you since the Restraining Order was put in effect?"
Barrier answered that he had not seen Rizzolo since the attempted hit and run. 
She then advised Barrier that if such "criminal conduct resumes," he can file a new Restraining Order.
Robert Lueck argued that Rizzolo still poses a threat to his client because Barrier has been harassed by Bart for over twenty years, and Barrier was very helpful to the federal authorities who prosecuted the Rizzolos, therefore he said Bart may again attempt to extract revenge.
Judge Lippus repeated that if "criminal conduct resumes," you can file a new Restraining Order."
Gentile tried to argue that no "criminal conduct" ever occurred, and took exception to such words being used about his client. But the judge interrupted saying she has a very busy schedule and needs to move on to other cases.
She also stated that Barrier's request "met the legal threshold," and that the Defendant or his attorneys did not attend nor protest at the original hearing in November 2007; a subsequent hearing in December; and are only now coming forth to say there was an error in issuing the Order. 
Judge Lippus repeatedly cut Mr. Gentile short when he tried to embellish his client's "reputation." She stated, "The whole community knows what happened."

This totally frustrated Gentile and Rizzolo who in previous years would have had the satisfaction of seeing their enemy fined or jailed for contempt of court for daring to bring a charge against a member of the Rizzolo clan.

For many years, all cases involving the Rizzolo's were mysteriously scheduled in the court of former District Judge Nancy M. Saitta. All these cases were decided in the Rizzolo's favor. In one case Saitta even sanctioned Barrier $4,500 for "wasting Mr. Rizzolo's attorney's time." 

Since the Rizzolo's convictions, Judge Saitta has been elected to the Nevada Supreme Court and is in trouble, and no other judge has taken up the family's cause.

Prior to Thursday's hearing, Gentile authored a January 8, 2008 letter to Barrier threatening litigation if he didn't stop talking to the press about the Restraining Order and "the effect your conduct will have on his (Bart's) reputation."
Barrier was unfazed by the letter and asked the court to extend the Order. Every move he made was covered by the local media because it involved a member of the infamous Rizzolo family.

Gentile said his client had been falsely accused and that Barrier had "perjured" himself. The Judge cut him off a third and final time. 
Dominic Gentile is best known for defending some of our state's highest profile criminals, but his presence in Justice Court was completely out of place. He's accustomed to being in much higher courts defending high profile criminal clients such as disgraced ex-Clark County Commissioner Lance Malone. For this he's known to charge hundreds of thousands of dollars, and no doubt Rizzolo also paid dearly for his services in Justice Court. 

But last Thursday, Mr. Gentile stood with attorneys defending purse snatchers, crack dealers, and spouse beaters -- and he wasn't working pro bono.
Bart should have known that former Clark County Commissioner Lance Malone, even with Gentile's best efforts, was sentenced to six years in federal prison for taking bribes from a competitor of Rizzolo. However, Malone's co-conspirators on the commission received sentences of only 30 and 50 months respectively after they turned government witnesses. But based on Gentile's advice, Malone refused to cooperate with the Feds and received a much longer sentence than his peers, something I'm certain Malone now regrets.

In Bart's case, his lawyer would have been a better friend to just advise him to hold his temper and stay away from Barrier. Instead, Bart didn't fare much better than Malone in court, and is probably also regretting his choice of attorneys.

Based on the interest generated by Gentile's threat letter to Barrier and the news coverage it received, Bart's now best known as a thug who tried to use his vehicle to run over a man who cooperated with the government to shut down a criminal enterprise. Not the falsely maligned, patient, elderly gentleman Mr. Gentile tried to convey in his letter, and to the court.

According to Las Vegas City Attorney Brad Jerbic, "35 to 40 beatings had occurred at the Crazy Horse Too in three years." During this period, Bart Rizzolo was a member of the club's management team.
It's easy to understand why a legitimate judge would have little sympathy for someone who was behind dozens of well publicized beatings and robberies.

Like father like son... Bart Rizzolo's son Rick is currently serving a one year and one day sentence in federal prison for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States. Bart was spared serving time because of his age and the family's agreement to sever themselves from the adult entertainment business for the rest of their lives.
Based on his conviction, on April 19, 2007, the Las Vegas City Council ruled: "People related by blood or marriage or former marriage to (Rick) Rizzolo or any of the 14 other former Crazy Horse workers who pleaded guilty to federal felony charges are banned from the property."
On August 29, 2007, the United States Government seized the Crazy Horse property and locked Bart out of the building.
Barrier questioned why Rizzolo was on the property at the time of the attempted vehicular assault?
"He had no business being there on November 16. It looked like he was waiting for me to come out of my shop so he could get me. A week before, he parked in back of my office and yelled 'Jimmy, Jimmy" trying to get me to come outside. When I told my mechanic to tell him to come inside, he drove away. Based on his corporation's plea of guilty to racketeering that included condoning when his goons beat and crippled people who refused to sign inflated credit card tabs, I was not surprised when Bart tried to run me down. He has a reputation for being around violence." said Barrier.
Since being locked out, Bart has continued to be observed on the property which inspired Barrier to report him as a trespasser to Federal Marshals. On the day of the alleged hit and run attempt, Barrier said he was not aware Bart was on the property until he narrowly missed being run over by his black Range Rover.
Following the Justice Court hearing, Barrier said, "After 20 years of being harassed by Bart, I don't think it will stop. If the criminal conduct happens again, I'll just have to file another Restraining Order. Bart should have been the person Judge Lippus sentenced to six weeks of anger control counseling."
Hypocrisy in the Clinton campaign
Hillary Clinton touts her "35 years of experience in government," so 1984 newspaper quotes regarding her position against gambling are relevant.
Hillary is currently in favor of the expansion of casinos throughout the US. On her "Hillary for President" website, she is proud to have casino-expansion-outside-Nevada promoter Jan Jones on her team.
On the website, Jones proclaims, "As president, Hillary will value innovation, bringing new industries and ideas to the forefront of the national agenda."
Of course the "new industries and ideas" Jones is talking about consist of more casinos being plopped down on the Main Streets of working class communities outside Nevada. She skipped any mention of the associated negative social costs, and parasite enterprises that cluster near casinos including pay day loan stores and massage parlor brothels.
But according to the following unpublished letter from UNLV Professor William Thompson, Hillary once thought much differently of gambling. 
Professor Thompson on January 12, submitted the following Letter to the Editor to the Review-Journal, but editors chose not to share it with readers.

January 12, 2008
The Hillary Clinton team (Rory Reid-Jan Jones) suggests that the senator from New York (et .al.) is better suited to be president than Senator Obama. Why?  Because her team says SHE supports casino gambling.  
As her campaign mantra is "Experience," we might ask if her "Experience" has always found her supporting casinos. Not always.  
She did not support casinos when she was an active part of Bill Clinton's gubernatorial administration in Arkansas. There she was a primary leader in the campaign against casinos.
On October 13, 1984, speaking to a rally on the capitol steps in Little Rock she called casinos a "short term quick fix solution" that would result in "damaging prospects." She added, "We are on the move in Arkansas. Why on earth would we want to give ourselves a burden we can't carry and an image we don't want?" (Quotation from Arkansas Democrat, October 14, 1984).
Now maybe she has done a flip flop, or just maybe "Experience" counts.  

William N. Thompson  
Note:  I used the above quotation in my book:
John Dombrink and William N. Thompson. 1990. The Last Resort: Success and Failure in Campaigns for Casinos.  Reno: University of Nevada Press, p. 149. 

Rick Rizzolo's current and future abodes

I'm informed that convicted racketeer
Rick Rizzolo will gain an early release in March. Following his release he's expected to reside in a half way house for a period of six weeks. Then he is to begin his supervised release which will be in effect until 2012.

Upon the completion of his community custody program, Rizzolo is expected to move in to a 6,486 square foot, 5 bedroom mansion with pool and spa owned by Cliff Diamond in the posh Henderson community of Roma Hills. Diamond's mother, Renee Diamond, is a local Democratic party activist who served one term in the Nevada Assembly. It has not yet been confirmed whether Mrs. Diamond approves of her son's choice of room mate.

April 2007 - March 2008

Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC)
535 N Alameda Street, Los Angeles, California

"The Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) is an administrative facility for male and female inmates located in downtown Los Angeles, off the Hollywood Freeway (Highway 101) on the corner of Alameda and Aliso Streets."                         

March 2008 - April 2008

Las Vegas Community Corrections Center
2901 Industrial Road, Las Vegas, Nevada

"The Las Vegas Community Corrections Center (located four blocks south of the shuttered Crazy Horse Too on Industrial Road) provides transitional services in a supervised environment in order to assist offenders in becoming employed, law-abiding citizens in their respective communities. All offenders are subject to a structured environment. A level system exists in order to progressively increase an offender’s community interaction. Assignments to the 124-bed center are made through a contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Security measures include 24-hour custodial supervision, closed circuit cameras and frequent census checks."             

April 2008 and beyond

Roma Hills - Henderson, Nevada

"Alluringly tucked away amidst majestic Black Mountain is a charming, intimate escape of privacy and relaxation.  An awe-inspiring, peaceful community of only one hundred and forty-four custom homes, Roma Hills enjoys the warmth and security of a guard gated, master-planned community.  Encompassed by sheer beauty and tranquility, the harshness of the city disappears as you enter the amazing enclave that is Roma Hills.  Enjoy an intimate and peaceful setting with intoxicating views and stunning scenery."

Councilwoman Tarkanian's favors to Rizzolo
The cities of Newport and Laguna Beach, California are infested with Vegas expatriates who are cronies of disgraced Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona. They include Rick Rizzolo, Fred Glusman, and Gary Primm (pictured with Carona in these Orange County Weekly photos).

The INSIDE VEGAS column of November 12, 2007 tells about the wife of former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, another Newport Beach vacation home owner and Rizzolo pal, who recently did the incarcerated topless bar owner two huge favors.
Jerry attended Rizzolo's Going to Prison Party at Glusman's Ritz restaurant in Newport several weeks after his wife LV Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian voted to issue a liquor license to a Rizzolo straw man in order to keep the blood soaked Crazy Horse Too's liquor license and non-conforming zoning active until after Rizzolo is released from prison.

But as soon as the straw man took over, he invited Rizzolo's entire family back on to the property to help him run the place. Jim Barrier photographed them coming and going from the building, then gave me a call. I informed the city council. Without the family's help, the business soon failed, and the council revoked the guy's liquor license
on July 30, 2007, shutting it down. With no buyer in sight (there still isn't) December rolled around and the hours started ticking away until the adult zoning was to permanently expire and revert the use back to warehouse only, thereby ending ths protracted -- sordid story.
The Crazy Horse Too's zoning should have quietly expired on December 30, 2007 rendering the place forever unusable as a topless bar. But Councilwoman Tarkanian for some unknown reason sprung into action and sponsored a custom designed ordinance to allow liquor serving businesses in non-conforming zones twelve months to reopen if they are closed down. The previous law mandated that bars would permanently lose their non-conforming zoning if they were dark for more than six months, but now the Crazy Horse has until June 30, 2008 to reopen thanks to the Tarkanians. Her law affected only the Crazy Horse Too though she claims it was to help a bar-b-que chicken restrauant on West Charleston that's in conformance with zoning laws.
Now I've been told that Councilwoman Tarkanian is very concerned that no one in Orange County find out about her favors. She told one of my best sources, "Please ask Steve not to publish this in Newport Beach. That's where all Jerry's friends live." Why is she so concerned about the fate of a mobbed-up topless bar? Her husband can best answer that question.
When asked why she changed the law, she said it was requested by LV developer Ernest Becker, another Newport Beach home owner. Several weeks later, she told another INSIDE VEGAS source that she did it at the request of "the federal government."
Orange County, specifically Laguna and Newport Beach, is becoming known as Clark County's new "Government Center" where many of the important decisions that affect our day to lives take place.
Recently when MGM boss Terry Lanni called a Las Vegas press conference to discourage Nevada voters from voting for the ballot initiative to raise the gross gaming tax 3% to pay for education, he flew into town on his corporate jet for the conference.
During his short stay, he told us it would be better if small business paid for education instead of casinos. He didn't mention that Nevada education is a low priority because construction workers, bus boys, maids, dealers, porters, and car parkers don't need a high school diploma or college degree to make a good living here.
Local media swooned over his brilliance and joined in to encourage average taxpayers to bare the monetary burden for educating the kids of thousands of illegal aliens MGM and its competitors lured here to work for minimum wage -- or less. Many taking jobs from those who are legally in the United States and have been displaced by those who will work for less thereby increasing the public's burden to pay for unemployment compensation, emergency room bills, and provide jail space.
When the applause subsided, Terry flew back to the beach in time for dinner with his Vegas pals.

During last week's Democratic caucus, Laguna Beach homeowner Jan Jones flew into town to shadow Hillary Clinton and whisper the casino industry's mantra in her ear.
Do we really need California elitists flying in to tell us how to run our city, county, state, and nation?
Now these same folks are schmoozing Senator Hillary Clinton and her handlers.
Casino owners need all the help they can get from the federal government so they can build casinos in other states to compete with Nevada. Ex-Mayor Jan Jones is their Laguna Beach cheer leader.
Keep your eye on Orange County and our state's -- and possibly our nation's -- phantom government lurking there just out of view.

Copyright © Steve Miller

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

Copyright © Steve Miller

email Steve Miller at:
div. of PLR International

Copyright © 1998 - 2008 PLR International