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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:

I get nervous when it's so quiet in Vegas
The calm before the storm...

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
November 9, 2009

On Monday, November 9, attorneys for convicted racketeer Rick Rizzolo and his ex-wife Lisa will ask U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley to disqualify the long-time attorneys representing unpaid beating victim Kirk Henry. They claim to be doing so for several reasons including Campbell and Hunterton's alleged leaking of a purportedly sealed deposition to a secret contact in a local newspaper.

Unfortunately, the Rizzolo's attorneys have it completely wrong in regard to how the Las Vegas Review-Journal got hold of the deposition. It wasn't "slipped" to them by some conspiring attorney, it was always a public document.

I discovered the deposition moments after it was posted on the federal court's Restricted Web Site on Friday, June 5, 2009, and the next morning I sent it to the local media including the RJ.

Henry's attorneys were not responsible for the deposition's publication. It was available to reporters for eight cents per page on, just no one else in the local media had taken the time to look for it.  (I check the PACER website three times per day for new court documents in this and other cases I'm following.)

The Rizzolos contend that former United States Prosecutors Stan Hunterton and Don Campbell and the RJ are in cahoots.

The Rizzolos contend that  the two lawyers who are now in private practice have conflicts of interests in representing Henry because Campbell once represented the Review-Journal, the state's largest daily newspaper; the same paper that printed Lisa Rizzolo's "confidential" financial information -- information she provided in her deposition that was posted on a government website.

Supposedly because Campbell knows reporters at the RJ (I have no direct contact with Campbell) the Rissole financial were "leaked" to the paper, specifically to columnist John L. Smith, and for that the two lawyers must go, and Henry must find another lawyer or lawyers willing to work their ass off for the promise of a distant pay day. If Judge Foley agrees with the Rizzolos on Monday, Kirk Henry's case is all but over.

But only my personal subscribers know that on Saturday June 6, at 7:33 AM, the following Steve Miller Insider E-Brief was sent to10,000 recipients including every reporter in the state of Nevada. Attached to the missive was Lisa Rizzolo's entire deposition wherein she reveals the location of her and her husband's hidden assets; the Cook Islands, and the crooked lawyers who put the fortune there so it could not be attached by the IRS and Mr. Henry.
To: undisclosed-recipients 
Subject: Should Lisa Rizzolo be prosecuted for hiding assets?
Date: Jun 6, 2009 7:33 AM
Attachments: LisaRizzoloDeposition1,pdf;   LisaRizzoloDeposition2,pdf, KirkHenrysRenewedMotionToCompel.pdf 
Will Rick Rizzolo let his ex- wife take the rap for 
hiding his ill-gained fortune from creditors?
On Friday, INSIDE VEGAS obtained a copy of Lisa Rizzolo's May 12, deposition. Lisa is the ex-wife of convicted racketeer Rick Rizzolo who is attempting to welch on his agreement to pay a quadriplegic $9 million dollars after he was severely beaten by a manager in front of the couple's now-defunct Crazy Horse Too topless bar.
Lisa's deposition is part of the discovery process being conducted by attorneys for beating victim Kirk Henry who was promised $9 million by Rick in exchange for a light prison sentence. To date, the Rizzolos have not paid Henry one cent, so efforts are underway to locate the whereabouts of the Rizzolo's hidden assets.
Henry's attorneys have been thwarted in their attempts to obtain subpoenaed financial documents from the Rizzolo's criminal defense and divorce attorneys Dean Patti and Tony Sgro. Upon receipt of their subpoena, Patti and Sgro suddenly informed the federal court that the documents were destroyed in a "flood" at their law office, and can no longer be produced.
Henry's attorneys have also subpoenaed gambling records from the MGM, Hard Rock, Mirage, and Palms casinos where Rick Rizzolo is known as a "whale," ia, someone with a million dollar line of credit. 

Lisa's deposition (full document attached to this email) includes information about secret loans to Rick made from her accounts in the Cook Islands. 
It will now be up to U.S. Federal Judge Phillip Pro to decide whether Lisa is obstructing justice for conspiring to hide her assets, or to sanction her family's attorneys Patti and Sgro for contempt of court for conjuring up a phony "flood" to prevent them from complying with a court order..
Nonetheless, it's obvious that Rick Rizzolo is cowardly hiding his ill-gotten fortune under his ex-wife's skirt tails. - SM

The following day, this column appeared in the Review-Journal:
Jun. 07, 2009 
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal 
Deposition of Rizzolo's wife generates more questions than answers

And on Monday, June 8, this INSIDE VEGAS column appeared on "Hiding behind his ex-wife's skirt tails, Rick Rizzolo avoids paying his financial obligations,  but will Lisa Rizzolo get stuck paying for his actions?" which also included Lisa's supposed "confidential" financial information. So it amazes me that her attorneys have singled out the RJ when the information was so readily available to the public without any kind of help from Henry's legal team.

Furthermore, doesn't the public have the right to know where the couple hid their assets? It's true that Rick and Lisa owe the IRS over $7 million in unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest, and they also owe the City of Las Vegas $2.3 million in fines. That's public money!

Following my E-Brief, then Smith's column, Lisa in a supplement to her Motion to disqualify Campbell and Hunterton, on September 1, 2009, said the disclosure of her financial information invaded her "right to privacy," caused her "annoyance," "humiliation," "embarrassment," and "feelings of oppression," and the disclosure also exposed her to problems within her family because her relatives were not supposed to know the information, and that caused her mental distress. For this, she contends that attorneys who have loyally worked for Henry on contingency for over eight years should be disqualified for "leaking" information as to where she hid her ill-gotten assets.

But it wasn't Campbell and Hunterton's fault the information got out. It was the fault of Lisa's own incompetent attorneys at Patti & Sgro who failed to make sure the court agreed to seal their client's deposition. Had they done their job, I would never have been able to access the deposition on the Internet.

It's so obvious that this Monday's hearing and the lengthy court filings leading up to it,  are the latest in a long series of ploys to stall the eventual resolution of this protracted case. It's also very obvious that today's hearing is a sham, and a waste of taxpayer's money.

Kirk Henry's neck was broken by one of the Rizzolo's goons over a disputed $88 bar tab back in 2001, and he has yet to receive one penny of the Rizzolo's hidden fortune. The Crazy Horse Too manager who beat him up has since been released from prison, the Crazy Horse Too was closed by the city after dozens of other beatings and robberies, and the property seized by the feds. But miraculously, the Rizzolos are still in total control of their money!

The couple also owes the IRS, but the always aggressive agency seems not to be that interested in collecting the court ordered $7 million if it involves assets now stashed in the Cook Islands. (Could you imagine the IRS letting you or me off the hook so easily?)

This could be because the Rizzolos used the brother of a federal court judge as their asset protection lawyer, and that lawyer's brother was appointed judge for life by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who is the business partner of Rizzolo's former attorney and corporate agent Jay Brown. Reid also has two sons employed at Lionel Sawyer & Collins, the same law firm where the asset protection lawyer works and the firm that hid the Rizzolo's assets off shore.

If the above information became known, it could expose the Senator to embarrassment the year before his re-election, hence my theory that the IRS and other federal authorities are handling this case with kid gloves, and that this case has been purposefully moribund by the inaction of the federal government.

So with such friends in high places, Rick and Lisa go about their business obviously believing they've pulled off the crime of the century, while their fortune draws interest in off shore banks.

In the meantime, Rick and Lisa's delinquent 26 year old son Dominic, with the help of a juiced local judge (Jackie Glass), got away with trying to murder a man during a botched 2006 extortion attempt. His parents even got their judge to cancel Dominic's community service requirement which was a part of his probation-only sentence!

The last two weeks have been the quietest time in the history of the Henry vs. Rizzolo case. But a lot may be happening behind the scenes that we're not supposed to know about.

There's been no news coverage of the fact that the Crazy Horse's mortgage was bought last summer at an FDIC auction by a group controlled by one of Rizzolo's enemies, San Francisco office building developer Luke Brugnara, and that Brugnara says he plans on foreclosing before the end of the year.

Even with Brugnara's foreclosure looming, a suspicious buyer has surfaced who is reportedly offering to pay $9 million for the shuttered topless bar if he can get a quick liquor license from Jay Brown's business and law partner LV Mayor Oscar Goodman. (Goodman was also one of Rizzolo's former lawyers and his coperate agent.) The suspicious buyer is coincidently from Chicago, a town where Rizzolo has many ties within organized crime circles, and the feds -- instead of raising a red flag -- are so anxious to sell the joint and end an embarrassing episode in the governent's history that they don't seem to care, or be seriously interested in properly vetting the guy.

Who, other than the mob, would offer to pay three times what the place is worth according to the real estate company assigned by the court to market the carcass of the once-popular night club?

The families who controlled the Rizzolos when they were in the adult business want the Crazy Horse Too back in business in order to save face, say my sources, and these families would do almost anything including paying off every local politician, parole officer, lower court judge, and federal official in sight to succeed.

In the meantime, we wait to find out if the federal judge will order Rick's parole officer Eric Christiansen to disclose the financial information he was required to gather but is refusing to divulge, and whether Rick and Lisa will be forced by Judge Foley to pay Kirk Henry's legal bills generated after Rick tried to become his own lawyer and filed fifteen frivolous documents with the court that all had to be answered.

While this is happening, one of my best confidential mob sources just outted himself and voluntarily left Witness Protection. I may soon be given the go ahead to identify him and write about the amazingly accurate information he provided INSIDE VEGAS for over eight years regarding the Crazy Horse, Rizzolo, and his crew.

Hopefully, this is just the calm before the storm.

* 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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