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: http://www.SteveMiller4LasVegas.com
Rizzolo ducks deposition to avoid
questions about straw man while
tons of documents get shredded
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
April 16, 2007
LAS VEGAS - Crazy Horse Too owner Rick
Rizzolo is destroying tons of records before he leaves for prison.
also refusing to be deposed in a five year old civil law suit. What
does he still have to hide after being investigated by the Feds for
over ten years and eventually convicted of tax evasion and
With the Federal case closed, it's not a crime to shred, but it sure
looks like he doesn't want anyone to find anything while he's away. Also, if I were a no-show at a deposition over
and over again, I'd be put in contempt of court. But the court doesn't
seem to care. He still may get special treatment in Clark County
District Court after ducking out on
five depositions in four years!
On the morning of April 3, Rizzolo's neighbor Buffalo Jim
Barrier arrived at
his auto repair business to find two Shred Pro trucks parked next to
Rizzolo's warehouse located across the alley from the Crazy Horse Too
topless bar. Barrier grabbed his Nikon and began snapping
pictures as he's often done when he sees activity that might be of
interest to Federal law enforcement officials.
A half dozen Crazy Horse employees worked throughout the morning
carrying large file boxes full of unknown documents to the trucks that
quickly ground the contents into confetti. Based on each truck's four
ton capacity, it appears that Mr. Rizzolo shredded over 20 years worth
of records dating back to the club's opening.
If the contents of those hundreds of boxes
were not of a highly secret nature, they would have merely ended up in
dumpsters. But instead, Rizzolo spent over a thousand dollars with Shed
Pro to make sure the contents would never again be seen by human eyes,
especially those of Federal agents.
convicted of tax evasion and also of racketeering which
beating up patrons who refused to sign inflated credit card tabs. Could
those boxes possibly contain a few incriminating credit card statements
that the Feds somehow missed? Maybe enough additional incriminating
evidence to send Rizzolo away for a lot longer than just a year?
the boxes did contain thousands of pages of unseen incriminating
evidence after the Department of Justice closed its' case, does this
reveal a sinister reason why U.S.
Attorney Daniel Bogden, who led the prosecution, was fired a few
weeks after Rizzolo and several of his mob associates were convicted?
Maybe Bogden knew there was much more evidence hiding under the tip of
the iceberg, but the Department of Justice wanted him to back off. His
sudden departure begs the question: Are there political forces in D.C.
who would rather have seen Rizzolo and several of his LCN partners let
A Federal agent who will remain unnamed said he worked for over five
years on "Operation Crazy Horse." He told me he was sickened by the
light sentences handed Rizzolo and his associates Vinny Faraci and
Rocco Lombardo. He said he felt someone "got to" the Department of
Justice to ask them to "go easy." He also stated there were many more
who escaped prosecution in the Federal probe; some who hold elected
positions in local and federal government; and several in local law
Rizzolo is known as a "Whale"
along the Strip, and big casinos will do almost anything not to lose
their million dollar degenerate gamblers. They (the casinos) are also
big time political campaign contributors and fundraisers during
national elections. Rick Rizzolo will be back losing at the tables
sometime in June 2008, and there's no chance his name will ever be
added to the infamous Nevada
Black Book though he's highly qualified. There are no Whales in the
Black Book. The millions they blow make them immune from such scrutiny
by state gaming officials.
the massive shredding isn't all that looks suspicious
during Rizzolo's final days leading to his May 22 surrender at the Taft
Federal Prison Camp.
On Tuesday April 10, for the fifth time in four years, Rizzolo was a
no-show at a deposition.
The Flangas McMillan Law Group on March 20, subpoenaed Rizzolo to answer
questions regarding his years long harassment
of Jim Barrier.
Rizzolo has unsuccessfully tried to force Barrier to break his 30
year lease and move his garage so the Crazy Horse can expand into his
space and subsequently stop Barrier from taking pictures of criminal
activities including photos of beating victims that were shown on NBC News and later used to
convict Rizzolo and 16 of his associates.
Rizzolo also sued Barrier for defamation of character which opened up a
myriad of new questions Rizzolo can legally be asked during a
including ones about his mob associations.
In his September 2000
defamation suit, Rizzolo claimed Barrier wrongly accused him of
prostitution, drug sales, and racketeering;
the exact charge Rizzolo
was convicted of six years later. He wanted Barrier to stop talking to
reporters and giving them photos showing what happened to club patrons
who contested bogus credit card charges. Barrier continued his
reporting undaunted, and that inspired numerous illegal
actions resulting in Barrier's harassment suit and a half dozen
Small Claims Court rulings
in Barrier's favor.
Because the defamation element still remains in the civil cases Rizzolo
and Barrier have brought against each other, deposition
questions can be asked on the record about Rizzolo's knowledge of a
suspected straw man
who is about
to appear before the Las Vegas City Council this Wednesday to
request a permanent liquor license to operate Rizzolo's club
Last July, City Attorney Brad Jerbic issued an advisory
to the Council calling the Crazy Horse a "public nuisance." Prior to
his firing, United States Attorney Daniel G. Bogden said much the
same thing in Press Releases about Rick
Rizzolo and his General Manager Bobby
members have privately expressed concern that granting Signorelli a
liquor license will allow such a nuisance to
And then there's the question of where the moneys owed to the IRS, City
of Las Vegas, and family of beating victim Kirk
Henry will come from? $17
million dollars! Where will Mike Signorelli who was twice bankrupt
get the money? Many think straight from the same mob guys that backed
Last June, U.S. Federal Court Chief Judge Philip Pro ordered that
Rizzolo must sell the Crazy Horse within 12 months to pay his debts. If
the City Council grants Signorelli a permanent license Wednesday, will
it be on the condition he provide proof he has the cash to pay off
Rizzolo's outstanding debts that are due in less than 90 days? If not,
in spite of what the Council decides, will the Federal Court still
order the club and real estate liquidated? If so, what becomes of
Signorelli and his purported investment?
The Council at a previous hearing took great empathy with Amy Henry who
asked them to allow the business to stay open so her family could
receive their well deserved $10 million. However, under Signorelli's
control, that doesn't look likely, and so far Henry has only collected
$1 million from Rizzolo's insurance. It will be up to Judge Pro to
secure the moneys owed Henry possibly by reversing Rizzolo's 2005 transfer
of assets to his ex-wife, then holding a fire sale of the Crazy
Horse Too and property.
According to Judge Pro's order, the
Government has the right to disapprove the sale if the buyer is a close
relative or ongoing business partner of Rizzolo's,
is a felon, or has business dealings with organized crime members or
groups. It has not yet been determined if Mike Signorelli will pass
muster with Judge Pro especially since his business
partner in the Golden
Steer Steakhouse is/was Sorkis
Webbe Jr. who went to prison in the 1980s for vote fraud,
obstruction of justice, attempted extortion, and harboring an organized
crime figure accused of murder.
It's long been suspected that Signorelli is a straw man sent in
to front for Chicago and New York mobsters who many believe are the
real owners of the Crazy Horse. Men including Joey
"The Clown" Lombardo
and others from the "Five Families" who use the Crazy Horse to launder
money, sell narcotics, prostitution, and commit other crimes while
paying off local
politicians and law
enforcement to look the other way.
W. Flangas and John R.
For this reason
many believe that Rizzolo had no other choice but to thumb his nose at
the latest subpoena so as not to be exposed to Gus Flangas' questions
for which his answers might jeopardize Signorelli's chances
of gaining a permanent liquor license -- questions scheduled to be
asked at the most inopportune time for Rizzolo, just one week before
the last and
final hearing of the City Council -- questions and answers that would
become public domain as soon as the ink dries on the transcripts, and
were certain to find their way into this column days before the
City Council was to meet. (INSIDE VEGAS is hand delivered to each
So Rizzolo conspicuously placed himself in a position to get hit with
court charges and fines in order to avoid the deposition before the
Council meets on Wednesday.
Also, since the
Council has already given Signorelli two extensions so
Metro Police can complete their investigation of his background and
suitability, city law states that
further extensions can be given and the Council must either grant
the permanent license, or shut the place down permanently at their next
said, it became
painfully obvious that Rizzolo had much to fear if Barrier's attorneys
were to ask
the right questions about Signorelli and others who might be
covertly operating the bar in Rizzolo's absence. So Rizzolo slept in
last Tuesday, and now
the Council will have to deliberate without his sworn answers.
During a previous video taped deposition for Kirk Henry, Rizzolo
inadvertently provided valuable evidence even though he and his
attorney tried their best to dodge the most revealing questions. He
must have learned from that experience especially after the tape of the
deposition was played again and again on local TV news.
If you or I had
purposely not shown up for a deposition, we would
probably find ourselves spending a night or two in the county jail. But
in Rizzolo's case, if he's not severely sanctioned by Clark County
District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez before he goes to prison, it
will add considerable fuel
for those of us who suspect he's been getting favored treatment, at
least from the local courts.
We'll soon know the answer because I've been told that Mr. Flangas was
by Rizzolo's no-show, and probably made an immediate call to Discovery
Commissioner Thomas W. Biggar along with Judge Gonzalez.
Signorelli's final hearing Wednesday, Mayor Oscar
Goodman will be forced
to abstain because his law partner Jay
Brown represents the
Crazy Horse Too, and the state Ethics Commission is watching
the Mayor's every move.
Earlier this month Goodman unsuccessfully worked behind the scenes to
unseat his main Council rival, Lois Tarkanian, who is expected to
oppose the Crazy Horse remaining open. Despite Goodman's best efforts,
Councilwoman Tarkanian won reelection by a landslide and will vote at
wednesday's hearing. Meanwhile, reports of drug
paraphernalia and used condoms recently found in the Crazy Horse
parking lot demonstrates Signorelli's management capability.
Crazy Horse Too hearing will be televised over the Internet on
Wednesday April 18.
Go To: http://www.lasvegasnevada.gov/Find/Apr2007.asp
and click on "Watch KCLV TV" around 10 AM PDT. You'll get to see the
Las Vegas City Council in action.)
If Rizzolo ends up spending a few days in the local slammer before he
starts his year at Taft, I'll be sure to let INSIDE VEGAS readers know.
If Signorelli is granted a license without the Council knowing his
full story; a story that most likely would have surfaced during
Rizzolo's no-show depo, the
Council members who vote to keep the place open will be responsible for
blindly allowing the continuance of Sin
City's most notorious mob enterprise.
And if Rick Rizzolo is not punished for contempt of court, then my
suspicions will be
© Steve Miller
ON THE AIR
Steve will be the guest on the new Lou Epton Radio Program,
Tuesday, April 17 from 11 - 12 PM, PDT. The program airs
daily on KLAV - 1230 AM in Las Vegas, and is heard on
the Internet @ http://www.loueptonshow.com/
Call in numbers are 702-731-1230 or 1-866-820-5528. Topics will include
Mike Signorelli's application for a permanent liquor license at the
Crazy Horse Too, along with Rick Rizzolo shredding tons of
documents, and his no-show at a recent deposition.
In 1998, Steve Miller was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of
Fame. The selection criteria for Inductees is a minimum of 20 years
broadcasting experience. Steve is currently an entertainment
reporter on the nationally syndicated Rock Files radio
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