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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:

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. He's 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 racketeering?

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.

Rizzolo was convicted of tax evasion and also of racketeering which included 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?

If 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 off?

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 enforcement.

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.

But 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.

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 deposition 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 DiApice. Council members have privately expressed concern that granting Signorelli a permanent liquor license will allow such a nuisance to continue unabated.

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 Rizzolo.

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.

Gus W. Flangas and John R. McMillan
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 Council member.)

So Rizzolo conspicuously placed himself in a position to get hit with contempt of 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 no further extensions can be given and the Council must either grant the permanent license, or shut the place down permanently at their next meeting.

That 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 not pleased by Rizzolo's no-show, and probably made an immediate call to Discovery Commissioner
Thomas W. Biggar along with Judge Gonzalez.

      Rizzolo                      Barrier                     Signorelli

At 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.

(The Crazy Horse Too hearing will be televised over the Internet on Wednesday April 18. Go To: and click on "Watch KCLV TV" around 10 AM PDT. You'll get to see the sometimes infamous 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 worst suspicions
will be reaffirmed.

Copyright © Steve Miller

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 @ 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 program.


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