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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:

Affidavits accuse Crazy Horse Too of prostitution and drug sales

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
April 28, 2003

Affidavits filed in August 2000 accuse mob connected Vegas topless bar owner Frederick "Rick" Rizzolo of allowing acts of prostitution and sales of illegal drugs to occur in his club, the Crazy Horse Too, located on Industrial Road behind the Las Vegas Strip.
         FBI and IRS raid topless bar, February 20, 2003             Rick Rizzolo after  raid
The documents surfaced in a lawsuit for harassment filed against Rizzolo by neighboring tenant Buffalo Jim Barrier, the owner of Allstate Auto and Marine. In the lawsuit, Barrier accuses Rizzolo of harassing customers of his auto repair shop along with impeding other aspects of his business to unlawfully evict his garage to make room for expansion of the topless club. Barrier has nine years remaining on his lease. Last Thursday, to Rizzolo's dismay and for the second time, a judge threw out a motion brought by Rizzolo's attorney Tony Sgro to evict Barrier.

                  Buffalo Jim Barrier
According to court records, former employees of Rizzolo, neighboring business owners, bar patrons, and a confessed drug dealer have filed affidavits that are now public records that can be used in Barrier's case.

In one affidavit, Lawrence Justin Hilgar states: "During the period 1997-98 I was a manufacturer of methamphetamine for sale. During that period I manufactured and sold methamphetamines to dancers at the Crazy Horse Too. I made such sales to dancers named 'Lacey' and 'Justice.' The sales to these two 'dancers' were of such quantities and frequencies without serious and immediate health consequences. Accordingly, such sales were clearly for resale. During the period I was making these sales to these dancers, I went into the Crazy Horse Too to deliver those drugs three or four times."

In an interview of Hilgar conducted by attorney Glade Hall and entered into the court record, Hall affirms that Hilgar told him that he had been convicted of sale of controlled substance and was an ex-felon. Hilgar also told Hall that packets of methamphetamine and/or other illegal drugs are sold to customers (of the Crazy Horse) for the purpose of enhancing the sexual experience of 'friction dances.'"

In the affidavit of Sandra Write-Kelemen, it states: "Affiant worked at the Crazy Horse Too from May of 1994 for approximately one year, and was rehired to work at the Crazy Horse Too from September 1998, and worked until June of 1999. In a conversation with Bart Rizzolo, father of Rick Rizzolo, Mr. Rizzolo stated that they need to get Buffalo Jim out of there for their expansion. I have repeatedly heard employees talk about Rizzolo's wanting to expand into James Barrier's space. I have further heard that both the Rizzolo's and other employees of Crazy Horse Too are making calls to the City and other public agencies to make unfounded complaints about the operation of the business of James Barrier. While I was employed at the Crazy Horse Too, the 'dancers' engaged in an activity called a 'friction dance' wherein the male customer puts on a condom and the dancer straddles the customer and manipulates her body against the male customer so as to arose or gratify the sexual desire of the male customer."

In the affidavit of Robert L. Westphal, it states: "I am an owner and operator of a business, located at 2201 Industrial Road, Las Vegas, Nevada, known as Don and Lee's Trim Shop, an awning contractor business. Over the last few years a serious problem has developed regarding traffic and parking around the Crazy Horse Too, to the point that there are times when that business has so many customers parking cars, that the street becomes impassable. Both sides of the street have vehicles parked back to back and the Crazy Horse Too valet parking attendants are parking patrons vehicles on private property. This has created problems of access to my business and surrounding businesses and creates a serious problem in the event there were a fire, because it blocks access to my property and surrounding properties. That the patrons of Crazy Horse Too scatter trash and garbage consisting of greeting cards of the dancers, used condoms, drug paraphernalia consisting of used needles and empty 'baggies,' discarded beer bottles, liquor glasses and pornography of various types. Recently, I arrived at my business to find my parking lot again, particularly soiled with the above items. I went to the Crazy Horse Too and spoke with Bart Rizzolo. I asked if he would send someone to my property to clean my parking lot. Mr. Rizzolo refused to do so. I told him I would sweep it up and bring it down to Crazy Horse Too and dump it out. He replied that, if I did, he would 'blow my f---ing head off.'"

In the affidavit of Don Welch, it states: "Affiant worked for Jim Barrier at his All State Auto and Marine Electrical Repair Shop at 2480 Industrial Road, Las Vegas, Nevada. During the period of my employment I repeatedly observed sexual activity taking place in the parking lots surrounding Crazy Horse Too gentlemen's Club, being performed by the employees of Crazy Horse Too. During the period I worked for Jim Barrier, there were repeated threats made by employees of Crazy Horse Too to take over Jim Barrier's leased space. It was reported by various City Inspectors that Rick Rizzolo was calling the City of Las Vegas to report alleged violations of City Code and repeated inspections of Barrier's operation were conducted by various City Officials."

In Fall 2000, former porno book store manager Dan Kennedy called this writer to tell his shocking story. At the time Kennedy was working part time as a mechanic for Barrier. Kennedy, who had managed the LA Hot bookstore located next to the Crazy Horse, began by telling me he allegedly witnessed sexual activity and drug sales outside the bar. He then told me of his alleged participation in the purported bribing of a city councilman who wanted to close the book store to allegedly make room for the expansion of the Crazy Horse into the store's 6,000 square foot leased space.

Dan Kennedy told me: "I took a check over there to keep us open and I handed it to Rick Rizzolo which was supposed to go to the right councilman, McDonald, which would get him off our back. That didn't happen. I gave him the check, but that didn't get him off our back because we're out of business. Rick took it and cashed it. It happened in 97...The (book store) owner's name was Loren Malitz. He has no spine...There was all kinds of shit going on at that time. I seen blueprints for this whole building Rick has. Plans for our store before it even came about...Now this is the way it was told to me by Loren. He told me to keep my mouth shut - don't say anything to anybody - this was going to keep us in business - this money goes to Mr. McDonald. That's what Lorin told me. He said you take this check over to Rick and he'll take care of it and get it to the right people. So I walked next door and gave the check to Rick. It was for one hundred thousand dollars. It was made out to Rizzolo. There were other checks but they didn't go through my hands. They went directly from Loren to Rick...Loren's got no spine at all. Other checks were passed to Rizzolo to keep us open. But it didn't work. The man f---ked up my life. That was my living. I don't want the mob to get after me. I have a family."

After the amazing phone interview with Kennedy, he participated in another interview on January 24, 2001 with private investigator Robert Maddox. This one was taped.

In his taped interview, Kennedy told Maddox: "Yeah, they're the one that beat up this Hawaiian guy out there that was just - - the poor guy wasn't even moving, and they were kicking him, and, um, at that point that's all. They were just kicking him around, jumping on him, stomping on his arm. They stomped his leg. Kicked him in the stomach. They kept - Moe was kicking him in the head, and you just watched his head wiggle around. The manager guy would poke his head out the door, but he wouldn't walk out. He'd just - he'd open the door and look out and then step back in. I never seen - he didn't come out."

Kennedy also told Maddox that on the occasions he witnessed beatings he would call 911 to report the activity - but that police failed to respond to his calls. Based on his taped statement, Kennedy was asked to take a lie detector test. The results indicated the high probability that he was telling the truth.

In his lawsuit against Rizzolo, Barrier filed affidavits in court which included the written transcript of Kennedy's taped statement to Maddox about the beating he purportedly witnessed. The beating was also the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the widow of Scott David Fau. Fau was found dead on August 4, 1995, next to railroad tracks behind the topless bar.

Then on December 12, 2000, Rizzolo sued Kennedy - a key witness in two lawsuits against him - for defamation of character. The case was assigned to Clark County District Court Judge Nancy M. Saitta.

Amazingly, Judge Saitta had previously been "randomly" assigned to four other ongoing cases involving Rizzolo, something unprecedented in Nevada history. Saitta steadfastly allowed the defamation suit against Kennedy to proceed in her court even though he was a witness in two other cases before her. When two separate motions were filed to remove the judge, Rizzolo strongly objected and Saitta remained on all five Rizzolo cases.

Based on Judge Saitta's refusal to step down, I helped author an editorial in a local newspaper about her acceptance of five simultaneous cases involving the same litigant, a litigant who also happened to be one of her most generous campaign contributors. Following the editorial, Saitta suddenly recused from four of the five cases but kept the most important one, the Fau wrongful death case, on her docket.

On April 25, 2001, Frederick Rizzolo contacted reporters. He told them that Dan Kennedy signed a new affidavit recanting the veracity of his own statements about the Fau beating, drug sales, and prostitution at the Crazy Horse Too.

In the newfound affidavit, Kennedy purportedly stated: "I do recall signing a piece of paper which my boss, James Barrier, asked me to sign, but I did not read it. I had no idea that I was signing a legal document ...Upon reading those affidavits, I know that the contents of the affidavits are almost entirely false. I have never observed any drug use or prostitution in or around the Crazy Horse Too. I have never observed any employee acting improperly."

When Kennedy was needed to testify in the Barrier case as to why he so drastically changed his story, process servers could not locate him to serve a subpoena. Because Kennedy did not show, and because Barrier's lawyer was late to the hearing, Judge Saitta made Barrier pay Rizzolo's attorney's $4,500!

Dan Kennedy was never heard from again.

On January 13, 2003, the Fau wrongful death verdict was read. The jury ruled in favor of the topless bar and against Fau's widow. Not surprisingly, Judge Saitta during proceedings did not allow the jury to hear Maddox's taped interview of Kennedy.

"We had witnesses that were intimidated. We had witnesses who didn't show up," said Randall Pike, attorney for Fau's widow. "It just shows that the ongoing criminal activity of employees of the Crazy Horse Too is a lot more far-reaching than they would like people to believe."

The allegations in Fau's lawsuit were similar to those in another lawsuit filed in October 2001 against the club and Rizzolo. In that lawsuit, Kansas tourist Kirk Henry alleged a club employee broke his neck after a dispute over an $88 bar tab. Henry is now paralyzed from the chest down.

Henry's attorneys, former federal organized crime prosecutors Donald Campbell and Stan Hunterton, contend Rizzolo has cultivated an environment of lawlessness by employing numerous felons with lengthy criminal histories that include convictions for battery, robbery, extortion, burglary, fraud and drug dealing.

"For years, the management and 'security' staff of the Crazy Horse has been infested by a rogues' gallery of thugs, thieves, drug pushers, and corrupt ex-cops," Campbell wrote in court documents. "Most, if not all, have well documented ties to organized crime figures who frequent the premises. All of this has nurtured a culture of violence marked by robberies, beatings and even death (referring to Scott Fau)."

In the Henry case, a cab driver who said he was in front of the nightclub at the time the beating was said to occur told reporters that no such incident ever happened. That cabbie is now Rizzolo's star witness. It was later discovered during the cabbie's deposition that he had been accepting favors from Rizzolo. A trial date has not been set in the Henry case.

In the meantime, Rick Rizzolo was quoted saying the state transportation department is about to condemn and remove Barrier's business. This would make way for a taxpayer funded signalized left turn lane and driveway into Rizzolo's proposed new building. Such an action would take complete cooperation from the mayor and council. However, the state highway department has disavowed knowing of a plan to take Barrier's leasehold, or to ask taxpayers to fund a dedicated turn lane, traffic signal, or driveway into a topless bar. This throws the responsibility on to the city public works department that operates at the pleasure of the mayor and council.

City Councilman Mike McDonald has been accused of doing Rizzolo's bidding at city hall. On November 8, 2000, McDonald was twice found guilty by the city Ethics Review Board of improper activities that involved Rizzolo. Because of his ties to the strip club owner, many expect that McDonald will not survive a reelection challenge in the June 3 general election. The latest polls show his challenger, trauma nurse Janet Moncrief, with a 18 point lead. Without McDonald's help, the mayor and remaining council members are not expected to risk using the city's power of eminent domain to help a politically influential topless bar owner who may be facing criminal indictment.

On February 20, 2003, eighty agents of the FBI and IRS raided the Crazy Horse Too. A federal grand jury has also been taking the testimony of former and current bar employees and patrons. Indictments are expected to be handed down in the next few months, and informed sources speculate that the topless bar may be permanently closed shortly thereafter.

Copyright © Steve Miller

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