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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:

The BEST and the WORST of Las Vegas
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
April 4, 2005

The Las Vegas Review-Journal "Best of Las Vegas 2005 Awards" just named Buffalo Jim Barrier "Las Vegas' Most Colorful Character." The newspaper's second choice was Sin City's mobbed-up mayor, Oscar Goodman.
                       Buffalo Jim Barrier ( photo)
What makes the timing of this award amazing is that Buffalo Jim's garage sits directly next door to the local Mafia headquarters where the WORST of Las Vegas hangs out. It also comes only weeks away from when Federal Racketeering Indictments are expected to come down on the club's purported owner Rick Rizzolo, his family, silent partners, and many of his employees.
Greg Liosi, Bobby D’Apice, Joe Blasko, Ray Randazzo,             Ralph Rizzolo, Jon Norheim, Rick Rizzolo
   Mo McKenna, and Vinnie Faraci    (KVBC TV News)                                 (Photo by Buffalo Jim Barrier)

Buffalo Jim opened his auto repair business in 1976, more than ten years before the Crazy Horse moved into the converted warehouse next door. That's when the problems began. The known and unknown owners of the topless bar wanted to kick Barrier out, especially after they learned he had friends in Federal law enforcement circles. They obviously didn't want anyone looking over their shoulders while they conducted their business which included alleged credit card fraud, prostitution, tax evasion, extortion, and political corruption.

The gangbanger's stooges at City Hall tried to make things unbearable for the former pro-wrestler. City Hall began spending taxpayer's money to try to harass him into moving, but Buffalo wouldn't budge. Soon Building and Fire Inspectors arrived at Barrier's shop finding all manner of pseudo infractions. The City even assigned a Parking Enforcement Officer to the property to ticket Buffalo's customers. Barrier began making a photo journal of the City's actions along with taking photos of his neighbor's beating victims.

                City tickets Buffalo's customers on private property
Buffalo hired Gus Flangas, one of the town's best attorneys, and went on the offensive. After winning three times in District Court, the harassment waned. He also went to Small Claims Court to recover damages. After he received judgments, to his neighbor's dismay, Buffalo displayed the cash or checks in his shop window.

"Buffalo Whups Rizzolo" proclaims plaque in window of garage 
                        ( photo by Mike Christ)

His photos obviously began to raise a few eyebrows, especially at the Review-Journal, Nevada's largest newspaper. Barrier quickly learned that having a newspaper in his corner far outweighs any other second in a tag team match. The City began to back down while the national media tuned in to the story. Soon the LA Times and NBC were knocking on Barrier's door.

Wrestlers Psycho Sid, Goldberg, and Rick Steiner lend their support
                           ( photo by Mike Christ)

Buffalo's Nikon camera caught this photo of beating victim Kirk Henry being placed in an ambulance. The photo was shown on Dateline NBC.

                                     Sept. 20, 2001

After I published the ambulance photo for the first time in 2001, the newspaper I wrote for received a letter containing the following statement:

"Mr. Miller also refers to another alleged beating that occurred at my club on September 20, 2001. No 'beating' ever occurred on my premises on that day. A customer leaving the club drunk did trip, but in no way was this man 'beaten,' About the only accurate fact reported by Mr. Miller was the club personnel were standing over the injured man. Of course, Mr. Miller does not mention that my employees were assisting the injured man, as that would ruin his insinuation that my employees had 'beat up' this man." -- Rick Rizzolo
Two months later, Rizzolo tried to get a local judge who he had given $4,000 during her last political campaign to issue a Gag Order stopping my reports on violence at his bar. I was so insulted by this action that I elected to not attend the hearing and instead wrote a front page story purposely designed to violate any Gag Order the judge might issue. When attorneys for the ACLU and Review-Journal suddenly showed up in her court, the judge backed down at the last minute.

Had Buffalo not documented Kirk Henry's injuries at the time and date they occurred, and had I not published the photo and initial story, Rizzolo and his goons may have gotten away with claiming Henry arrived at their bar with an already-broken neck.
This photo was taken by Barrier of Henry's alleged assailant escorting local paramedics into the bar for coffee and eye candy:

  Bobby D'Apice escorts local paramedics into Crazy Horse for eye candy in 2004

But one year later, after Kirk Henry identified Bobby D'Apice as his assailant, a much different photo of the club manager appeared on the front page of the Review-Journal:
                                          D'Apice in 2005    (Review-Journal photo)

After it was discovered that some fire department officials and a few local cops were frequent guests in the VIP room at the Horse, it became apparent why no violent incidents had been reported since the FBI and IRS raided the bar in 2003, and why the local police had not requested the club be brought up on a license revocation action.

   Another "Coffee Break" at the Crazy Horse Too?
                            (Photo by Buffalo Jim Barrier)

In the meantime, our cowardly Mayor refuses to close his former client's blood-soaked place of business while his law partner David Chesnoff makes money representing them in court.

Now Big Brother (FBI - IRS) has had to step in to clean up a local mess we should have cleaned up by ourselves years ago. Had "Las Vegas' Most Colorful Character" lacked the guts to tell his story, this cleansing may not now be happening.

* 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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