Saitta exposed in LA
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
June 19, 2005
LAS VEGAS - On March 26, 2001, Clark County District Court Judge Nancy
M. Siatta ordered garage owner Buffalo Jim Barrier to pay $4,500 to
attorneys Dean Patti and Tony Sgro. The two lawyers represented Crazy
Horse Too topless bar owner Rick
in a racketeering and harassment civil suit brought by
Barrier, the bar's unwelcome
next door neighbor
. Patti and Sgro are also close friends of the
judge, and active political fund raisers.
The sanction was ordered because Barrier's former
attorney was late for court causing Patti and Sgro to be
"inconvenienced," according to Saitta. She
then announced on the record that "Mr. Rizzolo has a good name in the
community," before summarily dismissing the racketeering
part of Barrier's lawsuit
However, instead of ordering Barrier to pay the $4,500 directly to the
court, or properly ordering his former attorney to personally pay the
sanction for his tardiness, Judge Saitta told Barrier to pay Patti and
Sgro directly, and she warned him to pay up before he left the
courthouse! In a humiliating gesture, Barrier was forced to write a
check to the opposition's lawyers on his way out of the court while
Rizzolo and his associates watched. To observers, it looked like
Barrier was being punished for filing a bogus law suit, though his
charges were later proven to be accurate.
At the same time, Rizzolo
had four other cases pending in Judge Saitta's court including
suits against witnesses in the other cases. She also had a civil
death action brought in 1997 by the family of Scott David Fau, a long
haul trucker who was beaten to death by Crazy Horse employees.
Judges are supposed to be randomly selected to hear cases, but in an
amazing coincidence, Saitta was "randomly" selected to preside over
five simultaneous cases featuring the same litigant!
In 2002, Rizzolo, Dean Patti, and Tony Sgro hosted a fund raiser for
Saitta at Piero's
a known Mob hang out. She was also seen attending parties at Rizzolo's
Canyon Gate Country Club estate, and was observed hugging
and kissing her
while Rizzolo's cases were still pending on her docket.
During FBI interviews from the recent G-Sting trial, federal witness
Michael Galardi -- who the jury found to be credible -- said that
Rizzolo had "taken
care of Saitta
," and suggested Rizzolo
had the judge in his pocket
and that she had
ruled favorably on his behalf in past cases. Galardi also told the FBI
heard Rizzolo brag he once paid Saitta $40,000 for favorable treatment.
Galardi's testimony led to the bribery convictions of two ex-Clark
County Commissioners. Judge Saitta has not been charged with any crime.
Ironically, on June 1, 2006, Rick Rizzolo's corporation pleaded
Federal Court to criminal racketeering -- the same charge Barrier made
five years earlier in his
lawsuit that Saitta summarily dismissed!
Rizzolo must now pay $4.25 million in back taxes for his
racketeering plea, including $5 million in fines and forfeiture and
$1.7 million to settle other tax liabilities. He must also pay another
beating victim, Kirk
, $10 million, totaling $17 million dollars in all.
Rizzolo is awaiting sentencing on
September 15, and faces up to five years in prison at the discretion
of Chief United States District Judge Philip M. Pro, but is expected to only have to serve
While he's serving
time, his father, brother, and sister, per Judge Pro's
ruling, will be allowed to operate the Crazy Horse for another year
pending a forced sale. If the club is not sold within that time, the
court will appoint a receiver to operate it until its sold. However,
it's just been announced that the
bar is also facing disciplinary
action by the Las Vegas City Council
that could involve another
excess of two million dollars.
Rizzolo may also face inclusion in Nevada's
of persons banned from entering casinos.
, I've repeatedly requested that Mayor Oscar Goodman bring the
Horse before the council on a disciplinary action
but he steadfastly refused based on friendships and business
ties with Rizzolo and his associates. In the meantime, more beatings
and robberies occurred.
Steven "Captain Truth" Dempsey, a 1985 graduate of the Thomas Jefferson
School of Law
in San Diego, appeared at over 90 city council meetings since 2001,
each time demanding a Show Cause action against the trouble
plagued bar. His demands were also ignored by the City of Las Vegas,
and the criminal activity continued unabated until
the Feds finally took action earlier this year forcing the city
government to begrudgingly respond to Dempsey's and my requests.
The long avoided Show Cause hearing on the Crazy Horse Too's liquor
license could come before the council in July, 2006.
29, 2002, after I authored
several articles including an editorial entitled "Here
comes the same judge
" for a local weekly newspaper, Judge Saitta
removed herself from all cases involving Rizzolo, except one. She gave
no explanation as to why so many cases involving the same litigant were
"randomly" assigned to her court.
Barrier's harassment lawsuit was immediately transferred to
the court of District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, and a
defamation action and motion for gag
against Steve Miller were dismissed. The harassment case is
expected to go to trial later this year.
A preemptory challenge was filed to
remove Saitta from the Fau case, but Rizzolo filed a motion opposing
the challenge and succeeded in retaining her. Another case involving a
defamation action filed by Rizzolo against Dan
, the key witness in the Fau case, was reassigned to another
court, and remains active to this day (discouraging Kennedy from
testifying in any cases against Rizzolo or his corporation).
The wrongful death trial of Scott David Fau was originally scheduled
for February 1, 2001.
The trial date was vacated by Judge Saitta and rescheduled for July 21,
2001. On July 6, 2001, without notice, Saitta summarily dismissed the
case in its entirety two weeks before trial. The plaintiff appealed to
the Nevada Supreme Court, but Saitta
changed her mind before the Court could rule
, and for the third
scheduled a trial date in her court.
An abbreviated four day wrongful death civil trial
was finally held in January 2003, after eight years,
dismissals, and two
postponements, coupled with the District Attorney's refusal
proceeding was severely hindered by the judge's rulings limiting
evidence, and her jury
leading the jury to rule
in Rizzolo's favor
after deliberating for less than two hours.
All witnesses called by the plaintiff failed to show including Dan
Kennedy who Saitta had earlier allowed to be sued for defamation by
Never in the history of Las Vegas jurisprudence has a judge accepted a
defamation case brought against key witnesses in another case in the
same court. What a chilling effect this has had!
Now the tables have turned on the juiced jurist.
JUICE VS. JUSTICE | A TIMES INVESTIGATION
They're Playing With a Stacked Judicial Deck
Some judges routinely rule in
involving friends, former clients and business associates -- and in
favor of lawyers who fill their campaign coffers.
By Michael J.
and William C. Rempel
Times Staff Writers
June 8, 2006
District Judge Nancy M. Saitta awarded
more than $1 million in fees for a certified public accountant and his
attorneys, two of whom held a campaign fundraiser
for her while she was ruling on their case. “People who appear in my
courtroom are all on equal footing,” she said.
During a 2003 lunch with Times
Michael J. Goodman, and telephone conversations with writer William C.
Remple, I learned
that their original assignment involved Rick Rizzolo and the Crazy
-- specifically how Rizzolo had allegedly paid off local judges to rule
in his favor. Their list of questions focused on Judge Saitta. The Times
requested and received my
Saitta files dating back to 2001, when I began writing about BARRIER v.
Judge Nancy M. Saitta ended up as the
poster girl in the
ran in newspapers nationally -- a three part investigative series on
judicial corruption that
brought our state a great deal of embarrassment.
Now Judge Saitta has the gall to announce her candidacy
for a seat on the Nevada Supreme Court! But that's not all.
hree years after
Saitta removed herself from all but one case involving Rizzolo, Judge
William D. Jansen ordered Rizzolo to immediately
pay a past due $281 judgment issued on August 23, 2005 by Judge Gonzalez in favor of Buffalo Jim Barrier. The judgment was won by
Barrier in an illegal towing case, but Rizzolo refused to pay and
appealed. At the
appeal hearing, Rizzolo's attorneys presented a surprise court order
August 25, two days after Judge Gonzalez' judgment. The later order was
by none other than Judge Saitta -- an order that Patti and Sgro
unsuccessfully tried to use to convince Judge Jansen to dismiss
judgment and allow their client to continue his obsession with
Barrier's customer's cars!
When presented with the new order, Judge Jansen said, "We already have
an order here," referring to the Gonzalez order of September 23. What's
amazing is that there was no legal reason why Judge Saitta was still
issuing orders twenty months after Barrier's case was
reassigned to a new judge, unless she was doing someone a big favor!
This bizarre and less-than-legal action inspired me to author "A
judge in their pocket" on Rick Porrello's AmericanMafia.com.
Then there was this:
Las Vegas, name and face recognition usually wins political campaigns.
week, in a
city where the average voter has
lived for less than three years and usually votes for whoever has the
most TV, direct mail, radio, newspaper, and billboard ads, Judge
Saitta grandstanded on local TV news
to grab some free media exposure allegedly to help her Supreme Court
campaign. To get the
cameras rolling, Saitta allegedly let a defendant make a mockery of her
families of his four murdered victims.
According to a June 8 story by Edward Lawrence, Reporter for KLAS TV NEWS
Terrell Young spent weeks delaying his trial by
yelling at the judge and prosecution, filing meaningless motions and
being kicked out of open court several times. But this trial has many
people wondering how one defendant could get away with disruptive
behavior in the courtroom over and over again. Terrell Young acted as
his own attorney and many lawyers say he made the trial a disgrace. The
victim's families had to endure day after day of child-like behavior.
They say his actions were more like a problem child out of control.
There were outbursts, outright disrespect and foul language. Terrell
Young: "My brother ain't a (expletive) criminal. He ain't in jail. He
ain't a (expletive) criminal. Judge Nancy Saitta warned Young not to
use that word again in her courtroom. He defiantly did it four more
As the stunned family members of Terrell Young's murder victims walked
out of Saitta's courtroom, I couldn't help but flash back to the
expressions on the faces of Scott Fau's wife and daughters when in the
same courtroom three years earlier, Rick Rizzolo's bouncers were found
not guilty of beating a husband and father to death.
Now, thanks to the LA Times
the entire nation has been informed about our town's dirtiest underwear.
Information on "Judge" Nancy Saitta, 8-22-01 through 8-15-05: