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
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
June 5, 2006
pleads Guilty to Racketeering and Tax Evasion
Sentencing scheduled for September 15
I'd rather be attacked by a
swarm of malaria-crazed mosquitoes
than have Miller and Barrier on my case. - John L. Smith, LV Review-Journal, 07/27/05
Rizzolo is followed out of Las Vegas Federal Court House by Steve Miller and Buffalo Jim Barrier
LAS VEGAS - On June 1st, a hot Thursday
afternoon, US Federal Court
Judge Philip Pro made it very clear that no matter what Crazy Horse Too
owner Rick Rizzolo's plea agreement states, or what the Department of
Parole and Probation recommends, the length of
sentence, parole or possible probation rests only with the Judge, and
decided at his discretion only -- not the parties -- based on the
seriousness of the charges Rizzolo and his corporation pleaded guilty
to. The judge also made it clear that if Rizzolo does not like his
penalty decision, its too late to change his mind after the guilty plea
after pleading guilty to
racketeering and tax evasion.
(AmericanMafia.com photo by Mike Christ, 06/01/06)
In court, Rizzolo was told he waived his right to remain silent and
explain his crimes. Rizzolo then reluctantly told the judge that he
agreed to keep no records of cash transactions," at the Crazy Horse Too
in order "to defraud the government of taxes."
During the hearing, Rizzolo personally pleaded guilty only to tax
his attorney Tony Sgro representing "The
Power Company," a
corporation consisting of his brother Ralph, sister Annette, and father
Bart, entered on
behalf of the
corporation (and subsequently its three stockholders)
a guilty plea to
multiple counts of conspiracy to
Judge Pro then
stated that both the racketeering and tax evasion charges
"overlapped." Sgro, to Rizzolo's obvious dismay, agreed with the Judge
by saying the
charges the corporation and Rick Rizzolo pleaded guilty to "spilled
After the judge and
defense attorney agreed that the charges meld, Judge Pro made a
statement regarding his discretion in
sentencing. His words caused Rick Rizzolo to appear visibly shaken. The
other Rizzolos were not in the court room to lend moral support.
Judge Pro asked Rizzolo if he understands that he faces up to five
years in prison, three
of which can be probation? Rizzolo
nervously answered "Yes sir."
This disagrees with
earlier media statements
Rizzolo's attorney who said his client would
serve no more than 16 months in prison, with the rest of his sentence
served in house arrest.
The judge stated
that the corporation pleaded guilty to US
Title 18 Racketeering,
level 26, which included bodily injury,
extorting or robbing payment from patrons through either threats of
violence or actual violence in order to promote an atmosphere of fear
and respect and to discourage the patrons from disputing charges or
"I will decide the penalty based on the severity of the crimes," stated
Judge Pro -- not differentiating between the two plea agreements.
Rizzolo agreed to pay the family of beating victim Kirk
million dollars; one million upon sentencing, and nine million upon the
sale of the Crazy Horse Too in Las Vegas; to sell the land under the
Horse Too in Philadelphia; and to never participate in any adult
business for the rest of his life. (According to Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Dan
Gross, Rizzolo is an owner of the land upon which the palatial South
Philly strip club sits, but is not listed as a club owner.)
In the event the club and land are not sold within 12 months, there
will be a 60 day grace period followed by the federal government
appointing a third party who will be responsible for running the Las
Vegas Crazy Horse in good faith and finding a buyer at market value.
This goes against earlier reports that Rizzolo had bragged that
he would "burn
the place down" before he would lose it to the government or Henry.
My source inside the Crazy Horse told me Rizzolo has a plan to avoid an inevitable receivership action
by the Feds after twelve months have elapsed. His alleged plan would
keep his father, sister, and brother -- who are supposed to be allowed
to run the
club for the next twelve months and sixty days -- skimming the daily
cash flow for years after
he's released from prison.
My source stated:
"Rizzolo has strung out the govt. leading them to
believe that CH2 is a saleable asset and that they (Feds) and Henry
will be paid pursuant to the negotiated settlement terms, but the
reality is that there is no sale and there will never be a sale because
the club is not a marketable asset (even if it weren't under serious
Federal scrutiny). Rizzolo's claims that there are many potential
suitors for the club is just a lie. Please note that Scores had to be
sold under a ten year installment plan that included only $2M down
payment, and Cheetahs has no buyers. Rizzolo is perpetuating this lie
to avoid an inevitable receivership action by the Feds which will keep
him from the daily cash flow. Once the Feds wise up to Rizzolo's
agenda, I'm sure a receiver will be placed in the club."
Judge Pro also warned that he would not allow any additional criminal
at the Crazy Horse Too while its being run by the Rizzolos, and that if
such acts occur, Rick Rizzolo's plea
agreement can be rescinded causing him to be tried by a jury. The judge
did not say whether Rizzolo could continue to associate with his Mob
pals until his sentencing
scheduled for 9:30 AM on September 15,
though I've heard rumors he'll still be under surveillance until that
neighbor Buffalo Jim Barrier who attended the hearing, told
reporters that he will continue to closely monitor activities at the
report any additional beatings, robberies, or other criminal
acts. Upon leaving the court, several FBI agents thanked Barrier
his help in bringing Rizzolo to justice, and asked him to continue his
vigilance. (Photos taken by Barrier of beating victim Kirk Henry were
used on NBC News, and proved the injuries occurred at the Crazy Horse
on the date Henry claimed.)
On Sunday, June 4, Barrier was quoted in the LV Review-Journal:
was just here to see justice served on somebody who wreaked havoc on my
neighborhood for many years." "I was just here to see him get what he
At the end of the hearing, Judge Pro told Rizzolo that bankruptcy would
not negate penalties,
fines, or forfeiture. The breakdown includes a $500,000 fine, another
$4.25 million forfeiture to be paid when the club is sold, restitution
of $10 million to Kirk Henry ($1 million to be paid immediately), and
$1.7 million in back taxes, totaling $17 million dollars.
As a ploy to avoid paying penalties, on May 24, 2005, Rizzolo's
attorney convinced him to divorce
his wife of twenty seven years and deed most of his assets to her.
However, after-the-fact divorces do not shield assets in cases such as
four year old harassment
lawsuit filed by Gus
Flangas, attorney for Buffalo
Jim Barrier, is moving forward in District Court. Based on Rizzolo's
guilty plea, Flangas filed an 18 page MOTION
FOR WRIT OF ATTACHMENT AND GARNISHMENT against Rizzolo's corporation to
secure at least a million dollars in the likely event Barrier wins.
For several years, as a favor to Rizzolo, the mayor and a councilman
sent city inspectors, fire department officials, and parking
enforcement officers to Barrier's garage to try to convince him into
moving his 30
year old business to make way for a new Crazy Horse
Too. The plans for a new building were shattered with Rizzolo's
Attorney Sgro says he will ask for probation based on what he claims
are Rizzolo's "health concerns." However, he neglected to mention the
concerns of quadriplegic Kirk Henry or the hundreds of other beating
victims who suffered at the hands of Rizzolo and his goons. Sixteen
Rizzolo's employees pleaded
guilty to felonies. One manager
pleaded guilty to
from patrons through explicit or implicit threats of violence,
and through actual use of force and physical violence against patrons."
For Rizzolo, Sgro said the deciding factor why he signed the plea
agreement might have been the government's promise that it would not
indict his father, sister, and brother (and now the threesome will be
able to continue skimming for at least another year.)
Judge Pro emphasized that "The federal government will have complete
discretion as to who is allowed to purchase the Crazy Horse, and
that no member of Rizzolo's family, member of La Cosa Nostra,
a person convicted of a felony, or organized crime associate will be
allowed to buy the business."
Rizzolo was released on his own recognizance. In the meantime he is not
restricted from traveling to his second home in Newport Beach,
California where many of his La Cosa Nostra friends reside and hang out
at the Ritz Restaurant owned by Freddy Glusman who owns Piero's in Las
Vegas, another Rizzolo hang out.
After the hour long hearing, Sgro met with reporters while his client
was being booked. Sgro told the media that 'Mr. Rizzolo's heart goes
out to the family of Kirk Henry." Henry's neck was broken by an
employee of Rizzolo after he disputed his bar tab.
Sgro's account of his client's sympathy for the Henrys conflicts with
an October 9, 2001
Rizzolo sent to
the editor of a local newspaper after I first broke the story of Kirk
"Mr. (Steve) 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
After hearing of Rizzolo's
guilty plea, Camille Fau, widow of Scott
David Fau, a man who was beaten to death in 1995 by Crazy
Horse bouncers, wrote to me saying "There is no statute of
limitations on murder." Mrs. Fau lost her case because district
Court Judge Nancy
M. Saitta was ostensibly sympathetic to Rizzolo saying on the
record that "Mr. Rizzolo has a good name in the community," and because
Mrs. Fau, a California school teacher, could not
afford to take depositions or hire an expert witness. Her attorney
said his eye witnesses did not show up at trial (after the same judge
allowed Rizzolo to sue them for defamation). If Mrs. Fau
could now find an attorney willing to finance her case, this
the right time to re-file
her civil action, but
this time in Federal Court away from local political influence.
Judge Saitta is in the midst of campaign fund raising for a seat on the
Nevada Supreme Court. Federal Court Judges, including the Honorable
Philip Pro, are appointed for life and do not have to stoop to raising
funds from hoods like Rizzolo and his cronies at Piero's
Restaurant, a known Mob hangout. Judge Saitta on June 11, 2002, held fund raiser there that she
listed as a "Special Event" with the Secretary of State. However, she
did not specify the names of those who attended.
In the recent trial of Michael Galardi, evidence
was presented alleging Rizzolo bragged of paying Saitta $40,000 cash
exchange for beneficial court rulings. It was also disclosed that
Saitta attended parties at Rizzolo's home. In May, the jury believed
most of Galardi's testimony and convicted two Clark County
Commissioners of accepting bribes. Judge Saitta was not charged.
Also, with Rizzolo's guilty plea behind
Nevada Gaming Control Board has no choice other than to nominate him to
be included in the
Book," a list of persons excluded from
from) NRS 463.151 Regulations
requiring exclusion or
ejection of certain persons from licensed establishments: Persons
included. (c) Notorious or unsavory reputation which would adversely
affect public confidence and trust that the gaming industry is free
from criminal or corruptive elements.
Seven years ago when I began reporting
murders, beatings, and robberies at the Vegas Crazy Horse, I said the
atrocities were facilitated by crooked politicians, a few paid
off cops and one judge, and a compromised District
Attorney. My now-confirmed stories infuriated the powers at City
Hall and Piero's. My articles inspired a defamation
lawsuit and a gag order filed against me by Sgro. Both
were dismissed. On October 11, 2002, Mr. Sgro made the following statement
about my reports:
"Virtually every week, Mr. Miller writes an article in the
Tribune, and posts that article on his website, disparaging Mr.
Rizzolo. On some ambitious weeks, he writes two or three of these
articles. I understand the importance of a free press. Mr. Miller is
certainly entitled to his opinion and he is entitled to express that
opinion in print. What Mr. Rizzolo has always objected to is not Mr.
Miller’s negative opinions of him, but of the weekly misstatements of
fact. In the hundreds of articles written by Mr. Miller about Mr.
Rizzolo over the years, one would be hard pressed to find a single one
that was not replete with inaccuracies."
"Misstatements of fact?" Replete with
In the May 15 Las
Vegas SUN, City Hall reporter Dan Kulin asked city spokesman
David Riggleman if Jim DiFiore, manager of the city's Business Service
Division, had any plans to discipline the Crazy Horse Too? In
2004, the city fined Crazy Horse competitor Jack
Galardi one million dollars after his son Michael pleaded guilty to
a felony. In Rizzolo's case, there were eighteen guilty pleas to
felonies, and no city official has yet to mention bringing the Crazy
Horse before the council.
Riggleman's answer to Kulin's
questions sounded very familiar.
"The city of Las Vegas is
aware of recent news accounts regarding the possibility of a federal
plea agreement connected with the Crazy Horse Too ownership..." "When
we receive evidence which would support disciplinary action against one
of our licensees, we always initiate the appropriate administrative
action. If a plea bargain is truly imminent, the city will then request
any information that federal authorities can share with us in order to consider administrative discipline
on this city of Las Vegas business license."
Riggleman made this
statement four years after I asked Mayor Oscar Goodman to bring the
Horse bar up on a disciplinary
action. Goodman refused, and the beatings and robberies
Since then, the
Crazy Horse Too has come before the City Council asking for favors such
as licensing of Al
Rapuano, allowing teenage
girls to work as
strippers, and zoning variances.
The mayor made a brief statement when Rapuano appeared before the
council. Goodman said that he had once represented Rapuano, but the
mayor's stooge, City Attorney Brad Jerbic, obediently stated that it
was long ago and posed no ethical conflict. However, Goodman had never
publicly disclosed that he also represented Rick
Rizzolo when Rizzolo
pleaded guilty to beating Rick
with a baseball bat. Sandlin died three years later of his
injuries. With Goodman's paid help, Rizzolo did not have to serve
jail time. Nor
did Goodman disclose that his current law partner David
Chesnoff represents Crazy Horse manager Vinny Faraci in the
present Federal action.
Goodman's lack of forthrightness inspired a complaint to the Nevada
Commission on Ethics. The complaint was later dismissed, but not before
it inspired Craig Walton, professor and program coordinator of
ethics and policy studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to
tell the Las Vegas SUN
by elected officials in Las Vegas should happen if there could be even
a perception of impropriety.
"I think you should disclose when you know there is room for
eyebrows to go up," Walton said. "There's always innuendo and cynicism
out there and some bad cases that have happened. Some of the people in
the community are really dubious about honesty of government. What do
you do? Maybe disclose a little more just to make it obvious to
everyone and put any doubts to rest."
Now, according to city spokesman
city is waiting for "evidence
which would support disciplinary action" against the bar's
Amazingly, after the Crazy Horse had been the scene of over 700
police responses in just three years including 9 for assaults and 6 for
robberies involving bar employees, Mayor Goodman said the following on
August 5, 2004 when reporters touched a raw nerve during a televised
press conference. After reading Riggleman's statement, it should sound
MICHAEL SQUIRES - LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: This
week Dateline NBC had a program on the Crazy Horse Too...
MAYOR GOODMAN: I did not see that.
LOCAL NEWS STORIES:
videotape of DATELINE NBC was HAND DELIVERED to
Goodman three days prior to the press conference.)
SQUIRES: Some of the
allegations against the club that have been known for some time. Is
there any appetite for a Show Cause Hearing...
SQUIRES: ...against the
club, and why not?
GOODMAN: Ah, I've taken
a position publicly, you know, that's no different than where I was
before. I'm under the impression that there's a federal investigation
that is underway or is taking place, and I'm not going to, ah, screw it
up by having, ah, some kind of hearing in front of the City Council,
ah, until somebody tells me that that is not the case.
SQUIRES: Given the
facts that are known publicly that have been published, moving forward
on that basis wouldn't screw up any...
GOODMAN: No one, no
one's asked that other than "Captain Truth," no one's ask me to ah, I,
I haven't had a request from anybody to have an order to Show Cause.
JON RALSTON - LAS VEGAS
SUN: Steve Miller sends out seven e-mails a day...
GOODMAN: Yea, right...
RALSTON: Give credit...
GOODMAN: I know...but,
I, ah...Steve Miller is, ah, he's afraid of me. I don't wanna, I don't
wanna, I don't wanna scare him. Excuse me...
SQUIRES: Are you
looking for some credible outside source to call for this, or...
GOODMAN: Well I would
would, I would assume that, ah, we have a Business License Department
that I don't agree with on many occasions, ah, and ah, if ah ah they felt there was a need, I
hope they would come forward and bring an order to show... say "Mayor,
we're gonna bring an order to Show Cause." If they do that I'm
certainly not gonna, ah ah, squelch it, that's for sure.
(END OF VERBATIM
Prior to his election as mayor, Oscar
Goodman was famous for charging Mob clients $500,000.00 as
a retainer for his legal services.
It will be interesting to see if Mayor
Goodman runs interference for his former Mob clients now that another
fine is being mentioned. He can always say for the first time that he
has a conflict of interest, and recuse thereby letting his Mayor Pro
Tem officiate at the Show Cause hearing. Of course, if he does
he'll be admitting he should've also recused during previous
occassions when the Crazy Horse received favors from the City Council.
And it remains to be seen if the FBI is finished indicting those public
officials who helped the Crazy Horse be so profitable while causing
VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL, 06/02/06:
TV NEWS STREAMING VIDEO, 06.01/06
KVBC TV NEWS
STREAMING VIDEO, 06/01/06
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