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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:

Rizzolo's lawyers dangle Kirk Henry
like a carrot in front of City Council

Councilwoman punished for challenging Mayor

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miler
July 31, 2006

Kirk Henry's 12-year-old son, Jared, checks his father's blood pressure
after Henry felt light-headed. Since his neck was broken, problems with
low blood pressure have threatened Henry's life repeatedly.

LAS VEGAS - On September 20, 2001, computer salesman Kirk Henry became a quadriplegic at the hands of a Crazy Horse Too bouncer over a disputed $88 bar tab.

On September 6, 2006, almost five years later, the Las Vegas City Council will decide whether the Crazy Horse strip club should be allowed to remain in business.

"A man leaving the bar drunk did trip, but in no was was this man beaten," stated bar owner Rick Rizzolo following my breaking the story of the beating in 2001.  Shortly thereafter, Rizzolo sued me for defamation, and his attorney made a motion to gag me from further reporting the Henry incident or any others involving the beatings of club patrons. I ignored Rizzolo's legal threats and continued reporting.

Had it not been for Crazy Horse next door neighbor Buffalo Jim Barrier taking photos of Henry being placed into an ambulance on that September morning, Rizzolo may have gotten away with saying the injury did not happen on his property, or that Henry arrived at the bar with an allready-broken neck.

Over the years, the Crazy Horse has been practically immune when it comes to police or paramedic's incident reports. Dozens of beatings have been reported by victims, but few have ever been officially reported. The reason is that paramedics and cops are comped with free booze and girls if they flash their badge at the door.

Barrier's ambulance photo forced a chain of events that lead to a segment on Dateline NBC, and the convictions of 17 Crazy Horse operatives for racketeering and tax evasion. It also exposed, indirectly, an unsavory link between Oscar Goodman, the Mayor of Las Vegas, and the men who profit from the crimes committed at the Crazy Horse Too. Had Barrier not taken the picture placing a time and date on the incident, Mr. Henry's case would most likely have been ignored by LV Police as are most others.

Because Henry hired former Federal Prosecutors as his Nevada attorneys, the U.S. Attorney was alerted and a full fledged FBI investigation followed.

After five years of undercover investigation and thousands of hours of taped surveillance, the "Power Company," the corporation that runs the club, in June had no choice other than to plead guilty to being "an enterprise engaged in racketeering activity between January 1, 2000, and 2005."
The corporate directors consisting of Rick Rizzolo, his father, brother, and sister pleaded guilty through their corporation to "extorting payment from patrons through explicit or implicit threats of violence, or thorough actual use of force and physical violence against patrons to force the patrons to pay the disputed payment." In the plea bargain, Rizzolo's relatives were not charged with a crime, though Ralph Rizzolo in February was arrested for Trafficking in Controlled Substance and will go to trial in October.

(L to R) Bart, Ralph, and Annette Rizzolo photo by Mike Christ)
There's no dispute that the Crazy Horse has blatantly violated  Las Vegas Municipal Code Section 6.02.360 that clearly states: "The regulations contained in this Chapter involve, to the highest degree the economic, social, physical and moral well-being of the residents and taxpayers of the City. The sale or other disposition of alcoholic beverages is not a matter of right but of privilege, which would otherwise be unlawful if it were not exercised pursuant to a license. This privilege may be denied, revoked, conditioned, suspended or subjected to any other disciplinary action by the City in the exercise of its police powers for the protection of the safety, welfare, health, peace and morals of the residents and taxpayers thereof."

That being the case, how could anyone say the Crazy Horse deserves to stay open? Ask Mayor Goodman.

A few Crazy Horse Too victims:
        Scott David Fau (deceased), Paul Russo, Jermaine Simieou, Eban Kostbar, Eddie (last name withheld by request), Kirk Henry

                                    More Crazy Horse victims, 2001 - 2003 (Photos by Buffalo Jim Barrier)

There have been hundreds of reported beatings by Crazy Horse Too employees, mostly based on club patrons refusing to pay inflated credit card tabs.

In a message dated 7/17/2006 7:29:09 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, (Camille Fau) writes:
Steve: My husband (Scott David Fau) was being beaten (to death) outside the (Crazy Horse Too) almost 11 years ago. The police were called. Then the only difference is they did show, but did nothing to protect my husband. It will be 11 years on Aug. 4.  Camille

The problem became so acute that in
court documents filed by former federal organized crime prosecutors Donald Campbell and Stan Hunterton, they stated: "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," "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."

Now, Goodman wants to let the bar stay open -- to keep its value until it can be sold to pay over $7 million in debts to the IRS, and $10 million to the family of Kirk Henry.

In Goodman's scheme, the Rizzolo family consisting of Bart, Ralph, and Annette -- all of whom through their corporation pleaded guilty to racketeering, extortion, and tax evasion -- would amazingly be allowed to continue running the club for another year while it's advertised for sale. However, Goodman isn't concerned that the same family members pleaded guilty to skimming, and that Ralph Rizzolo was charged with Trafficking in Controlled Substance after the fact.

I'm continually asked how any elected board could find such low lifes suitable to run a privileged licensed business? I can only answer;" This is the New Las Vegas!" "Sin City." "What happens here is supposed to stay here."

If the Crazy Horse is allowed to remain open under the control of the Rizzolos, the extortion and skimming will obviously continue, and Ralph will continue peddling drugs to dancers and patrons -- they just don't know any other way to make a living! And look at the message it will send to other privileged license holding businesses: That anything goes including prostitution, drug sales, extortion, and tax evasion. Do it, and the City will look the other way.

The other consideration is the extreme liability faced by taxpayers in the event the Council takes no action and another person is injured or killed. The City has a cap of $50,000 on liability claims. However, if it can be proven that gross negligence on the part of the City caused injury or death, the cap can be penetrated exposing taxpayers to millions of dollars in legal fees and judgments.

This is something that recently caused rumors to circulate around City Hall that one of the usually obedient Council members had broken rank and is going to make the motion on September 6, to permanently close the Crazy Horse Too.

This is not the first time Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian acted independent of the Mayor and his Council. In July 2005, Tarkanian stopped the Council from gifting golf course developer Billy Walters a $50 million dollar windfall at taxpayer expense when he asked to have a deed restriction lifted so he could convert one of his courses into a compact lot residential subdivision.

Tarkanian red flagged when she learned Walters bought the 160 acres of once-taxpayer owned land for only $5,600 per acre in 1999, and now wants to up its value to over $50 million dollars while leaving the taxpayers out in the cold by offering the City only $7 million for changing the deed.

Walters was furious with Tarkanian, and so was his former criminal defense attorney, Mayor Oscar Goodman!

Tarkanian had stepped over the line. Goodman vowed to put her in her place.

I have a stake in this game because I was responsible for clearing the way for Lois to get elected. In 2003, I helped run the campaign that unseated disgraced City Councilman Michael McDonald, then helped to recall his replacement --  making way for Tarkanian to win during the recall election.

Lois Tarkanian hugs her husband, former UNLV men's basketball
coach Jerry Tarkanian, after the results were announced in the
City Council Ward 1 recall election.
(Ethan Miller / LAS VEGAS SUN)

Now, Councilwoman Tarkanian is doing the right thing by reportedly demanding the closure of the Crazy Horse. She reportedly told her aides that the Boston Catholic Church, and Orange County, California have gone bankrupt after losing law suits in Federal Court, and that she does not want to expose her constituents in the event the Crazy Horse is allowed to remain open and taxpayers are forced to pay private lawyers to defend the City Council's foolish action.

In total contradiction, the Council went out of its' way to close Crazy Horse competitor Treasures in 2004. Then in 2005, the council imposed a million dollar fine on another CH competitor, Jack Galardi.

In the Treasures matter, Mayor Goodman prudently declared a conflict of interest and abstained because his lawyer son represented the Davari brothers who own the business. However, the council still closed Treasures. The Davaris sued the city and soon reopened.

Today, Goodman's law partner David Chesnoff is representing Crazy Horse manager Vinny Faraci, and Goodman once represented CH owner Rick Rizzolo, and CH manager Albert Rapuano along with Rizzolo's best friend Joey Cusumano, and Joey "The Clown" Lombardo whose brother Rocco is a CH floor man. You'd think there was a conflict of interests, but not as far as the Mayor's concerned.

Goodman insists on voting at the upcoming Show Cause hearing and discussing the matter in advance with reporters. Meanwhile, he continues to protect his former and present clients even after I filed a complaint with the Nevada Commission on Ethics.

To him, its that important to pay back his Mob clients!

On July 13 at his weekly press conference, Goodman told reporters he will vote on Sept. 6 to keep the Crazy Horse open. Goodman said that the carnage at the Crazy Horse is not as "egregious" as Michael Galardi bribing politicians. At no time did he say he would be open minded when the police, city attorney, and witnesses testify at the Sept. 6 hearing. He just said his mind is made up, and ended his remarks with "Tell Steve Miller he can suck my big toe!"

What's the difference between the Galardis and the Rizzolos? The Galardis never extorted, beat up, or killed their customers. But most important, they were never Goodman Law Firm clients.

That's the key. Goodman is still a criminal defense attorney when it comes to his firm's former and present clients. They come before the safety and well being of the community in his mind.

"That is a lot different than bribing a politician. That's the integrity of the system. This is just a business practice that's entirely unacceptable," Goodman said on Thursday, July 21. Then he repeated his claim that Rizzolo was less culpable than Galardi.

In his plea to allow his clients to remain in business, Crazy Horse attorney Tony Sgro, a Goodman protégé, tried to comfort the Council by saying Federal authorities will continue to monitor activities at the bar to make sure no other acts of violence occur. However, that doesn't seem to be the case. Violence is a way of life at the Crazy Horse.

From a CH2 insider:

Steve: I know that Rizzolo paid for a bogus appraisal reflecting a $50 million dollars value for CH2 when actually the real value is around $15 million. He's in collusion with numerous parties who help him continue this racketeering enterprise.  He uses these appraisals to keep the Federal Government off him as well as Henry's attorneys. I know there was a huge fist fight two weeks ago between the bouncers and three Samoans.
The mayhem usually starts around 3 or 4 am, that way Barrier would miss it. The bouncers and managers have been instructed by Rick Rizzolo and Albert Rapuano to not call the police under any circumstance. If you can not get this place shut down, the government on every level is a joke in this town.
The three Samoans were brutally beat up by convicted felons!  What the f---ck is going on here? The Feds have HUGE LIABILITY as well as The City Council if one of those guys got killed or maimed.
All I know is the fight lasted 20 minutes Sunday the 9 th (of July, 2006) around 3 AM. I saw a lot of blood. If one of those Samoans died who would have been responsible for the death?
It comes down to reasonable cause to show liability -- if you convict a business of racketeering and then let it stay open for business, that is unreasonable because a racketeering business must be shut down.  It is a danger to society
If the Feds or City of Las Vegas don't do their job enforcing their own Codes, they are definitely liable...and I can assure you it will happen again. I just have to stand there and watch, but it turns my stomach because the bouncers seem to be doing it for thrills.
Fau should sue the City of Las Vegas in addition to RIZZOLO in  a Federal lawsuit. Now that would wake up the City when civilians start suing them because of Rizzolo and his friendship with the mayor.
You have this SOB on the ropes, you need to finish him off once and for all. Do not let him squirm out of this with help from Oscar. This is your only chance to knock him out for good.
You are the only legitimate player in Las Vegas and you will be the most feared (even more than Rogich, Goodman, or Greenspun), once you knock out this SOB. Everyone knows it is because of your diligence in obtaining justice that this bastard is finally paying for his crimes. The FBI should be paying you an annual salary. 

Name withheld by request

The police are obviously not allowed to respond to 911 calls at the Crazy Horse without the consent of management, or "security" as the dispatchers have referred to them. The FBI may be looking into this abnormally.

"At approximately 9:10 AM on Monday July 17, a customer came in my shop reporting that a women was being beaten in front of the Crazy Horse Too. I went outside and observed a young woman on the ground yelling at three men to stop hurting her. One of the men was Ralph Rizzolo. When Rizzolo saw me and several other men watching, he and two Crazy Horse bouncers lifted the woman up and restrained her in the entrance to the club. At that time I took a photo of the woman being held by a bouncer while she and Ralph Rizzolo yelled at each other. When Ralph saw me taking pictures, the three men dragged the women into the club." -- Notarized statement of Buffalo Jim Barrier

Unidentified bouncer watches as Ralph Rizzolo argues with
woman being restrained
in entrance of Crazy Horse Too. 
( photo by Buffalo Jim Barrier)

"On July 17, at approximately 9:10 AM, my boss Jim Barrier told me to call 911 because a young female was being beaten by several Crazy Horse Too bouncers. I then called 911 and the dispatcher told me she already had a call and had already dispatched officers to the scene. No police officers ever showed up." -- Notarized statement of Charles Downs
Rick Rizzolo will be sentenced on September 15.
Ralph Rizzolo is part of the three member team of Rizzolo family members U.S. District Court Chief Judge Philip Pro ruled on June 1, would be allowed to operate the bar for one year or until its sold -- unless he's sent to jail in October.
The Las Vegas City Council in a separate action can decide whether to revoke the liquor license of the bar based on the guilty pleas of the holding corporation, its directors, and 16 bar employees. Persons convicted of felonies are not permitted to hold privileged business license in the City of Las Vegas. If the Council takes the proper action, it will supersede the ruling of Judge Pro.
Or if the Council allows the Crazy Horse to remain open under management of persons who admitted being involved in racketeering, extortion, tax evasion, and possible drug trafficking, it will be the first time in history that such persons are allowed to exercise the privileges granted with a liquor license in the City of Las Vegas.

Goodman, et al, use the excuse that if the bar is closed, its sale ability will be ruined. Then, the IRS, and especially the Henrys, may never see their money, therefore Goodman's crew wants to let the place stay open to continue business as usual.

On July 28, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith explained it this way:  "Shutting down the Crazy Horse Too has been a no-brainer for several years, but in the wake of his plea deal, Rizzolo effectively is now the government's partner. The unanswered questions are: Will Rizzolo be in position to pay the $17 million in fines and settlements he owes the federal government if the council shuts him down? Will the council have an ounce of credibility if it doesn't heavily fine him and shut him down?"

But in the July 14, Review-Journal article "Mayor defends club owners," Goodman said, "...the crimes employees and owners of the Crazy Horse Too Gentleman's Club pleaded guilty to didn't merit the maximum fines the city could impose."

"Gentleman's Club?" Since when is the Crazy Horse referred to as a "gentleman's club?" 

Some of the "Gentlemen" of the Crazy Horse Too
(L to R)  Greg Liosi, Bobby D’Apice,
Joe Blasko,
Ray Randazzo, Mo McKenna,
Vinnie Faraci

By calling the brutal place a "gentleman's club," it again shows Goodman's bias toward his law firm's former and present clients, and gives even more reason why he should abstain during the September 6 license revocation hearing.  
Both Billy Walters and Crazy Horse owner Rick Rizzolo are friends and former law clients of Goodman. Because they once paid his firm hundreds of thousands of dollars, he acts like he's still their criminal defense attorney.

Now Goodman wants to discredit Councilwoman Tarkanian before either of his former clients come before his City Council asking for very special favors.

Tarkanian says she's a victim of payback
Jul. 27, 2006
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian said a city redistricting consultant told her that her gerrymandered ward was political payback from her council colleagues, meant to teach her a lesson... Tarkanian has been on the short end of a number of votes, including her vote against the Bill Walters deal...

When I heard of Goodman's scheme to attack Tarkanian's credibility, I responded by making 20,000 automated telephone calls to voters in her district::

That didn't sway the mayor who became even more committed to discrediting the brave Councilwoman.

For this reason, yesterday I asked a local attorney to file a Writ to stop the City Council from further punishing Tarkanian and her Ward One constituents.

In the meantime, while Tarkanian is attacked by Crazy Horse supporters, Judge Nancy Saitta has come under fire. Saitta has been accused of being in the Rizzolo's pocket, and has graced these pages on several occasions.

Group plans recall effort to remove two judges
By Sam Skolnik
July 29, 2006

Juli Star-Alexander said she will file notices Monday with the Nevada secretary of state and the Clark County registrar of voters to try to remove District Judge Nancy Saitta and Family Court Judge Cheryl Moss... The recall petitions will be available to sign at the auto repair shop owned by James "Buffalo Jim" Barrier, who has indirectly been involved in complaints filed against Saitta with the state Commission on Judicial Discipline. Star-Alexander said she doesn't know Barrier or his associate Steve Miller, who has filed at least two complaints against Saitta. "I've never spoken with them," she said. Saitta said she was dubious: "It certainly speaks volumes to me. I would suggest there's some connection there."


The conclusion to his sordid story should come on September 6. It will either be that the mayor and his pals are stopped from harboring the criminal activities at the Crazy Horse Too, or the wisdom and guts of Councilwoman Tarkanian will be rewarded with the final closure of the criminal enterprise. In the meantime, Rizzolo's support people like Saitta are being exposed. Based on my complaint, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline last week sent her a letter cautioning her to be more careful in her interactions with persons such as Rizzolo and his attorneys.

No matter what happens on Sept. 6, the saddest part is seeing Kirk Henry and his family being dangled like a carrot in front of the Council to encourage them to vote to keep the Crazy Horse open long enough to pay him for his injuries -- albeit, long enough to harm more people like Henry. A sad irony.

If this occurs, there is the distinct possibility there will be other Kirk Henrys, and that the money generated during the Crazy Horse's last year under the control of the Rizzolos will never be accounted for.

The only logical move for the City Council to take is to shut the place down on September 6, and send a clear message to the Federal Court that all of Rick Rizzolo's assets must immediately be forfeited and auctioned to cover most of his liabilities. Otherwise the carnage and skimming will be allowed to continue leaving the IRS and Henry's with little or nothing, while the Rizzolos and Goodman make a laughing stock of our criminal justice system.

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