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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:

Information about the new owner of the Crazy Horse Too strip club
and how he obtained Security Pacific Bank's loan collateral
that Rick and Lisa Rizzolo used to steal $5 million

                      Abraham Assil
      ( photo by Mike Christ)

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
July 4, 2011

LAS VEGAS - A court ordered auction was held on July 1, 2011 in Las Vegas to sell the remains of the infamous Crazy Horse Too strip club and its real estate.

The auction closed with no bidders present, therefore the property was returned by default to the man who paid a reported $3 million for the first deed of trust. The lack of interest in the property may have been the result of four years of closure, and a reputation for robberies, beatings, and at least one murder during the years the club operated under the direction of former owner Rick Rizzolo.

According to the auctioneer, the fee simple title to the defunct Crazy Horse Too business and property was transferred by default to the "beneficiary" when no one made opposing bids. He is the same investor who bought collateral used to secure bad debts from the failed Security Pacific Bank of Los Angeles, collateral which included the closed strip club.

The beneficiary is Abraham Assil, managing member of the Los Angeles-based Canico Capital Group.

Security Pacific Bank lost $5 million dollars from a highly questionable 2005 loan it made to former Crazy Horse Too owners Rick and Lisa Rizzolo, money that the Rizzolos immediately transferred to the Cook Islands with the help of attorney John Dawson, brother of U.S. Judge Kent Dawson. The $5 Million has never been recovered since it was transferred off shore, so the FDIC was saddled with making Security Pacific Bank's depositors whole while the Rizzolos enjoy the fruits of what is considered to be one their greatest scams.

Following the bank's demise, the FBI tried to locate the Rizzolo's $5 million dollar haul.  According to FBI Special Agent Anthony J. Mace: "On October 26, 2005, RIZZOLO signed a $5,000,000.00 in United States currency note which was secured against the underlying real property on November 3, 2005. The FBI has not been able to track or locate the $5,000,000.00 in United States currency."

No one knew the whereabouts of the $5 million until attorneys for beating victim Kirk Henry deposed Lisa Rizzolo who inadvertently revealed the existence of her and her ex-husband's assets hidden in the Cook Islands out of the reach of their creditors.

Regarding the future of the Crazy Horse Too, on Feb. 24, 2011, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that "Canico will take it over and try to find a buyer on its own."

Then on July 2, 2011, the Review-Journal reported, "Assil left open the possibility that his company might try to persuade the city to rethink zoning laws that now prohibit a strip club there.

'It's something that we're going to have to evaluate,' Assil said.

The company's Las Vegas lawyer, Michael Mushkin, added, 'I think it's clearly in their best interests to at least try that. It's pretty obvious that without that entitlement, the property's going to have a substantially lesser value than it would with it,' " as reported by the Review-Journal.

When the City of Las Vegas closed the Crazy Horse Too on June 30, 2007, the City Council intended that the closure would be permanent based on the club's history of violent incidents, and the expiration of adult use zoning which prohibits multiple adult uses within 1,500 feet of one another.

But several years later, Security Pacific Bank went belly up, and the Crazy Horse Too collateral was purchased for fifty-one cents on the dollar - $2,523,573.67. For the dilapidated property to be worth anywhere close to what Assil paid for it, the Crazy Horse Too would have to be re-zoned and re-licensed as a strip club.

After Assil acquired the bank's discounted collateral, the U.S. Attorney and Kirk Henry filed strong objections claiming "Canico (Assil) bought the Rizzolo debt at a discount, it did not fully pay off the debt, and junior interest holders would be prejudiced because Canico will hold a foreclosure sale where it will credit bid the amount of its own interest and everyone down the line will get nothing."

However, U.S. Judge Philip Pro disagreed and ruled: "The Court concludes that time has come. The United States has had a reasonable opportunity to sell the property. Regardless of the reasons, it has not been able to do so. There does not appear to be a reasonable likelihood the United States will be able to sell the property through a negotiated sale in the foreseeable future. The Court therefore will impose a deadline by which the property must be sold."

Now, it's entirely possible that for the right applicant, incoming Mayor Carolyn Goodman could arrange to change the adult use zoning ordinance to allow a new adult use within a lessor distance from other adult uses. (The Crazy Horse Too is located less than !,500 feet from Cheetahs strip club which under the present zoning prohibits another adult use nearby unless the 1,500 foot separation rule is changed.)

This begs the question of whether Abraham Assil is in any way associated with Rick Rizzolo or any of his former Crazy Horse Too crew including Rizzolo's best friend and financier of his legal defense Fred Doumani?

Assil has a clean background, so he must be aware that United States Attorney Daniel Bogden issued a News Release on January 23, 2007 stating: "As part of Rizzolo’s conditions of supervised release and pursuant to his plea agreement, Rizzolo is not permitted to own or operate or have any involvement with any strip clubs or similar businesses involved in pornography or erotic entertainment or media in the United States and its territories for the rest of his life. Additionally, defendants’ plea agreements require The Power Company, Inc. to sell The Crazy Horse Too by June 1, 2007. The Government has the right to disapprove the sale if the buyer is a close relative or ongoing business partner of Rizzolo’s, is a felon, or has business dealings with organized crime members or groups."

Based on my investigation of Assil, he does not appear to be the type of businessman who would want to besmirch his reputation by becoming a pawn for Rizzolo or his cronies. And, the former owners and operators of the Crazy Horse Too seldom dealt with anyone who was not of Italian heritage, especially a man of Iranian Jewish background like Assil.

Furthermore, according to public records, Assil can buy and sell the likes of Rizzolo, et. al., so why would he want to be associated with infamous members of the mob and ruin his reputation?

                                                        Assil's Los Angeles real estate holdings

Who is Abraham Assil? Here are excerpts from published information about him:
Line forms to recoup millions lost by Namvar: forty investors want $420 million

By Miller, Daniel
Publication: Los Angeles Business Journal 
Date: Monday, February 9 2009 

Namvar's investments include Namwest LLC, a bankrupt residential developer in Phoenix; Park Fifth, a stalled development in downtown Los Angeles that would be the tallest condo tower in the area; and defunct L.A.-based Security Pacific Bank, in whose predecessor Namvar bought a majority share in 1997. 

Namvar's financial woes are the result of the recession and dramatic downturn in the real estate market, but what's unusual is the way he raised substantial sums of his money: The 57-year-old businessman convinced fellow members of his Persian Jewish community in and near Beverly Hills to sign over their money, typically $1 million or more each, with scant knowledge of how the money would be invested and with little recourse or collateral, according to investors. 

Abraham Assil, one of the investors that pushed Namvar into involuntary bankruptcy, is a creditor and a prominent member of the Persian Jewish community. He claims he is owned $5.94 million, according to the filing. 

Assii said he was frustrated in previous attempts to seek repayment, and believes that the bankruptcy action and assigning of a trustee to handle the situation is the best route. 

"You have to understand something about Ezri, the last couple of months have been about information, misinformation and 'disinformation,'" charged Assil. "It has been very difficult to negotiate with him because the end game for him is that if he opens up his books and it becomes transparent it might become detrimental to him." 

Meet The Bernie Madoff of Beverly Hills

Copyright © 2011 Business Insider, Inc.
Elizabeth Segal, The Daily Beast | Aug. 31, 2010

in L.A.'s Iranian-Jewish community believe there’s a high-rolling crook in their midst. Elizabeth Segal investigates how $500 million disappeared without a trace.

In the close-knit community of L.A.’s Iranian-American Jews, anger simmers beneath the surface.

More than $500 million has disappeared, according to a Department of Justice trusteeship report, yet, Ezri Namvar the real-estate agent, banker, and money-lender at the heart of the dramatic, two-year story of the missing millions, has not been indicted, nor has he been stripped of his real-estate license, despite allegations that he bilked hundreds of families out of their savings in an elaborate Ponzi-like scheme.

Iranian Jews Hurt by One of Their Own
By Rebecca Spence
The Jewish Daily Forword
Published January 28, 2009

Peers viewed Namvar, a resident of West L.A.’s tony Brentwood neighborhood, as the embodiment of the American dream. He, or his web of companies, owned a swath of valuable real estate properties in the L.A. area and beyond — including the downtown Marriott Hotel and an office building known as the Wilshire-Bundy Plaza, which was reportedly valued at more than $100 million. But his financial empire began to crumble in November 2008, when Security Pacific Bank, which Namvar had purchased, was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

“Iranian Jews are still very insular after 30 years,” said Pooya Dayanim, president of the L.A.-based Iranian Jewish Public Affairs Committee. “They trusted Namvar because he was a Jew and an Iranian, and he was a known commodity in the community for the past quarter of a century. Iranian Jews prefer to do business with Iranian Jews.”

Assil, 58, is also known for his high profile skirmish with government officials over oil wells located on the campus of Beverly Hills High School. He believes that the wells contribute to health hazards for children including his own who attend the school, and has formed a committee to try to have the wells removed.

Mobsters usually don't create publicity generating citizen committees. They usually try to keep a low profile. Abraham Assil doesn't act like any mobster I've ever written about, so I don't believe he'll fit in with Sin City's most notorious citizens, and his name may never appear in either of our town's two mob museums. Even though he bought the blood soaked Crazy Horse Too, I don't believe he's a member of organized crime.

Now that the Las Vegas Crazy Horse Too has been sold, it legally opens the door for beating victim Kirk Henry, the IRS, and other creditors to go after the Rizzolos secreted Cook Islands assets along with the previously undisclosed $3 million dollar proceeds from the sale of the Philadelphia Crazy Horse Too, to pay for over $27 million in outstanding court ordered debts.

(Editor's note: Steve Miller broke the first and second stories of Kirk Henry's beating, and broke the first story about the Philadelphia Crazy Horse Too.)

The reason the Las Vegas Crazy Horse Too sale is so important is that for years Rizzolo has claimed that his payment of the remaining $9 million restitution to Henry was only contingent on the sale of the Vegas Crazy Horse property according to this July 26, 2006 RELEASE signed by Kirk and Amy Henry.

Since the date of the RELEASE (Settlement Agreement), Rizzolo has tried to use it to stop all progress in Henry's case, and for a time with the help of an overly friendly Clark County District Court Judge, he was totally successful.

On June 30, 2007, Henry's case became temporarily derailed when then-District Court Judge Jackie Glass unconditionally agreed with everything Rizzolo's attorneys wanted, and yelled in court: "Stop, stop, please. I did not draft the settlement agreement. You have to wait for the sale of this business."

Her words stopped all Discovery in their tracks while Henry's case was in her court.

Henry's attorneys tried in vain to convince Judge Glass (left) that the Rizzolo's assets were fraudulently transferred during a suspicious 2005 divorce designed to keep creditors from ever getting paid.

Glass ignored their requests. Her actions forced the Henrys on May 16, 2008 to move their case to U.S. Federal Court and include an action based on the Nevada Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (UFTA).

But Glass was not through doing the Rizzolos favors. In December 2008, she dutifully ruled against the advice of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and refused to incarcerate the Rizzolo's then-26 year old son for stabbing a man in the chest during a botched extortion attempt.

Observers questioned how two cases involving the same family ended up in her court, but she fluffed it off as coincidence.

After almost ruining Kirk Henry's case, and then letting Rizzolo's son go free, Jackie Glass retired from the Clark County District Court bench to replace Nancy Grace on TV's 'Swift Justice.' The majority of Las Vegas attorneys are happy to see her leave.

But the damage she did keeps popping back up in Federal Court when Rizzolo's lawyers repeatedly cite her Order (below) to try to squelch investigations into the whereabouts of his fortune as if Judge Glass has authority over the actions of the Federal Court.

Since removing their case from Glass' court and filing in U.S. Federal Court, the Henrys have finally been allowed to go forward and conduct extensive Discovery subsequently learning of the Rizzolo's fortune stashed in the Cook Islands, and the sale of the Philadelphia Crazy Horse Too for $3 million dollars.

Henry's attorneys turned over their findings to the U.S. Attorney, U.S. Department of Parole and Probation, and the Internal Revenue Service.

Had it not been for the efforts of Kirk Henry's legal team, no one would have been aware of the Cook Islands stash, or the sale of the Philly strip club. Therefore, the Rizzolo's latest moves are a real slap in the face to the Henrys and their attorneys who have spent time and money locating the Rizzolo's hidden assets.

First, Lisa Rizzolo filed a MOTION stating that her ex-husband owed her and other family members over $8 million dollars, and that they should be paid before Kirk Henry gets a dime (see:

In response, on June 6, 2011, Kirk Henry filed a MOTION asking for an Injunction to keep the Rizzolos from paying relatives, or transferring their now known assets from the Cook Islands to another off shore haven to avoid further detection.

But the real insult came on June 22, 2011 when Rick filed a MOTION to allow him to begin negotiating with the IRS before paying Henry. In it he says he will transfer the proceeds of the Philadelphia Crazy Horse Too sale to the Feds before Henry in order to satisfy his obligation to pay millions in back taxes, penalties, and interest.

The irony is that it was Henry who paid his legal team to discover the Philadelphia strip club sale!  Had Judge Glass remained in charge and prohibited Henry from conducting a judgment debtor exam, the Philly sale would still be secret, and Rizzolo could not use it as a carrot to entice the IRS to make a deal, and would most likely be forced to pay his taxes from his Cook Islands stash.

In response to Rizzolo's MOTION, Henry's attorneys filed this scathing reply: "Rizzolo's scheme is even more preposterous when one considers that the Henrys discovered the Philadelphia sale in the first place and brought it to the Government's attention. Indeed, it is undisputed that the Department of Parole and Probation, US attorneys office, and the IRS would have no knowledge of Rizzolo's deceitful financial transactions without the Henry's expenditure of time and resources. Rizzolo certainly would not be requesting the chance to assign approximately $1.3 million to the IRS in repayment of his substantial tax debt. To be clear, the Henrys do not dispute the IRS's entitlement to the funds owed by Rizzolo. That said, to completely freeze the Henrys out of the proceeds from the Philadelphia sale would offend the basic notions of equity and fair play inherent in the federal judicial system."

The timing of Rizzolo's MOTION is also suspect since he's scheduled to appear in Federal Court on July 20 for final arguments as to why he should not be sent back to prison for violating the conditions of his supervised release. If the Court grants him leave to begin negotiating with the IRS, it will probably mean that his return to prison will be put on hold until the negotiations are complete.

Will U.S. Judge Philip Pro let the IRS take proceeds rightfully owed to Kirk Henry?

Will the Court postpone Rizzolo's probable return to prison so he can bargain with the IRS?

Will the City of Las Vegas allow the Crazy Horse Too to reopen?

Upon close examination, it appears that the buyer of the Crazy Horse Too would blend with members of the old Crazy Horse Too regime like oil blends with water.

Even if Rick is sent back to prison, it's too obvious that Kirk Henry won't get paid until Lisa Rizzolo and those who aided and abetted her in hiding her and her husband's ill gotten fortune, are indicted.

In the meantime, It seems that Mr. Assil and 40 others in the Beverly Hills Persian Jewish community were duped by Brentwood businessman Ezri Namvar into investing in the now-defunct Security Pacific Bank.

(Editor's note: On October 30, 2005, Steve Miller sent Security Pacific Bank an email warning them they were loaning $5 million to a crook.)

After studying Assil's background, I currently believe he never intended to operate a strip club, and is not interested in being involved with Rick Rizzolo or his cronies.

Perhaps one of my daily E-Brief readers said it best: "Steve: When you look into this, you'll find that the people who call themselves Persian Americans are tough businessmen, but no gangsters. Persian Jewry are the locus for incredible riches. Very big in New York City's 47th Street diamond center. A group that would spit on the likes of Rizzolo, et .al.  Way out of his class.  Don't leap to assumptions. It looks like Assil got screwed by a slickster, and is now just trying to get his money back."

That said, the only way justice will be served in this case is when Kirk Henry gets paid what he's been owed since September 2001 when his neck was broken by one of Rick and Lisa Rizzolo's goons.

And I steadfastly believe that Rick Rizzolo is being protected based on a long term friendship between one of his attorneys who is a business partner of a U.S. Senator with connections in the U.S. Attorney General's office, and a Federal Court Judge the Senator appointed for life who doesn't want to be embarrassed by the mob connections of his attorney brother.

* 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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