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
(AmericanMafia.com 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
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
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
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
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
reported that "Canico will take it over and try to find a buyer on
Then on July 2, 2011, the Review-Journal
"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
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
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.
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
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
|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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.'
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: http://www.americanmafia.com/Inside_Vegas/6-27-11_Inside_Vegas.html)
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
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.