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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:

Federal Judge issues Court Orders requiring
mob attorneys to produce Lisa Rizzolo's
hidden financial records in the Kirk
Henry attempted murder case

Patti & Sgro's credibility questioned
in U.S. Federal Court documents,
and a local judge awards them
$10,000 in the Barrier case

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
July 6, 2009

LAS VEGAS - Last week brought some deserved bad news, and some unfortunate good news for local mobsters and their hired guns.

The June 22, 2009, INSIDE VEGAS column "My Dog Ate My Homework" described problems Plaintiff's attorneys were having trying to obtain records from the mob law firm that jointly represented convicted racketeer Rick Rizzolo and his wife Lisa in their highly questionable 2005 divorce.

The Rizzolo's files are a necessary part of a civil attempted murder lawsuit brought by Kansas tourist Kirk Henry after his neck was broken in 2001 by a Rizzolo employee when he disputed an $88 bar tab at the couple's former topless bar, the infamous Crazy Horse Too.

In Rick Rizzolo's plea bargain, he agreed to pay Henry -- now a quadriplegic -- $10 million dollars in exchange for the feds lightening his prison sentence. Rizzolo was released in less than a year, but welched on his agreement to pay Henry. In the meantime, Rizzolo is regularly seen gambling and partying in Vegas' most posh venues, while Henry struggles to pay his life long medical bills and support his family.

Like Ruth Madoff, Lisa Rizzolo also argued that she had nothing to do with obtaining ill begotten assets, and should be allowed to keep her marital share. But last week bore sad news for both women. Mrs. Madoff was stripped of her assets in a New York Federal Court, and Mrs. Rizzolo is expected to suffer the same fate in the near future.

A hearing was set on Henry's Motions to Compel local law firms Patti, Sgro & Lewis; and Lionel Sawyer & Collins to produce documents, and to discuss Dean Patti's refusal to submit to Deposition to aid in discovery of the whereabouts of the Rizzolo's hidden assets.  The hearing was to take place on July 13, however, United States Magistrate Judge George Foley saw no need to waste the court's time hearing more ad nauseum arguments why Rick and Lisa's financials are protected by attorney-client privilege, and why their attorneys are protected from testifying.

Here are excerpts from Judge Foley's ORDER that may signal the beginning of the end of the Rizzolo's asset protection scam.

But Judge Foley's Patti & Sgro ORDER was not the end of the bad news for the Rizzolos.

In a separate ORDER issued last week, Judge Foley compelled asset protection lawyer John Dawson to also comply with Henry's subpoenas, and that his attorney-client privilege is similarly waived. Dawson must immediately turn over any documents he produced that helped the Rizzolos hide their assets in off shore accounts through his association with Southpac Offshore Planning Institute, and provide documents relating to transfers of cash to Rick Rizzolo he and Lisa authorized from those off shore accounts.

The June 8, 2009 INSIDE VEGAS column "Hiding behind his ex-wife's skirt tails" explains how asset protection attorney John Dawson tried to hide the Rizzolo's fortune at the same time his brother, Federal Court Judge Kent Dawson, was handing down feather light sentences to 15 of the Rizzolo's former employees without disclosing that his sibling was one of the Rizzolo's lawyers and their corporation's Resident Agent.

The column also contains part of the verbatim transcript of Lisa Rizzolo's June 5, 2009 Deposition. In it, she was forced to reveal financial information neither she nor her husband ever wanted to be made public.

Court records indicate Rick and Lisa Rizzolo paid Lionel Sawyer & Collins, and Southpac over $2 million dollars for John Dawson's asset protection services -- money they may soon realize was a less-than-sound investment.

Now hopefully the whereabouts of Lisa Rizzolo's assets will be discovered and seized by the court in order to pay the couple's over $27 million in unpaid court ordered debts.

That's the good news. Now here's the bad.

On March 31, 2009, another Clark County District Court case that had a direct relationship to Kirk Henry's was closed.

On September 19, 2000, Rick Rizzolo sued his next door neighbor James "Buffalo Jim" Barrier for Defamation. Barrier counter sued Rizzolo for Harassment and Civil Racketeering.

On August 22, 2007, District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez infuriated Rizzolo by ordering him to place $1 million dollars in the court's escrow account to be awarded in the event Barrier won his Harassment suit. It was evident the judge felt Barrier had a sound case, and that Rizzolo might not pay a judgment.

On April 5, 2008, the day following Rick Rizzolo's release from prison, James Barrier died under mysterious circumstances.

Immediately following Barrier's death, Patti & Sgro filed a Writ in the Nevada Supreme Court to have his Harassment case dismissed and the million dollar ORDER canceled. The Justices remanded the case back to newly elected District Court Judge Linda Bell.

Judge Linda Bell on March 31, 2009, issued an ORDER citing "defects" in Barrier's case, and ordered $10,000 be taken from the first proceeds of his family's estate auction.

The money is to be paid to Patti & Sgro.

Judge Linda Bell is the daughter of current District Court Judge and former District Attorney Stewart Bell. Stewart Bell was elected Clark County District Attorney in January 1994.

On August 4, 1995, the body of long haul trucker Scott David Fau was found next to the railroad tracks behind the Crazy Horse Too. According to witnesses, Fau was beaten to death by Crazy Horse employees.

The new District Attorney refused to prosecute.

In October 2001, Las Vegas Metro Police detectives spent over two hours searching the Crazy Horse following Kirk Henry's beating and left with credit card receipts, personnel information, and a few security camera videotapes according to Lt. John Alamshaw of Metro's robbery unit. The evidence was turned over to the District Attorney for prosecution.

Even after Metro gathered incriminating evidence and identified the assailant as a Crazy Horse Too manager, DA Stewart Bell did not prosecute, and the violence continued.

After serving two terms as District Attorney, Stewart Bell in 2003 was elected  to a seat on the Clark County District Court bench. Just before his swearing in, he appeared on a TV program I was guest hosting  I took the opportunity to ask him why he didn't prosecute the five cases brought to him by Metro involving employees of the Crazy Horse Too?

Bell told the TV audience that he found Probable Cause in all five cases, but was turning the files over to his successor David Roger. Roger's first official act as DA was to trash all five Crazy Horse Too cases including Henry's. The Federal government then stepped in.

Six years after becoming a judge, Stewart Bell's popularity helped his daughter be elected to the District Court. One of her first official acts  was to award Rick Rizzolo's attorneys $10,000 from the Barrier estate.

Barrier discovered an injured Kirk Henry on the pavement in front of the Crazy Horse on October 21, 2001. Barrier called paramedics. He also photographed the crime scene. Barrier's photographs contradicted Patti & Sgro's defense that Henry arrived at the bar with his neck already broken.

Barrier's photos were shown on NBC News and Dateline NBC. Their showing, and Barrier's account of a long series of similar beatings and robberies, inspired the FBI investigation that permanently shut down the Crazy Horse, and imprisoned its owner.

                        Kirk Henry being transported
   (Photo by Buffalo Jim Barrier shown on DATELINE NBC)

                         Police and paramedics respond to Henry's beating at Crazy Horse Too
                                 (Photo by Buffalo Jim Barrier shown on DATELINE NBC)

             Judge Linda Bell                               Judge Stewart Bell

Buffalo Jim Barrier was not a man of great means. He was a humble auto mechanic who had the misfortune of owning a business located next door to the mob.

Then-DA Stewart Bell turned his back when police asked him to prosecute violent crimes at Rizzolo's business, and Bell's daughter Linda ordered $10,000 be taken from the estate of a man who helped the FBI, and the money be given to Rizzolo's attorneys.  

Now the Patti & Sgro law firm has "in fact, placed its credibility in issue" with the United States Federal Court.

Hopefully, Kirk Henry's attorneys will continue their dogged determination to go after those who acted in "an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy" with the Rizzolos as described below in Henry's FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION:
Case 2:08-cv-00635-PMP-GWF Document 1 Filed 05/16/2008 Page 3 of 7 


(Conspiracy to Defraud) 

7. Beginning on or about May 24, 2005, the Defendants Rick and Lisa Rizzolo together, and with each other and with third persons acting in concert with them (believed to include attorneys and accountants whose names are not presently known but who will be added as parties once their identities are confirmed) did combine, conspire, confederate and agree together and with each other to defraud the Plaintiffs and each of them. 

13. In an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy, Rick Rizzolo and Lisa Rizzolo, together with third parties believed to include attorneys and accountants (whose names are not presently known but who will be added as parties once their identities are confirmed), formed a so-called “family trust” and thereafter transferred their assets into the same in an attempt to shield the assets available to compensate the Henrys for their catastrophic injuries.

(Emphasis added by Steve Miller)

If they are added as "parties," Dean Patti, Tony Sgro, and John Dawson will be forced to defend their collusive actions in Federal Court for all to see.

Meanwhile,  the Bells will have to live with their conscience.

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