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
got to be a way to get back at
people who file lawsuits." "There
has never been a suit filed that we haven't beaten and I'm hoping our
record will stay that way. - Bart
Rizzolo on Camille Fau's wrongful death
VEGAS by Steve Miller
August 27, 2007
(L. to R.) Attorney
Dean Patti assists Mayor Oscar Goodman at a hearing to permit
girls to strip in city topless bars. Attorney Tony Sgro with Vinny
Bart Rizzolo during 2003
FBI raid of Crazy Horse (AmericanMafia.com
photo by Mike Christ).
LAS VEGAS - This has been a bad week
for imprisoned racketeer Rick Rizzolo.
In last week's INSIDE
VEGAS, I disclosed FBI Special Agent Anthony
telling of Rizzolo's success in hiding personal assets. On Sunday,
Sun reported "Crazy
Horse Too owner's millions eluding the feds. Strip
club owner's ex-wife does well in
the Sun Editorial "Get tough with
Rizzolo," opined that Rizzolo's personal assets should be
pay his judgments, especially the $9 million plus $86,000 in interest
he still owes beating
victim Kirk Henry, in the event the Crazy Horse does not sell or
for less than what he owes. Tuesday's Review-Journal column by John
L. Smith reverberated, "Incarcerated
topless bar mogul faces
deadline to sell Crazy Horse Too."
much prodding, the
City of Las Vegas last week finally got around to asking the U.S.
Federal Court to
collect the taxpayer's two million dollar fine from Rizzolo. After his
conviction for racketeering and
tax evasion in 2006, the City Council fined him $2,192,000, but made no
effort to collect until last week after learning of his hiding assets. Now, another $2+ million dollars has
officially been added to other claims against the Rizzolo's personal
fortune totaling around $28 million to date including the following
Tuesday, Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzales
agreed with Buffalo
Jim Barrier's attorneys
Gus Flangas and Kim Price of the Flangas McMillan Law Group
and upheld her decision allowing Barrier to place a $1
million dollar lien on the shut down topless bar. On Wednesday, the LV Review-Journal headline
blared, "Judge rules against
Imprisoned strip club owner ordered to put
$1 million in escrow." (Check out reader's comments below
at 2 PM, Barrier
reported that U. S. Department of Justice Deputy Leonard
Briskman, Deputy Chief for Business Management, U.S. Marshall's
Service, Asset Forfeiture Office, Washington, D.C. and several of his
deputies visited the jinxed Crazy Horse Too property.
While there, Deputy Briskman
interviewed Barrier in his next door auto repair facility. According to
questioned him about his lease which has two years remaining, the
amount of rent, and to whom he pays his rent. On Friday,
John L. Smith mentioned the visit in his Review-Journal column,
nosing around the Crazy Horse Too."
How did Rick Rizzolo end up in even bigger trouble after being convicted
of racketeering and tax evasion?
Crazy Horse attorneys Dean Patti and Tony Sgro of the prestigious firm
Sgro were always seen standing by their
client's side through thick and thin. But now after his convenient
conviction, and questions about hidden assets, when cases involving
Rizzolo come before a judge, one of their junior partners shows up
ill-prepared and invariably loses.
It all began when
Rick and Lisa Rizzolo hired the same
attorney, Dean Patti, to
handle their hastily planned 2005 divorce three weeks after Rick began
plea negotiations with the Feds and two years after Kirk Henry filed
his attempted murder lawsuit. The divorce was held in the court
of the Honorable Steven
Jones (mug shot on left). Family
Court Judge Jones has himself been in trouble
lately for allegedly beating up his girlfriend, so he can surely
empathize with Mr. and Mrs. Rizzolo's dilemma.
I believe Patti concocted a scheme to allow the Rizzolos to hide their
assets and the honorable judge went along. The scheme involved a straw
man to fool the Federal
Judge and City Council into letting the bar stay open for an extra year
so it could purportedly be sold. During that time, the Rizzolos would
transfer or hide their assets while the Crazy Horse was being skimmed
to death. The straw man's attorney was Mayor Oscar Goodman's law
Brown who is alleged to have ties to organized crime.
The straw man's activities would eventually be revealed, but only after
millions in cash and unpaid sales and payroll taxes were missing along
employee's health insurance premiums. In the meantime, the Rizzolos had
to hide away their cash, and refinance all their holdings to capture
the equity and take it out of the country.
It would now be prudent for the Federal Government to immediately go to
the MGM, Caesars Palace,
and Palms casino cages, and open Rizzolo's
safety deposit boxes before he can have them emptied.
When you examine all this weirdness, it makes you wonder who's the
mastermind behind such nonsense? Who would have let such a fortune slip
from his fingers while his family's name is dragged through the mud?
Enter Bartholomew Rizzolo, the 70s something
patriarch of the Rizzolo clan.
The following may give you some insight about the elder Rizzolo's
In the affidavit of
Robert L. Westphal, it states: "I am an owner and operator of a
business, located at 2201 Industrial Road, Las Vegas, Nevada, known as
Don and Lee's Trim Shop, an awning contractor business." "That the
patrons of Crazy Horse Too scatter trash and garbage consisting of
greeting cards of the dancers, used condoms, drug paraphernalia
consisting of used needles and empty 'baggies,' discarded beer bottles,
liquor glasses and pornography of various types. Recently, I arrived at
my business to find my parking lot again, particularly soiled with the
above items. I went to the Crazy Horse Too and spoke with Bart Rizzolo.
I asked if be would send someone to my property to clean my parking
lot. Mr. Rizzolo refused to do so. I told him I would sweep it up and
bring it down to Crazy Horse Too and dump it out. He replied that, if I
did, he would 'blow my f---ing head off.'"
This is the same Bart Rizzolo who failed to show up at his son's
sentencing, but was in court last week to try to fend off Barrier's
million dollar lien. Also, while the Crazy Horse sits dark and his son
in prison, Bart is seen at the shuttered bar on a daily basis
cleaning the place and bragging that it's about to reopen.
Bart's words at the top of this column may be about to come back to
haunt him. The widow of long haul trucker Scott David Fau has secured a
new attorney and is expected to take her failed wrongful death case to
Federal Court in the near future.
Nancy M. Saitta, one of Rizzolo's close
presided over the botched 2003 wrongful death trial and was accused of
killing Mrs. Fau's chances by advising the jury they could not consider
blunt force trauma as Scott Fau's cause of death even though he was
seen being kicked in the head by Crazy Horse bouncers several hours
before he died.
After the trial, Mrs. Fau, a school teacher, and her three daughters
went back to
California. Saitta went on to win a seat on the Nevada Supreme
Court -- no doubt with Rizzolo's help. Now, with Rizzolo in prison for
hurting other Crazy Horse patrons, there is new life in the Fau case,
and Bart may be made to eat his words -- again.
Also, with Saitta out of District Court, Patti & Sgro's personal
judge is no longer available to sit on every
case involving Rizzolo, and their winning streak is over,
evidenced by the recent rulings of U.S. Federal Court Chief Judge
Philip M. Pro who last
week ordered that the Rizzolo's personal assets can be seized, and
evidenced by Clark County District Court Judge Gonzales who last week
ruled that Barrier could keep his million dollar lien in effect to
secure any judgment in the event he wins his 2002 harassment
law suit against Rizzolo.
But, along with Judge Jones, Rizzolo has one more friend left on the
District Court bench. The Honorable Jackie Glass. Judge Glass is
married to LV City Councilman Steve
Wolfson who in April said this about the twice-bankrupt straw man who
was to stand in for Rizzolo as the operator of the Crazy Horse: "Mr. Signorelli has been in town for many,
many years, and there's not been one blemish against his record." "He's
a respected businessman who offered evidence of his good credit with
At the time of his statement, Wolfson was aware that Signorelli was the
subject of a class action lawsuit for allegedly bilking his employees
our of their health insurance premiums at a bankrupt casino he once
owned in Mesquite.
Soon after her husband made
his complimentary statement, Judge Glass ruled that Kirk Henry's
attorneys could not
audit Rick and Lisa Rizzolo's personal assets in order to find the
funds to pay their client's ongoing medical bills..
Incidentally, after Councilman Wolfson made his statement about
Signorelli -- a
statement quoted in the LV Sun and on live TV -- Wolfson's
words were suddenly expunged from the transcript of the Council hearing.
It was later rumored that in exchange for the favor, Rizzolo's former
criminal defense attorney
Mayor Oscar Goodman referred a number of high paying clients to the law
and Glass, but I have not been able to confirm this information.
Now, two out of three judges handling Rizzolo-related-cases have had
enough of the games and subterfuge. After reading Special Agent Mace's
DECLARATION, Judge Pro ORDERED that the Crazy Horse be sold by no later
than September 30, and then Judge Gonzales upheld Barrier's lien. Judge
Glass is the only exception.
But this may not be the end of the story.
Judge Pro hastily approved three potential buyers for the Crazy Horse
But does he really know who he approved?
Are one or more of the bidders "Mr. Clean Faces" to be placed
before the Federal Court and City Council by La Cosa Nostra interests
do almost anything to retain control of the lucrative criminal
It also signals that City Hall will probably fast track a liquor
license to one of them if asked. Councilman Wolfson would probably vote
to approve along with Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian who's husband Jerry
Rizzolo's Farewell Party at Tarkanian's business
partner Freddy Glusman's Newport Beach restaurant. Soon after the
party, Lois voted to give a liquor license to
Rizzolo's straw man against the advice of the Metro PD and the City
Attorney. The straw man proceeded to skim the Crazy Horse dry while
Council members Tarkanian and Wolfson looked the other way.
However, when Signorelli's deal fell through, both politicians were
egg on their face.
Based on past performance, this City Council would probably again vote
grant almost anyone a liquor license to operate the Crazy
Horse if the applicant was a client of the Goodman Law Firm. I
would not be
surprised if all three of the corporations listed below have
already received preliminary
approval from the City to operate a resurrected Crazy Horse Too.
Any of the ridiculous amounts of money the three
corporations supposedly are offering for the shuttered strip joint will
cover Rizzolo's legal
obligations. The excess above market value is irrelevant
because it will probably be returned to the same LCN interests
who have operated the Crazy Horse since the 1980's.
I've been doing some checking up on the three bidders. I cannot
why any reputable business entity would pay up to three times the
market value of a converted warehouse without a liquor license in the
seediest part of Las Vegas, especially one with a horrible
national reputation. Also, there is no evidence that any of the
bidders have experience in the strip club industry, a prerequisite for
owning such a business.
The top bidder ($34 million) is from New Jersey, Bart Rizzolo's home
state. My NJ
never heard of the company
nor its CEO.
The second bidder ($31.5 million) is from near Rizzolo's second home --
Newport Beach in Orange County, California. The address appears to be a
information from records of the California Department of Real Estate,
Name: The Mortgage Broker
Mailing Address: 1648 S
CLEMENTINE ST, ANAHEIM, CA 92802-2901
License Status: LICENSED NBA
(no broker affiliation)
Corporation License Issued:
08/21/06 (Unofficial -- taken from secondary records)
Main Office: NO CURRENT MAIN
OFFICE ADDRESS ON FILE
01171858 - Expiration Date:
Garcia, Marcus A
CANCELED AS OF 05/07/07
Branches: NO CURRENT BRANCHES
The third bidder ($29 million) is from Las Vegas, but little is known
of him or his firm other than he owns several houses in Henderson.
I certainly hope Judge Pro in respect to the late Scott Fau and
Rick Sandlin sees through this transparent scam
and seizes the clip
joint by September 30, then tears it down and auctions
land before anyone else is maimed or killed.
The difference between what the forfeiture sale will bring and the
amounts owed to Kirk Henry, IRS, the City, and Buffalo Jim Barrier,
should come from the seizure and auction of Rick and Lisa
Rizzolo's three houses and personal assets if they can ever be
located thanks to Dean Patti and Tony Sgro.
© Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nov. 13, 2001, attorney Tony Sgro, left, argues
in favor of a gag order against columnist Steve Miller. At right are
attorneys Dowon Kang, Chris Rasmussen and Gus Flangas, who opposed the
request. After Tom Mitchell, the Editor of the Review-Journal, and two attorneys
for the ACLU sat down in the back of Judge Saitta's court, she
reluctantly denied Sgro's motion and let Miller continue reporting on
violent events at the Crazy Horse Too. (Photo by Gary Thompson)
No wonder Patti & Sgro
are keeping their distance
lately when Rizzolo's fortune is challenged in the courts. Maybe
they're complicit in an
illegal money hiding scheme, and fear being disbarred or jailed for
Copyright © Steve Miller
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