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
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
August 28, 2006
LAS VEGAS - Days away from three of the biggest showdowns in Vegas
history, revenge, political pay offs, divine
the mute cry of local citizens has descended on City Hall, the U.S.
Federal Court House, and Clark County District Court.
On Wednesday, September 6, the long
delayed license revocation hearing for the blood soaked Crazy Horse
Too takes place. Nine days later, the bar's owner, convicted
felon Rick Rizzolo goes to U.S. Federal Court to be sentenced. Two
days after that, on September 18, Rizzolo will be back in Clark County
District Court to pursue a six year old
defamation suit against
Buffalo Jim Barrier.
Rizzolo claims that Barrier somehow slandered his good name and defamed
In 2000, Barrier alleged criminal
activity at the Crazy Horse Too. Rizzolo sued Barrier for
damaging his reputation.
Six years later in June 2006, Rizzolo pleaded guilty to being involved
in criminal activity at the Crazy
Horse Too, but ironically he's still vigorously pursuing his
defamation case! His attorneys Dean Patti and Tony Sgro are
collecting legal fees for this folly while Barrier's attorney Gus
Flangas last week filed a motion to force Rizzolo to pay Barrier's
legal fees for having to defend a "frivolous" action. Judge Elizabeth
Gonzales will rule on whether to allow the defamation case to move
forward on Sept. 18.
If so, Rizzolo may have to testify
from behind bars about how Barrier injured his reputation! Review
Journal columnist John L. Smith put
it this way in 2000: "Now that he's out to save his good name, we
a chance to see how much of a man of respect Rick Rizzolo really is."
POLITICAL PAY OFFS:
Where to begin? If there ever was a conflict of interests, its when
Rizzolo's former criminal defense attorney-cum-Mayor of Las Vegas Oscar
Goodman proclaimed he would vote to let Rizzolo's hair brained father,
brother, and sister manage the strip club for a year while they
purportedly try to sell the place. Goodman also once defended Albert
Rapuano, a Crazy Horse manager. So pay back is the name of the game.
Flash forward. Goodman's current law partner David Chesnoff today is
defending another Crazy Horse manager Vinny Faraci who also pleaded
guilty to felonies. While the legal fees continue to flow to
the firm of Goodman
and Chesnoff, a City Councilwoman let out a muted cry to shut the
place down before anyone else is maimed or killed. Goodman said NO, and
his obedient council often called his "Dwarfs," sat silent with one
exception, Ward One Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian.
When it became known that she was going to defy Goodman and move to
permanently close the bar at next week's hearing, the Mayor's minions
went to work and gerrymandered the Crazy Horse out of Ward One and into
the Ward of Goodman's biggest stooge, barber-cum-Mayor Pro Tem Gary
Reese. Now it will be Reese who will make the motion, but this time it
will be to keep the place open -- and expose bar patrons to more
beatings and mayhem -- and expose the taxpayers to vast financial
In 2002, another case almost identical to the Crazy Horse saga played
out in Federal Court in Georgia. The penalties paid by Steve
Kaplan the former owner of the Gold Club in Atlanta, after he was
convicted of racketeering, were quite different than those being asked
of Rizzolo. Though the Federal court said the Crazy Horse can remain
open for a year in order to be sold, the City Council will have the
final say on September 6, and at that time should do as was done in
Atlanta; close the racketeering enterprise and liquidate Rizzolo's
personal assets instead of letting the problem drag on for another
potentially dangerous year.
The Council knows it will be pure negligence to not shutter the Crazy Horse, but
they're duped into thinking that beating
victim Kirk Henry, and the IRS have no other means to get what
they're owed unless the place stays in business long enough to be sold
for over $30 million -- enough to pay Henry $10 million; the IRS $ 7
million; and the rest to pay off the first mortgage, capitol gains
taxes, and other debts and fines Rizzolo incurred.
Unfortunately, during that time the taxpayers will be exposed to
tremendous liability if and when another bar patron is beaten or
killed. The City's liability cap of $50,000 can be pierced in the event
the City Council is found negligent for allowing a public
nuisance to remain in business, and the Crazy Horse has been called
threat" by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Though Rizzolo's attorney Tony Sgro told the Council in July that the
club is being monitored by the FBI, additional beatings have occurred.
A source inside the club told INSIDE VEGAS that Al Rapuano and Rick
Rizzolo have ordered club personnel to not call police under any
circumstances, and it appears that the FBI is no longer watching.
Forewarned is forearmed.
There once was an offer on the table for $30 million. It came from San
Francisco real estate tycoon Luke
Brugnara, but was squelched by Crazy Horse attorney Tony Sgro after
he told Rizzolo a deal was about to be struck with the Feds so he could
spend a few months in Club Fed, come home, and continue to run the
club, i.e., extort customers -- Rizzolo's confessed method of doing
bubble was burst, however, when U.S. Federal Court Chief Judge Philip
Pro ruled that he would have to sell the club within a year and
never return to the adult business for the rest of his life.
left town very unhappy -- saying Rizzolo welched on the deal, and has
since cut his offer in half.
Meanwhile, sources inside the Crazy Horse say the club has been sold to
a California investor who will keep Rizzolo on as a silent partner, but
pledges to otherwise clean house. Brugnara's name was not mentioned as
the investor, and from what I know of him, he doesn't like silent
Enter Father Dave Casaleggio, Rizzolo's personal priest.
In the movie "Godfather II," as the music reaches a climax , the chain
smoking priest turns and asks Michael
Priest: "Michael Francis Rizzi (the baby)
do you renounce Satan?"
Michael Corleone (Godfather): "I do renounce him."
Priest: "And all his works?"
Michael: "I do renounce them."
Priest: "And all his pomps?"
Michael: "I do renounce."
Priest: "Michael Francis Rizzi, will you
Michael: "I will."
Priest: "In the name of the Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit go in peace, and may the Lord be with you."
Interspersed through these scenes are the brutal slayings of all
Michael Corleone's enemies. The scenes remind me of Rizzolo's
This week, Father Dave Casaleggio
members of the City Council asking they vote to allow the Crazy Horse
Too to remain open.
The Reverend is a mutual friend of Rizzolo and the Mayor who before
being elected made a fortune defending brutal criminals such as Tony
"The Ant" Spilotro. On January 24, 2006, Mayor Goodman appointed the
Rev. Casaleggio to the Board of Directors of the Las Vegas Housing
However, in 1999, it was none other than the Rev. Casaleggio who
appeared before the Clark County Commission asking that they not
allow a Crazy Horse competitor to convert the former Sporting House
fitness club into what is now Sapphire Gentleman's club!
He drove to the commission meeting in his new Lexus, a gift from Rick
Rizzolo. There, the Priest proclaimed to be representing the interests
of his congregation (which included the Rizzolo family, his attorneys,
and a number of Crazy Horse goons). He said his "congregation" objected
to another strip club in the area, though Sapphire was one mile farther
from his church than the Crazy Horse that expanded the previous year
without Father Dave's protestation.
My family regularly worships at Our Lady of Las Vegas, and no one asked
the Priest to intervene in this matter.
Following Casaleggio's mysterious appearance before the County
Commission, Our Lady of Las Vegas canceled his contract.
Rizzolo's attorneys Dean Patti and Tony Sgro filed a lawsuit on
Casaleggio's behalf against the Diocese of Las Vegas, and Casaleggio
was temporarily reinstated until his contract expired the next year.
Rev. Casaleggio, once the proud pastor of the city's most prestigious
church, is currently a pastor with the Nevada prison system. Maybe
there, he can better represent his true congregation -- convicted
Rev. Casaleggio departed Our Lady of Las Vegas, Rizzolo, his friends,
and family became parishioners at another parish.
Casaleggio is expected to testify before the Las Vegas City Council on
Sept. 6 in favor of allowing the Crazy Horse to remain open, and as a
character witness for Rick Rizzolo at his Sept. 15 sentencing. In past
years, the Reverend reportedly traveled with Rizzolo to Chicago to be a
character witness for another Rizzolo family member about to be
sentenced, so he should be quite effective at Rizzolo's sentencing.
amazing how some criminals can find salvation each Sunday, then bash
heads during the rest of the week!
In all the depraved cases regarding the Crazy Horse Too, including the
tragedies suffered by Kirk Henry and Scott David Fau (deceased),
untrained bouncers were involved.
Several years ago I interviewed Robert
Maddox, a licensed Nevada Private Investigator and expert on club
security. Mr. Maddox owned a marshal arts school that specialized in
training strip club security guards (bouncers).
He told me he had trained bouncers for the Crazy Horse Too, and that
his graduates were proficient in stopping disturbances without other
patrons being aware of their actions. Mr. Maddox said his trainees were
especially skilled in handling problems through public
relations techniques -- using physical force only as a last resort, and
with no hesitation to notify Metro when necessary.
However, Maddox also told me that in the case of the Crazy Horse Too,
his graduates were fired to facilitate the hiring of friends of the
club's owner Rick Rizzolo.
During the wrongful death trial of Scott David Fau, Maddox testified
that the current Crazy Horse Too bouncers were "hired by the
"Security is there to watch and monitor and intervene if something
happens," Maddox said. "If security becomes part of the problem, they
are defeating the purpose of being there in the first place."
"Allowing the bartender to go outside doesn't settle the situation
whatsoever," he testified. "It just continued to aggravate the
Sources tell me that Rick Rizzolo appears to have a "prurient" interest
in watching his huge bouncers inflict pain on bar patrons. This was
evidenced by his conviction
in 1985 for battery with a baseball bat against one of his patrons. The
patron died three years later of his injuries. Oscar Goodman was
Rizzolo's criminal defense attorney.
The City of New York recently suffered deaths at the hands of untrained
and unlicensed bouncers. Based on these tragedies, NYC just passed a
new law to cause such persons to register and undergo background
Part of the team expected to be approved to run the Crazy Horse Too
during its last year is Rick's brother Ralph Rizzolo.
22, Ralph was arrested for Trafficking in Controlled Substance. He
pleaded not guilty and was scheduled to go before a jury on October 10.
However, in the interim, an election for Clark County District Attorney
Last week, before the primary election, I predicted that if elected to
a second term, D.A. David Roger would immediately plea bargain the
felony charge against Ralph Rizzolo down to a misdemeanor. It
took Roger less than 24 hours after hearing of his reelection to do
exactly that, and Ralph Rizzolo
didn't even have to be present in court for this to take place.
Everything was handled out of court. Now that takes juice!
And they said the Mob left Las Vegas years ago...
During the sentencing of disgraced
County Commissioner Dario Herrera in the Operation G-Sting case, U.S.
District Judge Larry Hicks stated that Federal witness Michael Galardi
was "credible." Galardi, also a strip club owner, testified that Roger
returned a $20,000 check Galardi had given him during his first
campaign for D.A., fearing the repercussions of taking money from a
strip club owner. Galardi then said he paid Roger $20,000 cash so the
money could not be traced.
Last week, the Las Vegas
Review-Journal posted an
page graphic showing the
interconnections between Galardi and a slew of crooked local
politicians and power brokers.
During the same election, David Roger
also claimed to have returned $40,000 from Rick Rizzolo. With Ralph's Trafficking in Controlled
Substance charge taken care of, I predict Rick Rizzolo's former
attorney Goodman will on Sept. 6 find Ralph suitable to run (skim) the
Crazy Horse Too for another year with his father and sister by his
I also predict this will happen even
though the U.S. Dept. of Justice on June 1 released a statement saying: "If patrons refused to pay a
dancer or disputed charges, the shift manager or other male employees
sought to extort payment from them through threats of violence and
through the actual use of force." The D.O.J. also said: "This plea
allows us to quickly and efficiently accomplish the primary goals of
our investigation to remove the current ownership from the Crazy Horse
Too strip club," and; "all those involved in its illegal operations to
acknowledge some level of responsibility and guilt for its criminal
Ralph, Annette, and Bart Rizzolo were
"involved" in the illegal operations. In a moral American city they
would surely be found unfit to continue operating a nightclub, but tell
that to Goodman and his dwarfs, who with the exception of Councilwoman
Tarkanian, will vote on Sept. 6 to keep the place open at any cost!
It's also been attested by several witnesses that when club patrons
police, they are usually the ones arrested, and that police
reports are seldom if ever filed.
MUTE CRY OF LOCAL CITIZENS:
If the City Council were true public servants with the health and
welfare of their constituents at heart, they would vote to close the
place thus forcing Judge Pro to liquidate Rick Rizzolo's personal
assets to pay the IRS and Henry.
With his homes in LV and Newport Beach
along with bank accounts and the Crazy Horse Too properties in Nevada
and Pennsylvania, there is enough to cover his liabilities NOW, not in
twelve months after his family has had the chance to continue skimming
what is left. Remember, the directors of the corporation pleaded guilty
to tax evasion, and that's also known as skimming. That's the only way
they know how to make money!
But even Kirk Henry's attorneys want the place to stay open, thinking
that way the full $10 million will be raised. It would involve
additional litigation to recover bank accounts and real properties
Rizzolo transferred to his wife recently in a pseudo divorce, and
sometimes lawyers, Federal Prosecutors and Judges take the easy way out.
Meanwhile, the Nevada Commission on
Ethics has a complaint pending against Mayor Goodman, filed on
July 10, 2006. Its for
Goodman's participation in votes to assist his former and present Crazy
Horse clients, and because Goodman
failed to disclose his ties to Rizzolo until I filed the latest ethics
complaint. Since then, he also failed to disclose that his current law
partner Chesnoff represents Faraci.
The Ethics Commission
continues to sit silently on both complaints, and Goodman is expected
to lead the charge to help his law firm's former and current clients
next Wednesday no matter the consequences -- he's so popular he knows
he'll get away with it!
Even though the sounds of protest
should be deafening, in Sin City you can hear a pin drop. The locals are tired of hearing that most
of their elected officials are corrupt. Because of this apathy, its
finally time to declare victory and identify the true heroes who have
undauntedly held their ground though out this painful ordeal.
They deserve a column of their own,
so I'll reserve the accolades until next week.
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