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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:

Can Las Vegas be Embarrassed?
Sin City's Standards Skewed
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
August 4, 2003

"I'll do everything I can to see this man is punished for trying to embarrass Las Vegas
as a result of a lie and a scam."- Mayor Oscar Goodman, Los Angeles Times, July 26, 2003
   Oscar Goodman and Anthony Spilotro                          Joey Cusumano and Oscar Goodman
         1986 SUN FILE PHOTO                                                      KVBC TV

Last year, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman refused to pursue administrative action against the violence plagued Crazy Horse Too owned by the "very best friend in the world" of Oscar's former client Joey Cusumano. But last month, in a nationally televised tirade, Goodman vowed to punish a practical joker for "embarrassing" Sin City for staging hoax Bambi hunts! What gives?

Hunting Bambi was a spoof orchestrated by promoter Michael Burdick. It gained national publicity for its' ridiculous claim of providing naked women as prey to be shot at with paint ball guns by "hunters" willing to pay $5,000 to $10,000 for the safari experience. Most laughed it off, but the Mayor of Las Vegas took it seriously.

However, during the summer of 2002, Oscar did not take seriously the county and state laws that prohibit teenage strippers in city liquor bars including the Crazy Horse, a topless joint that received 737 recorded police responses in three years followed by an FBI organized crime raid. Now, Oscar says Hunting Bambi has "embarrassed" his city and wants to bring the operator before the City Council in a business license revocation action, something he refused to do when much more egregious problems involved his former client's adult business, problems including alleged credit card fraud, coercion, and felony battery.

Referring to the Bambi hoax while ignoring the teenage stripper problem, Goodman grandstanded before network TV cameras saying, "We have jail space and judges who take this kind of conduct seriously in the city of Las Vegas." In response to a reporter's question, he said he is "not going to tolerate any violence toward women. ... We're not going to let people assault and batter women."

"Assault and batter women?" What about the experience teenage girls have behind closed doors in the VIP room of his buddy's topless bar? The "Bambi's" shown being paint balled on TV news programs were anything but fawns, some looked like they had been "hunted" for several decades. The Mayor was outraged! But when it comes to exploiting teenagers, the Mayor looks the other way - its not "embarrassing" as far as he's concerned.

When Clark County Commissioners began enforcing the state law that prohibits 18 year olds from being present in liquor serving establishments, then vanishing into VIP parlors with patrons to sell lap dances, etc., Goodman was not embarrassed to go to the defense of the Crazy Horse and other city adult venues that exploit teenagers.

Goodman proclaimed, "We're an adult community, an adult playland. Let's not pretend to be something we're not. I think anything that's legal should be here." Goodman went on, "There's no prostitution taking place, and if there was, they should arrest them, not make some big fuss as to what some 18-year-old girl is doing to make a living." "When you're 18, you're allowed to die for your country, so why can't some young lady or young man perform?"

DEAN PATTI, left, attorney for the Crazy Horse Too,
questions the language in a section of a proposed stripper
regulation during a City Council Recommending Committee
meeting. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, right, said the
regulations were unnecessary.

But when it comes to old guys in kakis shooting paint balls at naked ladies in the desert, Oscar was truly embarrassed for the sake of his city. (I wonder if he would be so embarrassed if one of his cronies had come up with the idea?)

Speaking of embarrassing our town, Goodman in 1999, was spotted entertaining Charles "Charlie Moose" Panarella at City Hall. Panarella who is listed in the state's Black Book is reportedly a member of the Colombo crime family and was convicted nine years ago on drug money laundering that involved a Vegas casino. When a story about the get together appeared in a local paper, Goodman threatened the reporter saying, "I'm going to bar you from City Hall if you keep asking questions like that," I'll bar you from City Hall." Goodman was not embarrassed by his actions.

In November 2000, Goodman got mad at one of his Councilmen. After having a few martinis, Goodman was confronted by TV reporters , with his speech slurred Goodman burst out with, "He's a government rat, a wimp, vermin, a piece of garbage, the lowest form of human being, and a sleaze ball. I'm going to get rid of him. I have no use for him." Three years later, Goodman endorsed the same Councilman's reelection bid. The Mayor found no embarrassment in his actions.

In November 2001, Oscar said, "Right now, I'm going to urge all able-bodied constituents to go out and have a lap dance." Even that statement did not embarrass our mayor.

In 2002, Goodman sealed a $100,000 contract to endorse Bombay Sapphire gin and donate the money to charity. This did not embarrass him either.

Goodman unabashedly once said he'd rather have his daughter date Chicago mob enforcer Anthony Spilotro than an FBI agent. Goodman was also known for saying, "There is no mob."

In March, 2003, Goodman invited a man listed in the Nevada Black Book to his daughter's engagement party. When asked about the man's presence, Goodman said. "What I do at my home is my business." Oscar's lack of embarrassment sparked this reaction from Nevada Gaming Control Board member Bobby Siller, former head of the FBI in Nevada, "Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman's decision to host at his home a mob associate banned from Nevada's casinos is an embarrassment to the state, an embarrassment for Las Vegas and an embarrassment for gaming."

In June, 2003, Goodman was sued for defamation. The lawsuit claims the Mayor called a man a liar on national TV and said he wanted to "whack this guy," referring to a  man who last year told authorities he intercepted a cell phone conversation describing a planned terrorist attack on the city during the Fourth of July holiday. The plaintiff wants a public apology, but Goodman has so far refused. Nothing embarrassing here!

Now Oscar condones the exploitation of teenage girls who work in his friend's topless bar, but this doesn't embarrass him at all.

Hunting Bambi should be the least of Oscar's worries when it comes to embarrassing this town. Oscar's own actions are our town's foremost embarrassment! If Mayor Goodman hasn't embarrassed Vegas to death by now with his own outrageous and insensitive actions, then this town is impossible to embarrass.

Copyright © Steve Miller

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