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
U.S. Dept. of Justice calls
the Crazy Horse Too
a serious threat to the community, but the
Mayor wants to keep the place open
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
August 7, 2006
LAS VEGAS - Never before in the history of this city has there been a
more compelling reason to shut down a criminal enterprise. However,
with the opportunity
to end the violence at the Crazy Horse Too strip bar, Mayor Oscar
Goodman insists that the crimes are
not egregious enough to deserve liquor license revocation.
The Federal Court is allowing
the Crazy Horse to stay open for one more
year in order to find a buyer to pay off $17 million in liabilities
cumulatively owed to the IRS and the family of beating victim Kirk
Henry, however, the City Council can legally
Court Chief Judge Philip Pro's order if it believes there is a serious threat to the community
being posed by the bar's continued operation.
After hundreds of requests
for official action, City
Attorney Brad Jerbic, based on overwhelming evidence, was finally
to schedule a Disciplinary
for September 6. At that time, the mayor and council will
reveal the validity of our city's government. Will our elected
representatives have the courage to act? Or
will they cower as they have in the past?
The following document issued by the U.S. Department of Justice
(D.O.J.) should provide them with adequate guidance.
Department of Justice
District of Nevada
Daniel G. Bogden
United States Attorney
JUNE 1, 2006
LAS VEGAS STRIP CLUB
OWNER PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRING TO DEFRAUD THE UNITED STATES
Pleads To Racketeering Offense
The corporate plea to
racketeering charges acknowledges the serious threat
that the Crazy Horse Too has presented to the community,
and the 17 pleas to felony charges by past and present managers and
employees of the club requires all those involved in its illegal
operations to acknowledge some level of responsibility and guilt for
its criminal existence... 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.
July 12, Mayor Oscar Goodman
stated on the record at a council meeting: "I do consider him a friend,"
referring to Rick Rizzolo, the
convicted felon who owns the Crazy Horse. The next day the mayor called
Rizzolo's bar a "gentleman's club," and stated he will vote at
the upcoming Show Cause hearing
to let his friend
keep his business license.
Even in light of the D.O.J. findings, Goodman said he still believes
Rizzolo's crimes do not
rise to the level of license revocation.
in another recent license revocation action, the LV
SUN reports: "Mayor Oscar Goodman recused himself from
Wednesday's discussion about Squiggy's because of his friendship
with Piper and Bunch, owners of the bar. 'I really don't think I can be
fair on this one,'" Goodman said.
For a fifteen month period from January 2005 through March 31,
police were called to
Squiggy's 260 times. The City recently brought Squiggy's up on a
License Revocation action.
For a twenty four month period from 1999 through 2001, police were
called to the
Crazy Horse Too 737 times. The City took no action under Goodman's
Squiggy's is expected to lose its liquor license.
The Crazy Horse is not -- but for different reasons.
What's the difference between
Danny Piper and Joseph Bunch, and Rick Rizzolo?
According to the LV
Review-Journal, "Rizzolo is an admitted friend of mob
associates but also has been a major campaign contributor to Las Vegas
politicians. He raised $40,000 for Mayor Oscar
Records show that Piper and
Bunch are not Goodman campaign contributors, or
clients of his law firm.
Piper and Bunch did not
hire Goodman's law partner David Chesnoff as their criminal defense
attorney. Rizzolo's associate Vinny
Faraci did. He wisely
hired the services of "Goodman &
Chesnoff, A Professional Corporation, 520 South Fourth Street, Las
Vegas, Nevada" when he was indicted in 2005 for conspiracy
to defraud the United States. He has since plead guilty and
"The mayor is actively and regularly consulting
with me." David Chesnoff, Las Vegas SUN, 9/21/04
"The two attorneys consider
as interlocking pieces of a puzzle, forming a complete picture. Goodman
& Chesnoff all intermittently assist each other, and regularly work
together on significant civil litigation matters on a case-by-case
basis." - Martindale
- Hubble Law Directory
No wonder Goodman insists on
voting to let Rizzolo keep his liquor license. "In 1985
defended Rizzolo against charges in a baseball-bat beating of a
customer left with permanent brain damage," according to LV SUN columnist Jon
After all these years, it's
painfully obvious Goodman is still acting as Rizzolo's criminal defense
attorney, while his law partner is profiting. Otherwise
Goodman would have recused as he did in the Squiggy's case, and in 2005
when another strip bar lost its license.
Goodman also recused when
a nearby Crazy Horse competitor, lost its liquor license. He said
he had a conflict because his son was one of their attorneys. When
Treasues closed, Rick Rizzolo reportedly tried to make a low ball offer
on the building, but the owners sued the City in Federal Court, won
case, and soon reopened.
At the time Rizzolo pleaded
guilty to battery with a baseball bat, Goodman charged one-half million
represent a client. Today, David Chesnoff is also known for charging a
half million, and Faraci, a former shift manager at the Crazy
Horse, is in deep trouble and needs all the help Chesnoff and his consultant Oscar Goodman can
render. He also needs to keep his income to pay his legal bills. Faraci
has long been suspected of having hidden ownership in the Crazy Horse,
and being a soldier in the Bonnano crime family.
Goodman said he will vote to
help Rizzolo on Sept. 6 no matter what Metro PD, the city
attorney, or witnesses testify. He then said
"Tell Steve Miller he can suck my big toe."
He was furious because I had
filed an ethics
complaint against him to try to keep him from participating in the
hearing and helping his hoodlum friends.
It's obvious that Goodman's
standard is based on past and present legal fees and huge campaign
contributions. In Sin City, Oscar Goodman proves every day that justice
to the highest bidder, and the Mob never left town.
Showing his allegiance to his
former clients, Goodman once said: "If I have a choice, if you know
somebody and they're
honorable, and you've done business with them in the past,
they get the best of it." -
But, Goodman wasn't finished establishing a strong base for rewarding
law firm's former and present clients. He just used his official
to cripple one of the
only independent voices on the council.
The Las Vegas City
Council on Aug. 2
-- led along by the mayor -- discredited Councilwoman
Lois Tarkanian weeks before she's expected to demand the permanent
closure of the Crazy Horse which is located in her ward. To remove her
as a threat, Goodman made the motion to
redevelopment and most of the casinos out of Ward One, and into Ward
Three, effectively transferring Tarkanian's political clout to his lap
dog, Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese.
redistricting hearing, Mayor Goodman turned off the microphone when
Chuck Thompson tried to explain that the council was about to strip the
Councilwoman of her power and tax base in retaliation
for her questioning another of Goodman's former law clients, Billy
Walters. Tarkanian sat silent while her friend was humiliated.
After he was cut off, Thompson told the LV Review-Journal, "This
is a bad government, bad law. It proves the corrosive, corrupt
situation in our state," Thompson said. "They're sitting there,
admitting this is political. They're saying, 'Us guys, we decide
without regard to what's best for the district.' It's without honor."
to be based on voter population -- not the number of
casinos and vacant acres being turned into high rises. Voters don't live in casinos or
on vacant parcels of downtown land. That didn't stop Goodman! He said
the redistricting was based on "seniority and
desire" instead of population -- a direct violation of the
Goodman went on to say, "Once we're past legal analysis, it
then shifts into a political process." "The council people have
desires. One would want growth in a redevelopment area. One would want
to celebrate that ... seniority does have weight to it."
He ended with, "That's the way the political process works, whether people
like it or not," and called for the vote.
Tarkanian was elected in 2003. Reese was appointed in 1995.
During the hearing,
Tarkanian was indirectly called a liar for telling the Review-Journal she was informed
by a retired judge hired to oversee the redistricting that her
gerrymandered ward was political payback from her council colleagues,
meant to teach her a lesson.
Based on her word, several of her supporters including myself, on
Saturday July 29, hired an attorney to prepare a
motion for a temporary restraining order to stop the
redistricting. It was to be filed
on Monday July 31, two days prior to the Aug. 2 council meeting. But
the Councilwoman refused to provide notarized
affidavits from herself and others present when the "payback" statement
was made. Her reason? To do so would offend her council colleagues.
The motion was not filed, and three days later, Tarkanian was
discredited by the same colleagues she wished not to offend.
What the mayor did should be reviewed in District Court, but
yet known whether Councilwoman Tarkanian's supporters plan to sue the
City Council to try to
reverse the decision -- but that may be too little, too late. When
asked after her defeat if she planned to appeal, she said she would
need to raise money to pay an attorney to do so.
The redistricting vote was lost
on a six to one vote with Tarkanian being the only dissenter. However,
had she voted with
the majority, she could have brought the item back for reconsideration
in two weeks giving her supporters time to take preemptory legal
Councilwoman Tarkanian was informed in advance by
one of my colleagues of this seldom used legal
she opted to vote in
the minority and forfeit this last ditch option.
I used this maneuver several times to stop political favors, and it
helped gain me the "Most
Effective Public Official" award. Though it offended my council
colleagues, they never stopped kissing my ass afterward. Most
politicians are complete hypocrites. Had Tarkanian taken our advice,
she would now be the most powerful member of the Council.
Goodman in July 2005 when she called for an
investigation of his former client Billy Walters, and again when rumors
surfaced she was going to move to permanently close the Crazy
got his revenge, and Tarkanian was made to look impotent
weeks before Rizzolo's license revocation hearing.
Now its up to the
remaining council members who have been
described as "Dwarfs,"
to either back
Tarkanian (if she still wants to move to revoke the license) and shut
the place down
because of its' threat to the well being of the community, or vote to
keep the place open as a favor to Goodman who pulls the
fundraising stings around election time.
In the meantime, my
complaint is slowly weaving its way through
the "probable cause" process, and the Ethics Commission's decision
probably won't be known until months after the Show Cause
One more thing, if the City
Council votes to let the bar stay open, it
will be run for one year by the family of Rick Rizzolo including his
father Bart, sister Annette, and brother Ralph -- members of the
corporation that pled
guilty to "extorting payment from patrons
through explicit or implicit threats of violence, or through actual use
plan to present the U.S. Department of Justice report, and inform the
council that Ralph Rizzolo faces jury trial on Aug. 10 for
Trafficking in Controlled
Substance, a felony.
On July 17, witnesses reported seeing Ralph Rizzolo and two Crazy
bouncers roughing up a woman in front of the club. When Rizzolo saw
Buffalo Jim Barrier, the club's next door neighbor, taking photos of
the incident, he reportedly had the woman dragged inside the building.
I provide the following page from the District Court website
because Ralph Rizzolo's arrest and upcoming trial have not been
reported by the local media, and neither
the Federal Court nor the City Council have been made aware of it up
|District Case Inquiry - Charges
This was not the first
Ralph Rizzolo was accused of
selling narcotics at the Crazy Horse
Too, but will his February 17 arrest and Oct. 10 trial be enough to
sway the Council's
decision on Sept. 6? Following his brother's sentencing on Sept.15,
Ralph may only be around to help run the place for twenty three days,
and its uncertain if his father and sister are up to the task without
||Just Ct. Case#
||State of Nevada
||Roger, David J.
||Rizzolo, Ralph J
||Napolet, Mario R.
||Gates, Lee A
||Rizzolo, Ralph J
||Trafficking in Controlled Substance
Oh, and there's this overlooked tidbit from the Las Vegas Municipal
Code: "The regulations contained in this Chapter involve, to the
highest degree, the economic, social, physical and moral well-being of
the residents and taxpayers of the City. The sale... of alcoholic
beverages is not a matter of right but of privilege... This privilege
may be... revoked, suspended, or subjected to any other disciplinary
action by the City in the exercise of its police powers for the
protection of the safety, welfare, health, peace and morals of the
residents and taxpayers thereof."
In the past, only two council members, Lois Tarkanian and Steve
Wolfson, have ever challenged Goodman's wishes, and look what happened
to Tarkanian! The rest just sit there and cower when the mayor shows
any sign of anger. Therefore it won't surprise me if Goodman says
Ralph Rizzolo is just an innocent, misunderstood businessman being
persecuted because he has a vowel at the end of his name, just as
Goodman the criminal defense lawyer plead to the jury just before his
former clients Jimmy
Cusumano, and Joey
"The Clown" Lombardo were convicted.
Chagra Goodman and
Las Vegas Sun
cartoon by Mike Smith
It seems that Oscar Goodman never met a criminal he didn't
like....or one he thought was guilty. He's also famous for his hatred
of the FBI and the Federal Government. With that said, many believe he
will prevail and his "Dwarfs" will vote to let the Crazy
Horse stay open under the Rizzolo family's guidance.
But if justice prevails, the council will shut down the Crazy Horse to
prevent more bloodshed and stop the City's exposure to law
In the meantime, business has dropped to a trickle based on the
convictions and surrounding publicity, and the bar's worth declines
with each day. For the first time, the Crazy Horse Too is advertising a
Happy Hour and check cashing to draw customers.
If allowed to remain in business for another year, its most likely the
cash flow will be skimmed, more patrons extorted and beaten, and the
City may get sued. If this happens, the business will be rendered
the IRS and Henrys may never see a dime.
if the City
revokes the Crazy Horse Too's liquor license, the
Federal Judge will have no other choice but to liquidate Rizzolo's
personal and corporate assets, as was the almost identical case with
Club in Atlanta.
According to CNN, Gold Club owner Steve Kaplan pleaded guilty in 2002 to
participating in activities involving a pattern of racketeering,
failure to report a felony he had observed, prostitution, and credit
card fraud. The
Gold Club was shut down as part of the deal. Kaplan, 42, lost his
equity in the property and paid a $5 million fine -- $1.9 million of it
in cash delivered to the FBI in New York and another $300,000 in
restitution to fraud victims. The Gold Club building was razed, and the
real estate auctioned.
This should also be the case with Rizzolo.
guarantee the IRS and Henrys get paid most, if not all, of what they're
the only proper thing for the
Federal Court to do is liquidate Rick Rizzolo's personal assets
including his homes in Las Vegas and Newport Beach; his golf course
property in upstate New York; and take his equity in the
Vegas Crazy Horse Too and the land under the Philadelphia Crazy Horse
The basis for such forfeiture is when assets were purchased
with money generated through a criminal enterprise, and its obvious
Rizzolo never made an honest buck in his life!
If the bar is foolishly allowed to remain open under the
the remaining Rizzolos, they will undoubtedly continue running the
place the only way they know how: skimming the profits and bashing
heads -- practices that can't attract a legitimate buyer. Rizzolo's
attorney Tony Sgro tried to comfort the Council last month by saying
the Federal Government is monitoring the place, but they must've been
napping at around 4 AM on July 4th when three Samoan men were brutally
beaten by club bouncers. Eyewitnesses say the fight lasted over twenty
minutes, and the police were not called.
When Rick Rizzolo goes to prison
in September, and if Ralph Rizzolo goes to jail in October, the
only two Rizzolos left to operate the place at Goodman's behest will
be Bart, who is in his late seventies, and Annette, who proclaims to be
Minister, and Doctor of Divinity. Their management style will
most likely be reminiscent
of the movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
Also, the City of Las Vegas' $50,000 cap on liability can be pierced if another person is injured or
killed at a business the Council
knowingly and negligently allows to stay open after being deemed a
to the community by the U.S. Department of
On Aug. 14, 2000,
Rick Rizzolo was called a "Pillar
of the Community" at
one of Goodman's council meetings.
Evidently, Mayor Goodman
believes this to be true.
Copyright © Steve
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