| Home | Books and Gifts | Photo Album | Mob Busters | Mafia Site Search |
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:

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, when faced 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 supersede Federal 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 forced to schedule a Disciplinary Action 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.

U.S. Department of Justice
District of Nevada
Daniel G. Bogden
United States Attorney
Parent Corporation 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.

On 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.

However, 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, 2006, 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 guidance.

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 Goodman."

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 awaits sentencing.

"The mayor is actively and regularly consulting with me." David Chesnoff, Las Vegas SUN, 9/21/04

"The two attorneys consider themselves 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, 8/5/06

No wonder Goodman insists on voting to let Rizzolo keep his liquor license. "In 1985 Goodman defended Rizzolo against charges in a baseball-bat beating of a customer left with permanent brain damage," according to LV SUN columnist Jon Ralston.

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 Treasures, 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 their case, and soon reopened.

At the time Rizzolo pleaded guilty to battery with a baseball bat, Goodman charged one-half million dollars to 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 double standard is based on past and present legal fees and huge campaign contributions. In Sin City, Oscar Goodman proves every day that justice goes 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." - LV SUN, 10/16/01.
But, Goodman wasn't finished establishing a strong base for rewarding his law firm's former and present clients. He just used his official position to cripple one of  the only independent voices on the council.

Tarkanian's authority raped   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 gerrymander all 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.
  During the redistricting hearing, Mayor Goodman turned off the microphone when Tarkanian's attorney 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."
  Redistricting is supposed 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 redistricting law.
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
its not 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 action. Though Councilwoman Tarkanian was informed in advance by one of my colleagues of this seldom used legal maneuver, 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.

Tarkanian infuriated 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 Horse Too.
Last Wednesday, Goodman 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 ethics 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 hearing.

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 of force."

At the Sept. 6 City Council hearing, I 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 Horse 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 until now.

District Case Inquiry - Charges

Case 06-C-219728-C Just Ct. Case# 04-F -21255 Status ACTIVE
Plaintiff State of Nevada Attorney Roger, David J.
Defendant Rizzolo, Ralph J Attorney Napolet, Mario R.
Judge Gates, Lee A Dept. 8  

Defendant Rizzolo, Ralph J Id Number 0433829  

Count Charge Description
  Offense Bail Plea Negotiated
  Disposed Disposition Sentenced
0001 453.3385 Trafficking in Controlled Substance
  Felony $0.00   No
This was not the first time 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 his "help?"

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 Chagra, Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, Joey Cusumano, and Joey "The Clown" Lombardo were convicted.

     Goodman and Chagra           Goodman and Spilotro                  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 suits.

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 worthless and the IRS and Henrys may never see a dime.

However, if the City Council 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 the Gold 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.

To guarantee the IRS and Henrys get paid most, if not all, of what they're owed, 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 Too.

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 management of 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 an Ordained 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 serious threat to the community by the U.S. Department of Justice.

On Aug. 14, 2000, Rick Rizzolo was called a "Pillar of the Community" at one of Goodman's council meetings.

Evidently, Mayor Goodman still believes this to be true.

Copyright © Steve Miller

* If you would like to receive Steve's frequent E-Briefs about Las Vegas' scandals, click here: Steve Miller's Las Vegas E-Briefs

Copyright © Steve Miller

email Steve Miller at:
div. of PLR International
P.O. Box 23
Cleveland, OH 44072-0023

Copyright © 1998 - 2006 PLR International