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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:

Rizzolo's only response
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
September 1, 2003
                Rick Rizzolo                                                         Kirk Henry

"Then can you explain to me how it is that my client goes into their establishment and ends up being a quadriplegic?" - attorney Donald Campbell.

"I heard a noise behind me, and before I could turn around I felt an arm come around my shoulders and neck and I heard like a grunting noise. My head was, neck was twisted down violently, and I fell to the ground. I felt a pop. I reached down and touched my legs and there was no feeling. I screamed, 'I can't feel my legs. I can't feel my legs.' " - Kirk Henry

"There has 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 Rizzlolo

LAS VEGAS - Almost three years following an event that occurred on September 20, 2000, a highly publicized trial is looming over the head of a prominent Sin City topless bar owner. In less than five months, Frederick "Rick" Rizzolo, the purported owner of a Vegas strip bar, will be placed under oath and will have to explain the events leading up to Kansas tourist Kirk Henry becomming a quadriplegic.

Several attempts were made by Rizzolo's lawyers to postpone the attempted murder trial. They argued unsuccessfully that because of an ongoing federal organized crime investigation of their client and his business, Henry's civil trial should be postponed indefinitely. Clark County District Court Judge Nancy Glass strongly disagreed. On March 3, 2003, Judge Glass denied a motion to stay progress and set trial by jury for February 17, 2004, stating "This trial will be number one on the stack!"

Even with the trial looming, Rizzolo remained undaunted. When Bart Rizzolo, Rick Rizzolo's father, was asked about the lawsuit he stated, "There has 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."

On October 3, 2000, I penned the first story ever published about the Henry incident. Included in my front page story were photos taken by the Crazy Horse's next door neighbor Buffalo Jim Barrier. To Rizzolo's dismay, two days following my article the story went multi-media.

On October 9, the newspaper I formerly contributed to received a Letter to the Editor purportedly authored by Rick Rizzolo. Because this was the only direct response to much of the information I provide my readers, I have reproduced the letter unedited for your perusal (below). However, after almost three years new information has surfaced and several disclaimers and corrections are warranted.

In his letter Rizzolo twice states that I was the owner of the newspaper in which my articles appeared. I have never owned a newspaper. He stated that I was the owner of a competitive adult business. I have never owned an adult business. He stated that I was the subject of a libel lawsuit he filed against myself and the newspaper. Rizzolo's libel lawsuit was dismissed on July 25, 2003. He stated that James Barrier, the newspaper and myself were sued for racketeering. No such lawsuits were ever filed. He stated that I financed Barrier's defense to an eviction suit. I never financed anything for Mr. Barrier. He stated that I unsuccessfully attempted to remove a judge from his cases. Clark County District Court Judge Nancy M. Saitta voluntarily removed herself from four cases involving Rizzolo after I wrote several articles and editorials disclosing that she was simultaniously assigned five cases involving one of her biggest campaign contributors. He stated that Scott David Fau was not dead when he was found near railroad tracks behind the topless bar, and that the cause of his death could not be determined. Medical examiners determined the cause of death to be "blunt force trauma." At trial, bar employees described beating Fau until he was unconscious, but the jury could not connect his death with the beating.

Letter to Editor
October 9, 2001

On September 25, 2001, the Tribune published an article entitled, "Racketeering Charge Against Rizzolo Sticks," written by Steve Miller.

In no way could this article, with its false and misleading information, be considered a news article worthy of publication in a "real" newspaper or even on the Internet. These lies have injured us and our reputation; we demand and, in the interest of truth, must be provided with a retraction, as well as publication of this letter.

This article and Mr. Miller, who owns and utilizes this newspaper as a vehicle to attack business and political competitors, does nothing but mock real journalism.

Not only does this paper fail to report that Mr. Miller owns the newspaper for which he is its most prolific writer, but also fails to report the extent of Mr. Miller's interest and involvement in the lawsuits he discussed.

The Las Vegas Tribune and Mr. Miller fail to disclose that Mr. Miller is the landlord of Club Paradise. Club Paradise, an adult dance establishment, is a direct business competitor of the club I operate, Crazy Horse Too.

A mere glance at the titles to Mr. Miller's articles clearly reveals Mr. Miller's bias against his competitor, the Crazy Horse Too and myself, and his complete lack of journalistic professionalism.

Mr. Miller, unlike the true newspapers of this city, has devoted much of his time and energy to writing articles about me and my club. What Mr. Miller omits, in addition to what he chooses to write, in these articles are tell-tale signs of Mr. Miller's agenda.

In every Miller article devoted to myself or to Crazy Horse Too, Mr. Miller, in violation of what every first-year journalism student is taught, presents only one side of the story. For example, while quoting directly from complaints filed against me, Mr. Miller has never quoted the complaint I filed against him or his personal friend, James Barrier, When Mr. Miller does deign to mention those complaints against him, the reference is brief, cursory, and buried somewhere towards the end of the article.

It is no surprise, of course, that one will not find a single article in the Tribune reporting any event or fact favorable to myself or to my club.

In many of his articles, Mr. Miller claimed that he sought comments from me. With this letter, I now present Mr. Miller and the Tribune my comments to those articles and, if the Tribune has any integrity, it must publish this letter without changes.

Also in every article devoted to myself or my club, Mr. Miller continues to make unsubstantiated statements or make tenuous connections to unrelated events in an attempt to show that I somehow run the City of Las Vegas, including its prosecutors, the police and fire departments, the judges, and the City Council.

In his October 2 article, Mr. Miller wrote that "It is well known that City Councilman Michael McDonald takes his marching orders from" me. (If this "fact" was so well known, Mr. Miller could have easily quoted someone, but Mr. Miller did not do that since such an attempt would actually involve real investigative journalism.) Of course, Mr. Miller does not substantiate such allegations except by connecting me with McDonald, McDonald with Cusamano, and Cusamano with me.

Mr. Miller, as customary, omits circumstances which would reveal his bias against Councilman McDonald. Although Mr. Miller repeatedly reminds his readers at the end of his editorials that be was a former City Councilman, Mr. Miller conveniently forgets to mention that he lost his seat to Councilman McDonald, who shares the spotlight that Mr. Miller likes to place on me.

For those interested in the truth, which the Tribune does not apparently offer, Mr., Miller was sued along with James Barrier and the Las Vegas Tribune for racketeering, which alleges that Mr. Miller has been repeatedly involved in providing false evidence to the court.

Mr. Miller, or this paper, could have no justification for publishing false and misleading information, especially considering Mr. Miller's inside information, Mr. Miller is a party to the lawsuits and has been privy to all information. Everything Mr. Miller reports is also public information and requires no diligence or investigative reporting. Yet, Mr. Miller, in. his article, omits, skews, or outwardly lies about pertinent information.

For example, in paragraph two of the September 25 article, Mr. Miller wrote that the attempt to evict Barrier was unsuccessful and that the eviction suit was brought to expand Crazy Horse Too. To the contrary, Barrier would have been evicted had he not agreed to comply with his landlord's and the law's demands. Those demands included refraining from dumping toxic chemicals in and around the property, refraining from parking his junk automobiles in neighboring private properties and common areas, and taking down a big belching mechanical buffalo that was deemed an environmental nuisance. The eviction was also brought because Barrier has been operating an automobile body shop without a license.

The eviction suit was not brought at all by myself or as an attempt to expand the Crazy Horse Too. The architectural drawings depicting expansion into Mr. Barrier's leaseholds, referred to in paragraph twelve of Mr. Miller's article, were prepared long before Crazy Horse Too expanded in the other direction and certainly long before the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced possible plans to widen Industrial Road. The DOT has not even scheduled this purported expansion.

Ironically, it is not our leasehold that is in danger of being substantially reduced by the DOT expansion; it is Mr. Barrier's leasehold, which is closer to Industrial, Widening Industrial would essentially eliminate Barrier's property. Undoubtedly, Barrier is willing to negotiate and sell his leasehold that may not be there in a couple of years.

In any case, if Mr. Miller had actually done some investigating, as any reporter would do, and contacted the architect of those plans, Mr. Miller would have discovered two sets of plans for the expansion of Crazy Horse Too, one northward and the other southward towards Mr. Barrier's leasehold, both of which were prepared well before the proposed DOT expansion.

Contrary to Mr. Barrier's claim, I did make an offer to Mr. Barrier when I was still contemplating these two options for expansion. When Mr. Barrier sought a ludicrous multimillion dollar purchase price, a price that was ten times more than what his actual leasehold was worth, I decided on a northward expansion and purchased the adult bookstore that was next to Crazy Horse Too, Once Crazy Horse Too expanded northward, there was no reason and no need to purchase Mr. Barrier's leasehold.

Again, accurately reporting the facts takes no investigative skills as Mr. Miller would have had all the inside information, since he did, after all, finance Mr. Barrier's defense to the eviction suit.

This he did in exchange for Mr. Barrier's agreement to file a countercomplaint against me. Mr. Barrier himself admitted this in court, under oath, on March 15, 2001

In paragraph three of the article, Mr. Miller further reported that District Court Judge Nancy Saitta denied our motion to dismiss the Conspiracy/Civil RICO causes of action. Again, a blatant lie, as Mr. Miller well knows and as evident by the absence of an order dismissing the motion. In fact, not only did Judge Saitta not deny the motion but she also stated that she deemed it "meritorious." In other words, Judge Saitta found that Mr. Barrier's complaint was legally defective in that it failed to state what we did that could amount to a conspiracy or racketeering. The only reason that Mr. Barrier's case has not been dismissed is because Judge Saitta gave Mr. Barrier another opportunity to re-write his complaint. Unless he can now come up with a new theory of liability, his case will be dismissed

Thus, contrary to the article's title, the racketeering charge against me has not "stuck."

In the eighth paragraph of the September 25E article, Mr. Miller wrote that Judge Nancy Oesterle dismissed the eviction action brought by Barrier's landlord Renata Schiff. Again, this is incorrect. Judge Oesterle did not dismiss the action; the court was divested of jurisdiction when Barrier and Mr. Miller filed for declaratory relief.

Additionally, it was not "by coincidence" that the libel action is also assigned to Judge Saitta. The cases before Judge Saitta have been consolidated and are being heard by one judge because they involve the same matter, Mr. Miller had unsuccessfully attempted to remove Judge Saitta, but a different and independent judge, Judge Ron Parraguirre, found that Mr. Miller had acted improperly in doing so.

In the fifth paragraph of the article (and in two October, 2001, articles) Mr. Miller misstated the facts of another case, facts which are again available to the public. Contrary to what Mr. Miller wrote, Mr. Fau was not found beaten to death. Mr. Fau was not even dead when he was found.

Contrary to what Mr. Miller chooses to report, the coroner who examined Mr. Fau's body could not determine the cause of death but completely ruled out that Mr. Fau was beaten to death or that his death was caused by an altercation. Mr. Fau, with his friend, had come into the Crazy Horse Too in an inebriated state and threatened and harassed my bartender, When my employees were attempting to eject Mr. Fau, who was at least six feet tall and weighed 300 pounds, from the club, Mr. Fau took off his belt, wrapped it around his hand, and struck one or more of my employees, injuring them.

Two of my employees eventually had to go to the hospital for those injuries. The police had to be called in and it was the police who ejected Mr. Fau and his friend from the premises and saw these two people walk southwards away from the club. At least three hours had elapsed before Mr. Fau's body was found on the train tracks far from Crazy Horse Too.

Mr. Miller also refers to another alleged beating that occurred at my club on September 20, 2001. No "beating" ever occurred on my premises on that day. A customer leaving the club drunk did trip, but in no way was this man "beaten," About the only accurate fact reported by Mr. Miller was the club personnel were standing over the injured man. Of course, Mr. Miller does not mention that my employees were assisting the injured man, as that would ruin his insinuation that my employees had "beat up" this man.

It appears that Mr. Miller's omissions of the pertinent information discussed above was necessary to preserve the very purpose for the Tribune's existence. That purpose is not to report the truth but to provide Mr. Miller an outlet to attack those he considers as "enemies" or competitors. Unfortunately, Mr. Miller attacks more than just enemies; he mocks the public, the public's intelligence, and real journalism. With this unethical twisting of the truth, Mr. Miller and the Tribune disgrace even Yellow Journalism.

Rick Rizzolo
President, Crazy Horse Too

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