For The Sins of the Father
Similarities between O.J.
Simpson and Rick Rizzolo cases
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
September 22, 2008
LAS VEGAS - At the opening of O.J. Simpson's
trial last week, prosecuting attorneys told the jury that Simpson had devised
a scheme to sell his sports memorabilia in Nevada to avoid paying a California
judgment to Fred Goldman.
When it comes to avoiding payment of court
ordered debts, Simpson seems to have found a loophole -- and an unexpected
protégé. Former Crazy Horse Too owner Rick
Rizzolo may be following Simpson's lead by finding quasi-legal ways
to keep creditors at bay.
On February 4, 1997, a trial jury awarded
$8.5 million in compensatory damages to the Goldman family and to Ron Goldman's
Eleven years later, the Goldman's have
not recovered one cent from Simpson.
In 2005, several weeks before Rick and
Lisa Rizzolo's divorce,
Rick entered into plea negotiations with the federal government in order
to keep his father, brother, and sister from being prosecuted. He agreed
to pay beating victim Kirk Henry $10 million dollars, and guaranteed to
pay off all debts whether the Crazy Horse was sold or not. He also agreed
to not declare bankruptcy.
Many believed he struck the sweetheart
of sweetheart deals.
Now, three years after Rick Rizzolo's
plea agreement and six months since he was released from prison, Henry
has received only $1 million from the Crazy Horse Too's insurance, and
not one cent from Rick and Lisa Rizzolo.
Unlike Simpson, Rick Rizzolo has not (yet)
been charged with a new crime, and consequently has escaped finding himself
back in court facing the renewed scrutiny of prosecutors and creditors.
In a legal maneuver similar to one taken
by Fred Goldman to try to locate Simpson's hidden fortune, Kirk Henry on
August 13, 2008 gained an ORDER
in US Federal Court forcing Rick and Lisa Rizzolo to disclose where they
their personal assets after their divorce. The court gave the couple
no later than May 13, 2009 to disclose assets Rick promised to use to pay
any debts over those that were supposed to be paid off from the sale of
the Crazy Horse's property, fixtures, and trade name.
In 2006, the City of Las Vegas levied a
million dollar fine on Rizzolo personally and his two corporations,
Power Company, Inc., and RicRiz, LLC. The fine was in response to sixteen
Crazy Horse Too employees including Rizzolo pleading guilty to felony crimes
including racketeering, tax evasion, and extortion of bar patrons.
Rizzolo is also responsible for paying
off a $5 million dollar bank loan and over $5 million to the IRS among
fifteen months have passed since the Crazy Horse permanently lost its liquor
license, and over eleven weeks since the building's adult use zoning permanently
expired. Now, the blood stained remnants of the nation's once-most profitable
adult venue sits vacant with US Marshal's Service No Trespassing stickers
glued to every door.
In the meantime, City
Attorney Brad Jerbic is forging ahead in the city's effort to collect
the multi-million dollar fine. A non-jury trial is set for February 18,
2009 in the Clark County District Court of Judge Mark Denton.
Because of its deteriorating condition
and the impossibility that it will ever reopen as a topless bar, along
with plummeting real estate values, the 2476 Industrial Road property is
presently not worth a fraction of the over $28 million dollars in judgments
and settlements levied against the Rizzolos, and Rick Rizzolo's personal
stock and political
clout is falling every day since he foolishly lost his business.
Those who followed Rizzolo's unbelievable
success can't help but wonder how he let his gold mine fall into the hands
of the federal government?
And those fifteen ex-Crazy Horse employees
who pleaded guilty based on Rick's false promise to provide attorneys to
defend them, are watching his every move.
Several former Crazy Horse employees report
seeing Rizzolo on a nightly basis
tens of thousands of dollars in cash in local casinos and clubs, something
prosecutors, the court, and Henry's legal team are aware of.
Witnesses allege that Rizzolo gives his
Diamond his cash to carry around to pay the outrageous bar tabs and
casino markers so it doesn't look like the money is coming from Rizzolo.
In Simpson's case, his infamy causes his
sports memorabilia to increase in value on a daily basis; something attorneys
for Goldman are also aware of. But in Rizzolo's case his infamy for losing
the Crazy Horse, then losing hundreds of thousands on the crap tables only
makes him look patently stupid.
The sale of the Crazy Horse was supposed
to have happened no later than July 2007, but through a not-so-clever series
of ruses intended to let the Rizzolo's maintain ownership, a legitimate
sale never came through. The government long suspected Rizzolo was pulling
a fast one, and eventually dropped the hammer ending any possibility he
or his family could ever again profit from the criminal enterprise reopening
under a straw
The government kept its side of the bargain
by letting Rizzolo off with a light sentence in exchange for his agreement
to not declare bankruptcy, and to pay all his debts.
Rick Rizzolo at Body
English, 2;00 AM, 7/10/08
at the time of the plea agreement, the feds never expected Rizzolo to transparently
his wife one month later and hire the brother
of a federal court judge to set up phony trusts in her name to hide
his fortune. Now Federal Prosecutor Eric Johnston has egg on its face while
knowing Rizzolo and his cronies party nightly at Las Vegas' most expensive
But, unlike Simpson, Rizzolo is not facing
charges and neither is his ex-wife -- yet. However, the couple's 26 year
old son Dominic
is facing felony charges for allegedly stabbing a man during a botched
Dominic is scheduled for ARRAIGNMENT on
October 14, 2008 before District Judge Douglas W. Herndon who has granted
two postponements in this case. The alleged stabbing took place last January.
Dominic is free on $13,000 bail.
Some believe when the local District Attorney
threw the book at Simpson over otherwise mundane charges, that the local
court system was seeking revenge for the death of Nicole Simpson and Ron
It may be possible that Dominic Rizzolo
may face the same wrath in court if his parents continue to avoid paying
their financial obligations.
On September 12, 2008, Lisa Rizzolo filed
an ANSWER to the court's DISCOVERY ORDER. In it, Lisa attempts to persuade
US Judge Philip Pro that Henry has no basis for going after the THE LISA
M RIZZOLO SEPARATE PROPERTY TRUST.
Here are several of her arguments:
Document 24 Filed 09/12/2008
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
COURT DISTRICT OF NEVADA
* * *
KIRK and AMY HENRY,
aka RICK RIZZOLO, an individual;
LISA RIZZOLO, an
THE RICK AND LISA
RIZZOLO FAMILY TRUST,
ANSWER AND CROSSCLAIM
was effectuated pursuant to a valid court order by a court of competent
jurisdiction which equitably divided the Defendants’ community property.
Damages, if any,
suffered by Plaintiffs are not attributable to any act, conduct, or omission
on the part of Defendant.
No actual or
justifiable controversy exists between the Plaintiffs and Defendant,
and thus, Plaintiffs’ Complaint must be dismissed.
An award of punitive
damages as claimed in Plaintiffs’ Complaint would be an excessive fine
and otherwise violate the provisions of the United States and/or Nevada
not commit any acts of oppression , fraud or malice, express or implied.
Any claim of damage
of Plaintiffs, or cause of action of Plaintiffs, as alleged in Plaintiffs’
Complaint, is barred by the doctrine of laches (Neglecting to do
what should or could, have been done to assert a claim or right for an
unreasonable and unjustified time causing disadvantage to another), as
to all or part of the claim of Plaintiffs.
that the occurrence referred to in Plaintiffs’ Complaint and damages, if
any, resulting therefrom, were caused by the acts or omissions of a
third party(ies) over whom Defendant had no control.
Any claim for relief
of Plaintiffs, or cause of action of Plaintiffs, as alleged in Plaintiffs’
Complaint, are barred by the statute of limitations.
the right to plead the following affirmative defenses without limitation
as the case proceeds through discovery: accord and satisfaction, arbitration
and award, assumption of risk, contributory negligence, discharge in
bankruptcy, duress, estoppel, failure of consideration, fraud, illegality,
injury by fellow servant, laches, license, payment release, res judicata,
statute of frauds, statute of limitations, waiver, intervening causation,
and any other matter constituting an affirmative defense.
Lisa claims that the timing of her divorce
had nothing to do with Rick's plea agreement several weeks earlier; that
the statute of limitations has run out; that she personally had nothing
to do with Henry's injuries; and that she can declare bankruptcy.
Rick Rizzolo agreed in his plea agreement
that bankruptcy is not an option. The "third party" Lisa refers to was
the bouncer she and her husband employed who broke Kirk Henry's neck over
a disputed bar tab.
Since Lisa only filed an ANSWER, not a
MOTION, Judge Pro does not have to issue a ruling. Her action is most likely
intended to be used in an appeal if one is ever warranted.
And, as if they didn't have enough troubles,
there's a recent development in the wrongful death case brought against
the Crazy Horse by the widow and daughters of Scott David Fau.
Fau was beaten to death by bar bouncers
in 1995, but his case didn't go to trial until January, 2003. At trial,
a district court judge who was friendly with Rizzolo did her best to skew
the jury's verdict, and the Crazy Horse was let off.
The judge, Nancy Saitta, who is now a Nevada
Supreme Court Justice, improperly sealed the case from the close of
trial on January 13, 2003, until a complaint was filed in 2007. Then,
in response to the complaint, on October 4, 2007, Judge Saitta reluctantly
published the following document which finally opened the Fau case record
four years after her seemingly endless trial began:
Saitta's denial of access effectively
kept Mrs. Fau's new attorneys from conducting research on the case history.
When the case record was finally opened to the public, Camille Fau's new
attorney filed an APPEAL with the Nevada Supreme Court (Saitta must abstain)
stating that the statute of limitations for an APPEAL had not run
out based on the improper sealing of the court record.
It has never been proven if Judge Saitta
sealed the case as a favor to Rizzolo who was at one time her biggest political
campaign contributor and a
close friend. But on June 8, 2006, the Los Angeles Times raked
Saitta over the coals for favors in their series; "In
Las Vegas, They're Playing With a Stacked Judicial Deck."
On October 22, 2007, I penned this INSIDE
VEGAS column on the subject: "Judge
ends 4 year long trial." Even under such heavy scrutiny, Saitta was
elected to a seat on our state's Supreme Court.
Rizzolo's insurance company -- the same
insurer that paid Kirk Henry one tenth of what he's owed -- is paying his
legal fees to try to stop Mrs. Fau's APPEAL. The Crazy Horse had a million
dollar umbrella at the time of Fau's death and at the time of Henry's beating.
The Justices can rule on Mrs. Fau's APPEAL
at any time.
Sometimes a son pays for the sins of his
father. In Dominic Rizzolo's case, he's innocent until proven guilty, but
as with Simpson, local courts may smell blood in the water and throw the
book at him to bring a semblance of justice to Kirk Henry and dozens of
others who were needlessly injured at his father and mother's violent former
place of business.
For years before his conviction, Rick Rizzolo
immunity from local elected officials. But since his fall from grace,
the Teflon apparently has worn off and he looks very vulnerable in 2009.
I suggest that if Dominic is bound over
for trial on October 14, or if the Nevada Supreme Court decides to re-open
the Fau case, Lisa Rizzolo -- if she loves her son -- should immediately
pay Kirk Henry, and the IRS.