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
"I was rolled at the Crazy Horse Too"
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
September 5, 2005
one wants to kill a goose that lays golden eggs
On August 30, I received the following e-mail. What makes this missive
unusual is that it was sent just as a three-year-long federal
investigation of racketeering, income tax evasion, credit card fraud,
and political corruption is about to wrap up.
I was rolled at the Crazy Horse Too
8/30/2005 12:43:51 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time
withheld by request)
Miller. I was at a bachelor party in Vegas this last weekend and
had a terrible experience at the Crazy Horse Too. I was basically
swindled by a couple of dancers who took advantage of my inebriated
state and was then intimidated into handing over my credit card.
When I got home and checked my bank and credit card statements online,
I saw they had charged $900 to my debit card and $1700 to my credit
card, in addition to a couple of other lesser charges. Turns out
they actually tried to then run through a seemingly random number of
transactions on my debit card after the first one, which
thankfully were all refused by the bank at that point.
I'm trying to dispute the charges as I feel I was basically robbed, and
have been reading your articles with great interest, seeing that the
place is notorious for just this sort of ripoff, and worse. Any
suggestions on how to remedy my situation, beyond just disputing the
The whole thing is a little embarrassing to be
honest. But you're right, knowing what I know now I guess
I'm lucky I still have all my teeth. I'm no expert on strip
clubs, but I'm wondering if there's even anything legal they could
possibly say I purchased for $2500+. I'm guessing that my calling
the club directly would be pointless, right?
Regards, (name withheld by
to sources within the joint FBI-IRS investigation,
indictments are about to handed down, however, this e-mail indicates
that the alleged crimes are ongoing -- indicating no lesson has been
learned after two law enforcement raids of the
Crazy Horse Too strip bar, and the arrest and indictment of its
Last week, I published the above
e-mail in my daily Insider E-Brief hoping others will volunteer
additional information. Shortly thereafter, I received this e-mail
from a man I had not heard from in two years:
Re: I was rolled at the Crazy Horse Too
8/30/2005 2:14:54 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time
withheld by request)
letter on crazy horse....as you may remember i testified before grand
jury in october...2 years ago, before eric johnson..the club tagged me
for $20,000. a couple card companies sided with me...a couple not...it
was a rip...double billing...ploy was....had trouble with card...need
another....got home and someone had booked flight on card, rooms at
marriott. i quess it is too late to ever recover money...the hotel and
flight were nipped in the bud by airline and card company....last time
i ever go there, or to vegas for that matter...keep up the good
work...(name withheld by request)
This column has proven to be a lightening rod
to persons with similar stories. A quick Google
search of "Crazy Horse
Too Las Vegas" will find Rick
Porrello's AmericanMafia.com - INSIDE VEGAS articles listed prominently --
an indication that many
people have accessed these pages -- hopefully before being placed in jeopardy.
In addition to victim's reports, the
feds during the second
the Crazy Horse's credit card readers and computers that
probably tell the extent of the fraud. Also, keep in mind that only a
small percentage of those who were swindled or beaten contacted me
but I'm aware of many more who went directly to the FBI with stories
such as this:
I was the patron at Crazy Horse Two who was beat up outside the club
for refusing to sign a charge bill I had not even started. Can you
please contact me on what I can do, if I can press charges. Also the
police who arrested me denied me medical attention and held me for 3
hours before booking me. This is what I remember happening on Monday,
April 19, 2005 at the Crazy Horse Too Strip Club.
...Once entering the club, we sat down at the closest seats to the
door, because those were available. I went to the bar and gave the
bartender my credit card and Driver's License.
The bartender came back and said you need to sign this before I can
give you your drinks. I said that is insane. I said I have been here
before, and never had to sign before buying anything. That is when the
bartender became abusive. I defended myself and said the same things to
him, then he came over and started arguing with me. That is when my
brother said: “... I will pay for the drinks,” and I said: “...we don't
have to put up with this.” That is when the manager came over and told
us to leave.
So when we got up to leave the bartender followed us out. Then the
manager came over and started pushing me. He pushed me three times, and
then I defended myself. That is when the bartender came over with
another guy and we started to tussle. I grabbed the chafing dish tray
tops and threw them at them, that is when I was grabbed from behind by
someone, and was thrown outside.
The next few minutes were a blur. I was hit from all sides by so many
people it became a blur. The next thing I knew I was on the ground, and
covering up so as to not get hit hard in the face. That is when I
my brother step back in and push some guys off me, and then I was able
to get back up. That is when the police arrived.
The police grabbed me with the bouncer. One of the bouncers had me in a
headlock while the police arrested me. That is when I was put in the
police car and the police officer put my cuffs on so tight, they were
cutting the circulation off from my fingers. The officer kept me over
at the Strip Club for another two hours, I thought he was going to let
me out and let them finish the job. So I told him to take me to the
police station. The paramedics came, and they looked at my face, and
determined that my mouth was all swollen due to my braces. I informed
them that my braces cut only in the inside, not the outside, they
refused to look at me. It seemed like he waited another hour and then
we left. Once I got to the detainment facility, there was a nurse and 8
police officers there to arrest me, the lead officer was good, he told
me not to be hostile.
I was taken in the booking facility, and was forced to sit there for a
while... After another hour one of the booking agents, said: “What are
we going to do with him?” That is when one of the other officers said,
they were not going to book me, and then the officer who arrested me
came in and said: “Yes we are.” So then I went through the booking
...They put me in a separate cell away from everyone else, where the
phone was broken, and I sat there contemplating my situation. They
brought me back out and I talked to the nurse. She was more interested
in that I had gastric bypass surgery than taking care of my face and my
swollen hands... I was released at 4 in the morning, still bloody,
swollen, tired, and contemplating what an ordeal I had just been
through. I was just glad I was alive. -- (name withheld by request)
As an indication of
the perceived danger of coming forward, and the reason witnesses have
asked for anonymity, Metro Sgt. Scott Killebrew with Metro's Organized
Crime Bureau filed an affidavit in 2002 that was quoted
by columnist John L. Smith in
the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Sgt. Scott's affidavit stated:
"Premature disclosure of this
information would prejudice the criminal investigation and endanger the
safety of possible witnesses. Potential subjects would be made aware
that they were the focus of a criminal investigation. Potential
subjects and possible witnesses friendly to them could coordinate and
rehearse their stories. Other witnesses, once identified, would be
subject to tampering, retribution, harassment and intimidation.
Cooperating witnesses would be especially at risk. Possible witnesses
have consistently expressed fear for their physical safety if it were
known or even suspected that they were in any way cooperating with law
enforcement authorities." "Disclosure of the records sought" would pose
"a real and serious risk to the criminal investigation and the personal
safety of potential witnesses."
Since the 2003 election, Metro's potential witnesses have had little to
worry about. Immediately after taking office, newly elected Clark County District
Attorney David Roger dropped all cases involving the Crazy Horse Too,
this after accepting a
highly controversial $45,000
political campaign contribution generated by Rizzolo.
Then there was this sent
by a reader telling of
an incident that allegedly happened at the Crazy Horse in 2003:
We agreed to
start a tab and I gave the barmaid my credit card. After a couple of
lap dances the blonde I was with began to proposition me with various
sexual favors and hourly rates. Before I knew it I had been offered,
and agreed to, 24 hours of time with her for $1,300.00. She said we
could do anything I wanted, sex front and back, blow jobs anything for
24 hours. She left for a few minutes and returned with another lady.
This lady was Asian and went by the name of (withheld). Before I knew
it, the second lady was in on the same deal for another $1,300.00, only
she proposed 48 hours.
The three of us went to the front
desk and began a lengthy paperwork process, approximately 40 minutes.
There was a Russian blonde cashier behind the counter that had my
credit card and another Russian lady dancer sitting in a chair next to
the counter in front. The 2 dancers I was with were making a big scene.
The Asian actually had her hand down my pants, holding my penis and
proudly announced that we were going to go " F - - ky S - - ky" for 48
hours... As the foolery and distractions continued, I was presented
with paperwork to sign periodically. Photo copies of my drivers license
and credit card were taken and I had to give a thumb print.
During this period of time I began to
wonder why it was taking so long to process this transaction... I asked
the girls where we would be going for the next 48 hours. The Asian said
"downstairs." I asked "here in this building?" She said "yes, here in
this building downstairs." The other lady confirmed the Asian's
response... They both said they had to use the bathroom first before we
go downstairs and encouraged me to do the same. Again there were at
least four employees that heard and witnessed all of this. I later
learned there is no downstairs.
...When we returned to the front desk
within 5 minutes, expecting to meet them, they never showed up. We
never saw them again. I immediately asked the cashier for a refund. She
said she couldn't do that. I said "but you have to, you just witnessed
this entire scam and you know that I didn't get what I paid for." Again
she said no. I asked to see the Manager. His name is (withheld). I
explained what had just taken place and a few of the witnesses and
employees confirmed my story. I insisted on a refund. He said no but
come back tomorrow and we'll take care of you.
... It was at this time that another
lady dancer showed up. She had witnessed part of this ordeal and felt
sorry for me... She knew how I felt and warned me not to make trouble
with the management, that they would not tolerate any verbal abuse or
deal with disputes. It could be dangerous!
... I was shocked to hear that I had
$6,500.00 worth of charges to my account!. Needless to say I was
speechless. Considering the warning I was given earlier, I decided not
to make a scene as we left for home.
... I am now a Federal
Witness to this investigation and protected by the laws that govern it.
withheld by request)
During a 2002 deposition
Rizzolo, the Crazy Horse's purported owner, he was asked: "Prior to hiring your employees, do
you inquire of them as to what their criminal history is?" Rizzolo replied: "No." He was then asked: "Why not?" Rizzolo answered: "I believe in giving everybody a
shot." Then when asked: "Irrespective
of what their criminal history may be?" Rizzolo replied: "Yes."
In respect to his boss's forgiving attitude, a current Crazy Horse employee told me: "If the guest is
fortunate enough to be invited to escort his host around the topless
club the first time of the night, when he enters the room, he can
witness every single floor man he comes in contact with, come up to the
Boss and respectfully kiss his cheek. If you wanted to be a soldier for
this leader, what would you do when some customer has the nerve to
refuse to pay tribute to your leader's sanctuary or one of his
'broads?' I'm only surprised that they don't wear spats with their
tuxedos and brass knuckles."
In Sin City, Rizzolo continues "giving everybody a
shot" irrespective of their criminal history.
However, Rizzolo is also spending a lot of time out of town. He's
preparing for the grand opening
of another Crazy Horse Too in Philadelphia!
"In July of 2001, (Eben)
Kostbar alleges he was beaten by bouncers
at the Crazy Horse after a
dispute over his tab." -- KVBC
TV News, October 2002
sued the strip bar, but
settled his multi-million dollar lawsuit in 2003
for an undisclosed sum, as have a number of other victims.
Since the mid 1990s,
numerous reports of intimidation, beatings, and a killing
were filed by Las Vegas
Metro Police. In 2001,
Kansas tourist Kirk
Henry allegedly had his neck broken by Crazy Horse manager Bobby
D'Apice after Henry disputed an $88 bar tab. Henry's assault, and
the non-response by local authorities, triggered the federal
investigation and arrest of
D'Apice -- not by LV Metro -- but by FBI and IRS police. In the wake of
this, Mayor Oscar Goodman shamelessly accepted a $40,000 campaign contribution from
Rizzolo for his uncontested run for a second term. Since then, the
mayor has ignored hundreds of calls for disciplinary action against the
Crazy Horse's liquor license, while the DA refused to prosecute
D'Apice. (Henry's Attempted Murder civil lawsuit escalated from state
court into the jurisdiction of US District Court on August 15, 2005.)
"I disputed it right then and
there because I didn't agree with the charges. I thought it was
frivolous. And basically, I was coerced into signing the receipt... If
I had 3-thousand dollars worth of lap dances -- I don't think I'd be
walking by morning time... The bouncer, not the bouncer but the
bartender said, 'If you don't sign this tab you'll get your ass kicked
like anybody else around this joint.' basically, I was intimidated."
man who wanted his identity
protected, KVBC TV News, November 21, 2002
activities at the Crazy Horse are best summed up by former federal
Hunterton and Don Campbell:
"For years, the management and
security' staff of the Crazy Horse has been infested by a rogues'
gallery of thugs, thieves, drug pushers, and corrupt ex-cops. Most, if
not all, have well-documented ties to organized crime figures who
frequent the premises. All of this has nurtured a culture of violence
marked by robberies, beatings and even death."
frustrating years of covering this seemingly endless story, I'm
convinced that a few corrupt
local politicians and law enforcement officials
have allowed this criminal enterprise to remain in business. Its
painfully obvious that many Sin City government officials are either paid
off, or too cowardly to act.
Until the federal government drops the
hammer on the mayhem and local political corruption that harbors it,
our town will continue to get an undeserved black eye, and our tourists
will remain prey. If the feds don't act swiftly, the venom will
spread to the east coast, where -- like in Vegas -- no politician wants
to kill a goose that lays golden eggs.
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scandals, click here: Steve Miller's Las Vegas E-Briefs
Copyright © Steve Miller
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