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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:

Judge Jackie Glass may be stepping into
Judge Nancy Saitta's shoes by taking
multiple cases involving members
of the Rick Rizzolo crime family

The Federal Court just overruled Judge Glass'
decision to prohibit examination of Rick and
Lisa Rizzolo's hidden assets. Then Judge Glass
was suddenly reassigned to concurrently preside
over the sentencing of the Rizzolo's son.

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
January 5, 2009

Las Vegas - In the previous edition of INSIDE VEGAS entitled "Rizzolo's Lawyers Squirm," I described how convicted racketeer Rick Rizzolo's lawyers at the firm of Patti & Sgro tried to squelch production of documents; said their client's fortune was "money that was long ago spent;" then admitted a conflict of interest and tried to withdraw as Rizzolo's counsel while causing speculation they received legal fees under the table.

This triggered a series of strange events that sometimes occur during the Christmas holidays, a time when news reporters are usually taking time off and not paying attention to local and federal court filings. I was also on vacation, and evidently not expected to be monitoring the District and Federal Court websites.

It's common knowledge that Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Wolfson wants to be our town's next mayor. He's the husband of the Honorable Jackie Glass (photo above); the judge in the KIRK HENRY vs. THE POWER COMPANY, INC. attempted murder civil case.

The Power Company, Inc. is Rick Rizzolo's corporation. Judge Glass has presided over the protracted Kirk Henry case in Clark County District Court since 2003 -- without finding resolution. So Henry had to file a new action in United States Federal Court in order to move the case along, and with the help of Federal Court Judges Philip Pro and George Foley, the case is starting to slowly progress.

By coincidence and without explanation, on December 28, Judge Glass was "randomly" reassigned to preside over the January 13, 2009, sentencing of Dominic Rizzolo.

Dominic is the 26 year old son of Rick and Lisa Rizzolo. Last summer, Dominic pleaded guilty to stabbing a man during a botched extortion attempt. Dominic's sentencing became Judge Glass' second concurrent, "randomly assigned" case involving members of the same family -- something most judges would have immediately rejected because of the appearance of impropriety.

The day after the Dominic Rizzolo case reassignment to Judge Glass, a document (below) was filed in the Kirk Henry federal case that caused speculation that something was amiss. In the document, Rick Rizzolo's attorneys used a September 2008 ruling by Judge Glass to try to avoid revealing information they were ordered to produce concerning the whereabouts of Rick and Lisa Rizzolo's hidden fortune. The Rizzolos are accused of hiding their assets to avoid paying Kirk Henry and the IRS, while Rick Rizzolo is regularly observed squandering tens of thousands of dollars in cash on a nightly basis in Vegas casinos and clubs.

The above document, and the Dominic Rizzolo case reassignment -- filed within 24 hours of each other -- triggered suspicion that Judge Glass was about to become the Rizzolo family's newest personal judge.

Judge Glass' husband, Councilman Steve Wolfson (smiling), cannot be elected mayor without the support of Rick Rizzolo's former criminal defense attorney and corporate agent; current Mayor Oscar Goodman (left photo - Goodman glaring at photographer Mike Christ). Goodman has proudly proclaimed that Rick Rizzolo is his friend, and it's well known that associates of Rizzolo launched Goodman's early career as a mob lawyer. Goodman owes his financial success to Rizzolo associates including Joey Cusumano, Tony "the ant" Spilotro, and Joey "the clown" Lombardo, and Goodman is famous for returning favors. Like Goodman, Steve Wolfson is also a well known local criminal defense attorney.

Was the sudden reassignment of Wolfson's wife to preside over the sentencing of Rizzolo's delinquent son a quid pro quo?

If Judge Glass lets Dominic Rizzolo off with a slap on the wrist, will her act of extraordinary kindness endear her and her husband to Goodman's former criminal defense clients who are able to generate millions of dollars in political campaign contributions? And will Wolfson's wife's possible action inspire the extremely popular mayor to endorse Mr. Wolfson as his successor, and possibly catapult her to a position on the Nevada Supreme Court?

Such speculation is not far fetched. Former District Court Judge Nancy M. Saitta (LA Times photo below) was also assigned to multiple Rizzolo cases (five at the same time) in which he usually prevailed including the Scott David Fau wrongful death case. In November 2006, Saitta was elected to the Nevada Supreme Court. She was elected after she made the amazingly prejudicial statement: "Mr. Rizzolo has a good name in the community," while she was presiding over a Defamation of Character lawsuit in which Rizzolo was the Plaintiff, and after she was singled out in the June 8, 2006, Los Angeles Times story; "In Las Vegas, they're playing with a stacked judicial deck."

Vegas voters just didn't seem to care.

Saitta's election proves my theory, "No bad deed goes un-rewarded in Sin City," and I have no doubt that if Judge Glass follows in Siatta's footsteps, she will also end up on our state's highest court, and her husband will be our city's next mayor. Remember, Nevada voters also gifted our nation with United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid!

One of the worst kept Vegas secrets is that a few local judges can arrange to be "randomly assigned" to preside over certain cases they desire. An INSIDE VEGAS source at the Clark County Justice Center explained how it's done.

"Judges are selected to preside over local cases in a purportedly random manner. As each case is presented to the court clerk, it's supposed to be given to the next judge in numerical order. There are 19 District Court judges."

My source continued; "The court clerk sometimes sets aside special cases that certain judges desire, and waits until that judge's name is about to appear in numerical order on the clerk's computer screen, then pulls out the set aside case to be assigned to that judge. In this way, it's possible that all nationally televised trials including the Binion and Rudin cases were coincidentally assigned to former Judge Joseph Bonaventure who loved the spotlight, and five simultaneous cases involving the Rizzolos were coincidentally assigned to Judge Saitta until she resigned to take her seat on the Nevada Supreme Court."

On May 28, 2006, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith had this to say about Rick Rizzolo and Judge Siatta's relationship: "(Mike) Galardi recalled Rizzolo telling him that he had 'taken care of Saitta.' At a settlement conference, Galardi also recalled, Judge Saitta gave Rizzolo 'a big hug and kiss like they were friends' "

Back to Judge Glass. You may remember that it was Judge Glass who sentenced O.J. Simpson to over nine years in prison for a botched robbery attempt. Here's how The Associated Press described Glass: "Glass, a no-nonsense judge known for tough sentences, imposed such a complex series of consecutive and concurrent sentences that even many lawyers watching the case were confused as to how much time Simpson got."

Simpson was arrested and put in jail. Judge Glass set his bail at $250,000.00.

O.J. Simpson is no angel, but keep in mind that he had never been convicted of a major crime, and that he did not injure anyone during the event at the Palace Station Hotel on September 13, 2007, when he and several other men attempted to recover sports memorabilia with the use of a gun.

According to AP News; "But the judge emphasized that it was a violent confrontation in which at least one gun was drawn, and she said someone could have been shot. She said the evidence was overwhelming, with the planning, the confrontation itself and the aftermath all recorded on audio or videotape."

On January 21, 2008, Dominic Rizzolo stabbed a man in the chest during a botched extortion attempt. Dominic was arrested, but immediately let out on $15,000 bail. He later pleaded guilty to "Battery With Use Of A Deadly Weapon."

The stabbing was definitely a "violent confrontation." It was not a "could have" situation. The victim, William Moyer, spent six days in intensive care and almost died from his injuries!  Moyer has not been paid for his medical expenses, pain, or suffering, and the prospect seems unlikely (at this time) because Dominic Rizzolo has no known assets for Moyer's attorney to seize in the likely event he would win a civil judgment.

That stated, who should receive the harshest sentence? Simpson -- for threatening someone with a gun? Or Dominic Rizzolo for actually stabbing someone in a planned confrontation, and the aftermath confirmed by his guilty plea?  "The evidence was overwhelming."

The only difference between the O.J. Simpson case and the Dominic Rizzolo case is that Dominic's case will not be nationally televised, and that someone actually got hurt.

On January 13, will Judge Glass hold true to her description as a "no-nonsense judge known for tough sentences?" Or will she rule in a way to  enhance her and her husband's political futures?  Rick Rizzolo was recently heard saying that Dominic will "get off with one year probation."

With a new federal administration to be sworn in on January 20, 2009, judicial integrity should be of the highest priority. Cases such as Kirk Henry's, and Dominic Rizzolo's should be looked at carefully by the new administration to assure the public that organized crime and the political corruption that harbors it will not be tolerated in 2009 and beyond.

CANON 2 of the Nevada Code of Judicial Conduct states: "A judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of the judge’s activities."  "A judge shall respect and comply with the law and shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary."

Here's a Review-Journal story about the Federal Court overruling Judge Glass:
Jan. 03, 2009 
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal 

Man says Rizzolo is hedging on injury deal 


Attorneys representing a tourist left paralyzed after he was beaten at the Crazy Horse Too claim strip club owner Rick Rizzolo hid his assets to avoid honoring an agreement to pay the man $10 million. 

A federal court judge granted Kirk Henry's request to force Rizzolo to produce financial documents, including checks, billing invoices, payment records, engagement letters and transmittal sheets, according to court records. 

U.S. District Judge George Foley gave Rizzolo until Jan. 8 to submit the paperwork to the court.

FULL STORY with reader's comments:

Here's another recent Review-Journal story about the mysterious death of Buffalo Jim Barrier:

Dec. 30, 2008 
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal 

Daughter wants investigation into her father's death reopened 


The war between Buffalo Jim and his neighbor and landlord Rick Rizzolo was triggered a decade ago when Rizzolo wanted Barrier off his property east of Interstate 15 so he could expand his club. Barrier refused to leave. At the end of the battle, there were no winners.

Rizzolo, owner of the Crazy Horse Too Gentlemen's Club, pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 2006, spent six months in federal prison and was stripped of his business. Barrier was found dead in a motel room in April, a day after Rizzolo was released from prison.

Jennifer Barrier is convinced her 55-year-old father was murdered, and her family has long pointed a finger at Rizzolo. 

FULL STORY with reader's comments: 

Listen to: The Ghost of Buffalo Jim


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