Even though the federal court and city council ruled no member of
Rizzolo's family could enter the premises, it was well known that
Signorelli was never intended to solely be in charge of the day to day
operation while Rizzolo is in prison.
Rizzolo's son Dominic, brother Ralph, Sister Annette, and father Bart
were actually running the place along with a number of banned former
employees while Signorelli slept in the back room expecting to be paid
handsomely for the use of his "good" name and liquor license.
City politicians were intent on keeping the topless bar alive until
Rizzolo was released and took some extraordinary measures to do so --
until an unexpected monkey wrench fell in the works.
82 year old Nick
Steffora began picketing the Crazy Horse shortly after Signorelli
Steffora says in 1982, Signorelli was
his business partner and bilked him out of hundreds of thousands of
dollars after declaring bankruptcy. He sued Signorelli in Federal
Court, but said he never received a dime.
In June 1998, Signorelli opened the
Mesquite Star Casino and went bankrupt one year later. Then he was sued by over one hundred of his employees
for allegedly looting their pay checks of health insurance
premiums, something he would again be accused of doing at the Crazy
When Steffora began picketing the newly re-opened bar,
something strange. According to Steffora, several times each day a car
would drive up to the entrance of the Crazy Horse and a suitcase would
be placed into the back seat.
It's not known what was in the suitcase, but a year later based on a
MOTION filed by Rick Rizzolo, it's suspected that the suitcase
contained cash being skimmed from the bar's daily revenue.
The mysterious suitcase was also observed by Crazy Horse neighbor
Buffalo Jim Barrier who cooberated Steffora's allegation. While
Steffora kept tabs on the suitcase, he also noticed the
comings and goings of the Rizzolos. He shared his concerns with
Barrier. Barrier began faxing me daily logs showing the dates and times
Rizzolo family members were in the building.
Knowing the violent methods the Rizzolos used to make money in their
strip club, and as a former Las Vegas City Councilman, I felt compelled
to immediately e-mail the council members to inform them them their
were being blatantly violated. A special meeting was scheduled
With Barrier and I
sitting in the audience armed with eyewitness statements and photographs of
the Rizzolo family violating council orders, and with three TV news crews taping the
proceedings, the council was
placed in a box they couldn't get out of.
On November 2, 2006, the LV
"The City Council agreed to issue a new liquor license for Signorelli
last month. He is leasing the building for $400,000 a month, with one
of the conditions that no one who pleaded guilty to federal crimes be
involved in the business. The license is subject to a three-month
members pointed to members of the public who reported that Rizzolos
continued to work there. Former councilman and relentless Crazy Horse
Too foe Steve Miller has sent numerous e-mails and messages to the City
Council alleging that the Rizzolos continued to operate the club.
one, dated Oct. 20, he wrote, 'Rick Rizzolo's 22-year-old son Dominic
is now running the CH2 (Crazy Horse Too) with Rick's brother Ralph as
the number two guy.' "
The council begrudgingly ordered
Signorelli to fire the Rizzolo family members even though he claimed
not to know who they were.
attorney Jay Brown -- who also happens to be the
law partner of the mayor -- explained that his client was not aware
that his general manager, assistant general
manager, and bookkeeper's last names are "Rizzolo."
"I go down a list and I don't see the last name, being that it's very
difficult to find out whose related and whose not," Signorelli told the
stunned council about his executive staff.
Even in the face of overwhelming evidence that would have padlocked any
other business, to show the depth of influence keeping the Crazy Horse
even the news of dual bankruptcies didn't discourage one member of the
city council from helping Signorelli.
The Las Vegas Sun quoted Councilman
Steve Wolfson making this amazing statement in favor of granting
Signorelli a permanent liquor license to operate the Crazy Horse Too:
"Mr. Signorelli has been in town
for many, many years, and there's not been one blemish against his
record. He's a
respected businessman who offered evidence of his good credit with
Wolfson's statement broadcast on Government Access TV and reported in
the Sun, he received
criticism that could come back to haunt him at
his next political campaign. In response, he had his statement excised
from the city's official transcript and from the audio and video
recordings of the hearing -- a clear violation of city, state, and
federal law. No legal action was taken by local officials who once
considered Rick Rizzolo a "Pillar
of the community" and counted on him for hundreds of thousands of
dollars in political campaign contributions over the years.
Then there's Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian who last November sponsored an
ordinance to allow the Crazy Horse to retain its non-conforming adult
use zoning for an additional six months. Had she not done this favor,
the zoning would have permanently expired on December 30, six months
after the place closed, and there would be no need for today's INSIDE
complied with the council's order, and following the Rizzolo's departure, the skimming allegedly began. From then
on, all deals were off. It was obvious Signorelli had never bargained
for being left alone to operate a strip joint, something he had no
experience doing. He soon became the Rizzolo's biggest enemy.
If what Rizzolo's lawyers say is true in their MOTION, coupled with
eyewitness reports from Steffora and Barrier, the Crazy Horse was
probably being skimmed to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars
each week while Signorelli was running the place outside the
supervision of Rizzolo family members.
It's now clear that our successful efforts to keep the Rizzolo's off
the property inadvertently made it possible for them to be ripped off on a giant scale!
Our efforts may even be used as evidence against Rizzolo's once-straw
man who made a one hundred and eighty degree turn and became his arch
Though it wasn't planned that way, the irony of Barrier, Steffora, and
I having something to do with helping Rizzolo defend himself against
Signorelli's law suit is more than amazing!
Rizzolo's attorneys also are telling the Federal Court that Signorelli
didn't pay one dime of his $400,000 per month rent on the strip bar;
his payroll or sales taxes; or employee health insurance premiums as
was his habit at other businesses he's owned.
Now, the Rizzolo's, or the purported buyer of the club, will be left
holding the bag for additional state and federal taxes not paid during
the Rizzolo's absence. Signorelli may also have to explain about the
liquor that Rizzolo claims ended up at the Golden Steer.
One of Signorelli's regulars told me that Crazy Horse favorites Cristal
and Dom Perignon are currently flowing like water at the Golden Steer
bar along with shots of Johnnie Walker Blue -- another former Crazy
Horse specialty. The only problem is that Nevada law (NRS 369.487)
requires that retailers must purchase liquor only from wholesalers and
may not purchase for resale from other retailers. So I suggest Mr.
Signorelli begin giving away the alcoholic beverages he may have
illicitly obtained from Rizzolo.
Signorelli is also facing IRS liens based on other business problems
he's experienced. But that may not be his biggest problem.
Disrespecting the Mob can cause much more serious consequences than tax
Then there's the pesky MOTION brought by Security Pacific Bank of
California who blindly loaned Rizzolo $5 million solely on his
signature several months before he was indicted. Immediately after
receiving his check, Rizzolo skipped with the cash. The bank now says
they were defrauded, and want to be put in first position so they can
foreclose on the Crazy Horse property that was appraised by the
Department of Justice for only $4.6 million.
The bank has a stockholder and former director who is a close friend of
Rick Rizzolo. Ex-Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones is suspected of vouching for
her friend so the bank would forego their usual due diligence.
Now Security Pacific Bank is crying foul.
U.S. Federal Judge Philip Pro is expected to hear the bank's MOTION
sometime this month. But based on a document sent to the bank by
Barrier's attorney Gus Flangas informing them that Barrier has a
lawsuit against Rizzolo, along with documents and Internet
links provided by me forewarning bank officials that they were dealing with a crook, another
monkey wrench was thrown into the works.
Now Security Pacific Bank may
have a hard time convincing Judge Pro they were defrauded; didn't know
in advance of Rizzolo's criminal activities; and that his property was
about to be seized by the Feds.
The bank was also not made aware that the Nevada Department of
Transportation has plans to seize
a 23 foot deep swath of the club's entire frontage for a road widening
sometime in 2009.
So the equity for a $5 million dollar loan was just not there, and
whoever convinced the bank to cut the check without doing proper
research should be the one they're going after, not the overly
encumbered Crazy Horse real estate that rightfully should have been
auctioned off by now with the proceeds going to beating
victim Kirk Henry.
If the property is not valuable enough to garner the $9 million owed to
Henry, the $5 million owed the IRS, and another $5 million owed to the
city, county, and state, then the federal court should liquidate
Rizzolo's more-than-adaquate personal assets so he can cover future
There's also the matter of the 1995 beating death of long haul trucker
Scott Fau. He died after being kicked by club bouncers District
Attorney David Roger obligingly
refused to prosecute. (This is the same DA who is spending
countless tax dollars prosecuting O.J. Simpson for trying to get back
his sports memorabilia.)
Fau's widow sued in civil court, and lost after a compromised judge
mis-advised the jury not to consider blunt force trauma as the cause of
death two hours after the beating. Because Mrs. Fau could not afford to
hire a pathologist to educate the jury, and because Judge
Nancy Saitta is a close friend of Rizzolo, the jury ruled in favor
of the Crazy Horse after only two hours deliberation.
This case is far from over. Mrs. Fau has a new attorney who filed a
WRIT now pending before the Nevada Supreme Court asking to reverse the
jury's hasty ruling. Also, Judge Saitta was recently severely
sanctioned by the Supreme Court and has lost all credibility, so
there's a real chance the Fau case will again see the light of day.
With this in mind along with the threat of eminent domain and the low
ball appraisal, it's a wonder that any legitimate businessman would be
interested in buying the place anywhere near the Fed's asking price of
Respected bankers will not touch a loan with no tangible equity to
cover the debt service. So the only buyers willing to ante up purported offers of $28 - $34 million are obviously Mob guys who know how
profitable it is to bash in the heads of bar patrons who refuse to sign
inflated credit card tabs, sell dope, launder cash, and hustle
prostitutes -- Rizzolo's specialties that he once bragged made the
Crazy Horse worth $125 million dollars to the right operator.
Furthermore, based on their past performance, it's doubtful the mayor
and council will be willing to license a new operator who's not associated with organized
I believe only La Cosa Nostra would be willing to pay five times
appraised value for such a dump. There are just too many
questions still unanswered for legitimate businessmen to get involved.
Questions including whether Security Pacific Bank has a right to
foreclose? Will a new jury rule in favor of the Fau family? And who is
going to pay the back taxes to the state of Nevada, Clark County, and
the City's $2.3 million dollar fine?
Every day the place stays closed, its value and customer base declines
while competitors take up the slack in newer, safer, plusher venues.
The high ball offers of $28 - $34 million should be a red flag to
federal officials, but they only seem interested in selling at top
dollar and getting out of town.
And the most burning question:
Why hasn't the government gone after Rick Rizzolo's hidden personal
assets instead of trying to sell the place at five times market value?
The U.S. Marshal's Office even commissioned a Washington D.C. based
federal agent with expertise in real estate transactions to assist a
national real estate broker in facilitating a top dollar sale. So far
all the potential buyers have questionable backgrounds.
Meanwhile, the family of quadriplegic Kirk Henry has not received a
dime of Rizzolo's personal money to pay their medical expenses for
injuries suffered in 2001 at the hands of Crazy Horse employees when he
refused to pay an inflated bar tab.
The Mob are the only ones who know how to generate enough money at a
strip club to more than cover these and other potential liabilities.
They will simply resume the methods used by the Rizzolos. They also
know how to pay off public officials to let this happen once again.
But if somebody straight gets
it's expected that Rizzolo will retaliate by throwing in a bunch of
hookers and drug dealers to sabotage the new owner. And as a favor to
Rizzolo, several crooked cops, the DA, the mayor and several of his
obedient council members including Wolfson and
Tarkanian will jump at the chance of finding enough violations to
revoke the new owner's
liquor license in order to give Rizzolo satisfaction. You just can't
get away with dissing the Mob in Sin City.
The Department of Justice promises to
announce who the new owner will be sometime this month -- unless
someone throws another monkey wrench in the works.
Meanwhile the joint's been
dark since July 1, 2007. Taxpayers unknowingly continue to pay to keep
the lights on and employ 24 hour security guards to watch over the
place like it's a national treasure.
If our government would pay as
attention securing our southern border as they are to securing the
Mob's shut down titty
bar, this country would be a much better place.
Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Copyright © Steve Miller