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
Rizzolo's story becomes tabloid fodder
VEGAS by Steve Miller
January 9, 2006
Rizzolo has a criminal record for brutal
violence. In 1985 he pleaded
guilty to battering a Crazy Horse client with a baseball bat. The man
suffered brain damage and died several years later... “Rick
Rizzolo made his fortune by paying off crooked cops, politicians, DAs
and judges to keep a lid on his and his associates’ criminal
activities,” Miller charges. “It will now take the FBI and the IRS to
clean up what we on a local level should have had the courage to stop
years ago.” - GLOBE, January 9, 2006
LAS VEGAS - In a story you
first read on AmericanMafia.com, I told you
of a politically protected Sin City strip club, the Crazy Horse Too,
and its owner who made a
fortune extorting club patrons into paying highly inflated bar
and lap dance tabs. If the patron refused, many were beaten,
crippled, or killed. Now the story has gone national and is the talk of
Tinseltown because of its involvement with Academy Award winning actors.
story was first picked up in 2003 by NBC
News. A Dateline NBC
segment soon followed. Still, local law enforcement and liquor
authorities did nothing. Then the Orange
County Register broke the story about Rick Rizzolo, the Crazy Horse's purported
owner, being a convicted
felon for beating a patron almost to death with a baseball bat. This
was followed by a story in the New
York Daily News, and now the Globe.
Always looking for a new spin on a
rapidly developing story that includes famous people, sex and drugs,
national entertainment writers sought to
learn the identity of whom
in the movie business frequented the Crazy Horse located near the
Las Vegas Strip. Soon the names George Clooney, Joe Pesci, and
De Niro surfaced.
(Mysteriously, the baseball bat beating
and movie star stories have not yet been covered by the Las Vegas
Of course, such successful actors do not want their names
associated with "Hookers, Drugs, or Fraud," things the Crazy Horse has
become infamous for, but thanks to their
friendship with Rick Rizzolo and their oft times presence in his club,
men are now unwilling subjects of the Crazy Horse stigma.
Within days of the famous threesome first being mentioned as frequent
visitors, the Federal Grand Jury's interest piqued, and the
celebrities soon received subpoenas to testify in an investigation of
the new Vegas mob. The Fed prosecutors
wanted to know what they knew about Rizzolo, his operation, and his
Paparazzi gathered outside the federal courthouse in anticipation. When
the stars emerged from their grand jury sessions, few words were spoken
to reporters with the
exception of Rizzolo's always vocal attorney Tony Sgro who tried his
best to minimize
the importance of their testimony by telling the New York Daily News
that the Feds
"have tried to make those friends nervous in order to cause those
friendships to end." "To suggest that any of those friends know
anything with regard to the Crazy Horse is absurd."
But following last month's coverage in the Daily News
, and this week's
headlines in the Globe
doubtful that Hollywood's finest will continue to feel comfortable
recreating at the Crazy Horse Too, especially with a Federal Grand
Jury about to issue criminal indictments any day now against their
club boss" friend.
, like other
media outlets, called on Rick Porrello's AmericanMafia.com for
assistance in writing their highly accurate story. Exclusive photos
were requested, and ones used in this week's Globe
from INSIDE VEGAS columns.
The Globe photo of Rizzolo
smoking was from the October 10, 2005, INSIDE VEGAS column "Stupid
is as stupid does." It was taken by Rizzolo's worst nemesis, his
door neighbor Buffalo
Barrier snapped Rizzolo as he was walking through his parking lot,
suspecting that the unshaven, disheveled picture bearing his photo
credit would appear on every
supermarket and convenience store checkout stand in the US and Canada!
has for years preferred a well groomed photo showing
him wearing his favorite blue tie. The photo appeared
in the November 3, 2005
County Register story, "Vegas club owner said to have mob ties." He reportedly brags the
makes him resemble John
Gotti even though it accompanied the first story ever told of Rizzolo's
criminal conviction for the baseball bat beating.
In the meantime, the Department of
Washington D.C. is busy dotting the I's and crossing the T's of a
three-year-long joint FBI-IRS investigation into racketeering,
money laundering, robbery, kidnapping, prostitution and tax evasion --
all crimes that
any red blooded American movie star would dread having his good name
TEXT OF THIS WEEK'S GLOBE STORY:
CLOONEY GRILLED IN VEGAS MOB PROBE
January 9, 2006
By PAUL BANNISTER
FEDERAL agents looking into Mob racketeering and extortion in Las Vegas
made George Clooney an offer he couldn't refuse.
They called in the Ocean’s 11 star to ask him about his friendship with
a strip club owner they're investigating for links to organized crime.
Also swept up in the Fed’s investigation were Robert De Niro and Joe
Pesci, who were also questioned.
Clooney’s reported friendship with Rick Rizzolo, the owner of the
notorious topless club Crazy Horse Too, has been the talk of the
gambling mecca for several years.
Rizzolo himself bragged, “George is my buddy” to the Las Vegas
Review-Journal. And he even let Clooney use the club to shoot Ocean’s
11 scenes, including a stripper’s lap dance with Brad Pitt, for free.
News reports noted back in
2003 that “coziness between actor George Clooney and embattled Las
Vegas strip club owner Rick Rizzolo have raised some eyebrows at a Sin
City VIP nightclub party thrown by Cindy Crawford's husband bar owner
The reports said they have
known each other since 2001 and "greeted each other warmly" at the
And Rizzolo's lawyer, Tony
Sgro, recently confirmed that the FBI "has interviewed some of Mr.
Rizzolo's celebrity friends...to make those friends nervous."
Rizzolo was reportedly
friendly enough to turn down $100,000 that the Ocean's 11 producers
offered him for closing down for a few days.
The Feds claim Rizzolo is
close to mobsters like Joey Cusumano and was in with the late Tony "The
Ant" Spilotro. Rizzolo is also known to have dined a number of times
with Chicago Mob capo Joey "The Clown" Lombardo. "The Feds want to know
what Clooney saw around Rizzolo’s club because they have a big-time
investigation going on there into violence, prostitution and drugs,”
says a Las Vegas insider. “No one is suggesting that George has done
anything improper, but this friend of his, Rizzolo, has got problems.”
Rizzolo has a criminal record for brutal violence.
In 1985 he pleaded guilty to battering a Crazy Horse client with a
baseball bat. The man suffered brain damage and died several years
Rizzolo’s huge club, where
up to 400 topless dancers perform every night, has repeatedly been the
scene of violence. Patrons who dispute fees have often been threatened
or attacked by bouncers, says former Las Vegas city councilman Steve
Miller. He says police were called to the club 737 times in just three
“Rick Rizzolo made his
fortune by paying off crooked cops, politicians, DAs and judges to keep
a lid on his and his associates’ criminal activities,” Miller charges.
“It will now take the FBI and the IRS to clean up what we on a local
level should have had the courage to stop years ago.”
Court papers filed in a Nevada lawsuit against the club by a former
federal organized crime prosecutor say, “For years, the management and
security staff of the Crazy Horse have been infested by a rogue’s
gallery of thugs, thieves, drug pushers and corrupt ex-cops.
“Most, if not all, have well documented ties to organized crime
One Kansas tourist who disputed a tab at the nightclub says he was
attacked by a Crazy Horse employee and left paralyzed from the chest
The club manager accused of the attack, Bobby D’Apice, has convictions
for carrying a concealed weapon and having armor-piercing bullets in
his gun. U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden has charged D’Apice, 50, with six
cases of extortion, robbery and kidnapping, as well as racketeering,
prostitution and tax evasion.
In another suit against the
club, Crazy Horse bouncers are accused of beating a California man to
death. One bouncer was ex-cop Joe Blasko, who was booted off the Las
Vegas force and jailed for supplying information to mobster Tony
“The Feds know a lot about Rizzolo,”
says the Vegas insider. “They’ve been digging for years, and have had a
full-on investigation into suspected fraud, illegal sex and drug
violations since August 2001. They raided the place in 2003 with 85
agents, SWAT teams, police, everyone, and spent 11 hours searching the
Robert De Niro visited the Crazy Horse when he was shooting Casino, but
is said not to know Rizzolo at all.
Joe Pesci, who is reported to be a friend of the club owner, also
starred in Casino. He played a character based on Tony Spilotro, who
was beaten with a baseball bat and buried in a cornfield.
Says Rizzolo’s lawyer Tony
Sgro, “To suggest any of those [celebrity] friends know anything with
regard to the Crazy Horse is absurd.” – PAUL BANNISTER
I took a nasty libel
suit for breaking the first Crazy Horse story back in 1999, but
have remained undaunted keeping my readers informed of
criminal activity and violence at the strip club.
I have also done my best to inform you of the local political
corruption that keeps this place open for business. But the most
telling statement comes from Amy
Henry, wife of the man who in 2001 suffered a broken neck when
he disputed an $88 Crazy Horse bar tab:
understand what kind of city or state would allow a place like this to
remain in business."
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