COMMENTARY: Steve Miller
Las Vegas Tribune
October 2, 2002
At sunrise on Thursday, September 20, 2001, two bouncers reportedly threw a
young tourist out of the Crazy Horse Too
topless bar at 2476 Industrial Road. The bouncers allegedly beat the man in
front of the bar, robbed him of $88 dollars and left
one dollar in his wallet. Then the unspeakable happened. One of the bouncers
allegedly grabbed the man and snapped his neck
severing his spinal cord. Today, Kansas resident Kirk Henry is a
Police submitted the case to prosecutors in the DA's office. No action was
taken. The Henry family hired noted local attorney
Donald Campbell who sued the nightclub and its' owner personally. The case
was randomly assigned to the court of Judge
Jeffrey Sobel and the date of trial has not yet been scheduled.
This was not the first reported case of brutality at the topless bar, and
also not the first such case averted by the Clark County
Kenneth Kirkpatrick told police he and several friends went to the Crazy
Horse on May 24, 2001, for a bachelor party.
Kirkpatrick and his friends had a disagreement regarding the amount of the
bill and asked for the manager. According to a
police report, Kirkpatrick said bar bouncers threatened him and he was forced
to sign a charge on his Visa card for $220 and
that "the bouncers were shoving (him) around." The report then states that
bar employees knocked him to the ground and
punched and kicked him in the face and back of the head. Police submitted the
case to prosecutors in the DA's office. No
action was taken.
What makes these stories intriguing is that the owner of the topless club,
Rick Rizzolo, enjoys a close a relationship with many
local judges and public officials who are often seen attending parties at his
Canyon Gate home. He is the same person who, until
recently, had raised in excess of $50,000 for District Attorney candidate
David Roger - someone who if elected will be asked
to prosecute at least two brutality cases pending against Rizzolo's business.
Following the Las Vegas Tribune's disclosure of the donations, Deputy DA
Roger claimed to return the money, but did not give
a satisfactory reason for purportedly doing so.
Rick Rizzolo is highly regarded in local political circles. In fact, on
August 16, 2000, Las Vegas City Councilman Michael
McDonald described him as a "Pillar of the community." Coincidentally, up
until late 1999, McDonald lived rent-free in a half
million dollar Canyon Gate villa owned by the family of one of Rizzolo's
associates, Joey Cusumano. McDonald vacated the
villa following a front-page Tribune story about his lush lifestyle on a
It also bears mentioning that Mayor Oscar Goodman was once the defense
attorney for Cusumano. Goodman recently
sponsored an ordinance custom designed to allow the Crazy Horse to expand;
though he denies doing it as a favor for his
Prior to the Kirk Henry and Kenneth Kirkpatrick cases was the Wrongful Death
suit brought by the family of Scott David Fau.
Its' trial has been scheduled for January 6 in the court of Judge Nancy M.
The lawsuit was brought after Fau was found beaten to death next to railroad
tracks behind the Crazy Horse on August 4,
1995. Witnesses reported seeing Fau being severely beaten by Crazy Horse
employees in the parking lot after he was ejected
from the club.
On July 6, 2001, almost six years following Fau's death, Judge Saitta
dismissed the case two weeks before it was scheduled to
go to trial. Fau's attorney immediately appealed her untimely decision to the
Nevada Supreme Court. Five weeks later on
August 14, Judge Saitta reversed her ruling and set a new trial date for
March 18, 2002. Then on March 12, again, less than a
week before trial, Judge Saitta suddenly took it off her calendar. The latest
trial is set for January 6.
Coincidentally, Rick Rizzolo was one of the four biggest contributors to
Judge Saitta's last political campaign.
What makes the Fau case (and others involving the Crazy Horse) even more
unusual is the lackadaisical attitude taken by the
District Attorney's office following requests for prosecution by Metro
DA Stewart Bell admitted on the September 19 "Face the Tribune" TV program,
that there is "probable cause" to proceed with
prosecution on at least two of the cases. However, it's apparent he wants his
successor in the upcoming election to wait until
after the civil trials end to start the prosecution actions. Bell is busy
running for District Court Judge.
When Scott Fau's lifeless body was found, Rizzolo claimed his death was
caused by a fall from a moving train.
The medical examiner strongly disagreed since there were no abrasions on his
body. He said that there was clear evidence of
blunt force trauma to Fau's head and lower body - but there were no
indications that he had scraped across the ground after
falling from a moving object. Furthermore, there were eyewitnesses to Fau
being beaten by club employees. Nonetheless, the
District Attorney's office took no action.
One of the eyewitnesses has since recanted his taped testimony. Judge Saitta
removed him from the witness list though he could
not be located to tell why he reversed his testimony.
In Kirk Henry's case, Rizzolo claimed the bouncers were not on duty at the
time of the incident and acted on their own accord.
Upon David Roger announcing his candidacy for DA, political friends of
Rizzolo mobilized. Councilman Michael McDonald
hosted Roger at an event for seniors, then Rizzolo held two fundraisers for
Roger; one at Piero's restaurant, the other at his
Canyon Gate estate. Its not surprising that in the face of two lawsuits and
several requests for prosecution by Metro, Rizzolo
might want his own man as our next District Attorney.
If either or both of the upcoming jury trials go against Rizzolo, then the
new DA should have no choice other than to begin
prosecution against the Crazy Horse and its' owner on robbery, battery and
conspiracy to commit robbery and coercion
It will be interesting to see how David Roger responds to these challenges if
he is elected our next DA.
email Steve Miller at: Stevemiller4lv@aol.com