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
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Rizzolo too ill to
It's not yet known
will appear in his pajamas
INSIDE VEGAS by
December 4, 2006
Vincent "The Chin"
LAS VEGAS - In the spirit of Vincent "The Chin" Gigante and Michael
Jackson, convicted racketeer Rick
Rizzolo is also claiming to
be too sick to show up for his legal obligations.
First scheduled to be sentenced on
September 15 for his conviction on
tax evasion and racketeering, Rizzolo has since claimed health problems
and succeeded in having his sentencing delayed until December 8.
Most recently, his attorneys used health as a reason to
try to keep
their client from being deposed in a 2002 multi-million dollar civil harassment
lawsuit brought by his next door neighbor Buffalo Jim
Barrier, a former pro wrestler-cum auto garage owner. However,
Barrier's attorney Gus Flangas plans to press forward to
obtain the deposition of Rizzolo before he turns himself in at the
designated correctional facility, and to then depose a number of
Rizzolo's associates who will soon be named as witnesses.
The November 13, 2006 minutes from Barrier's lawsuit state: "Court noted that no discovery has yet
been done because of the stays and
Mr. Rizzolo's heath."
Also, still on the court's calendar is an ancient defamation of
character lawsuit Rizzolo filed against Barrier for accusing him of
racketeering and other criminal activity.
After Rizzolo pleaded guilty thorough
his corporation to racketeering, and personally to tax evasion, it will
now be necessary for Rizzolo to testify in prison garb that what
Barrier said in 2000 was untrue. Because of Barrier's sense of humor,
he has never moved to have the case dismissed.
|Thursday, September 21, 2000
Copyright © Las
COLUMN: John L. Smith
Topless bar owner's good
name at stake in defamation lawsuit
what a lawsuit filed Tuesday by Rizzolo's attorney, Dean Patti, seeks
to discover. Rizzolo sued auto shop owner Jim Barrier for defamation in
the wake of Barrier's own inflammatory lawsuit against Rizzolo
outlining alleged criminal activity at the Crazy Horse Too.
FULL STORY: http://www.lvrj.com/cgi-bin/printable.cgi?/lvrj_home/2000/Sep-21-Thu-2000/news/14435301.html
Since the outset of both cases, Rizzolo has repeatedly fallen sick just
before a deposition was to be taken.
Legendary New York City Mafia boss
Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, a.k.a. "The Pajama King," and "The
Oddfather," was arraigned in 1996 on federal
murder, racketeering and other charges following a ruling that he
had been feigning sickness for 30 years in an effort to avoid
prosecution for his Mafia activities.
whether Rizzolo is feigning sickness, though several of his physicians
are expected to testify for the chain smoking felon at his
Gigante was eventually brought into the New York courtroom wearing his
pajamas. For subsequent hearings, he was rolled into court in a
wheelchair while breathing oxygen.
At Rizzolo's hearing on June 1, he
appeared to be drugged and sat
glassy eyed during legal arguments. Then he slowly approached the bench
and in a shaky voice pleaded guilty to all charges.
Gigante underwent open heart surgery Dec. 10, 1996. He was released
from the hospital a month later. This didn't stop him from going to
trial that summer, being convicted of racketeering, and sentenced to 12
years in prison starting December 1997. He died in 2005.
Rizzolo, 47, is
expected to receive from 15 months to five years in a Federal Prison
Camp for his crimes, though he is also claiming heart problems. However, in this 2005 photo he's seen with
his best friend Rocco Lombardo in the company of strippers, drinking
in one of his favorite local bars.
Gigante too was sometimes seen looking anything but sick during times
when he suited up and attended political fund raisers for his favorite
politicians. The following day he was back on the Greenwich Village
streets in nightclothes, muttering incoherently.
Rizzolo of late, has also reportedly been seen wandering around Strip
casinos (in street clothes)
muttering incoherently while losing hundreds of thousands of dollars on
the tables. It's not known what medications he's on, though his
physician is expected to identify his medications at sentencing.
Like Gigante, when
he wasn't on heavy meds, Rizzolo too attended political
fundraisers including one in April 2006 for Orange County (California) Sheriff
"Vincent is a paranoid
schizophrenic. He hallucinates. He's been that way since 1968,"
Gigante's brother the Rev. Louis Gigante once said, reeling off a list
of daily medications that included Valium, and Thorazine. The strategy
worked until 1990, when Gigante was indicted.
Rizzolo also has a priest who stands by his side and comes to his
defense when needed. The Rev. Dave
Casaleggio is his most loyal friend and advisor, reminiscent of
Lamberto in "Godfather." Casaleggio is often seen
accompanying Rizzolo to social events and fancy restaurants. The priest
is expected to be a
character witness at Rizzolo's sentencing which will surely offend
Camille Fau, the widow of a man murdered
at the Crazy Horse in 1995, and Amy Henry, the wife of Kirk
Henry whose neck was broken in 2001 by one of Rizzolo's goons.
Michael Jackson in March 2005,
like Vincent Gigante, appeared in court dressed in pajamas after the
threatened to have him arrested on a bench warrant. Jackson said he'd
bitten by a spider and was too sick to be in court.
So far, Rizzolo has not claimed problems with spiders, though his
future cell may attract scorpions since it's expected to be in the
middle of the Mojave Desert near Victorville,
sentencing (if he's well enough to attend), a number of his former
employees are scheduled to be sentenced during January and February.
In this 2003 Review-Journal photo, Michael Muscato, Darren Brey, and
Albert Rapuano are defendants at the wrongful death trial of Scott
David Fau who several witnesses claimed was beaten to death in back of
With the help of a friendly
judge, the jury ruled in the defendant's favor.
However, three years later, Muscato, Brey, Rapuano, and thirteen other
Crazy Horse employees pleaded guilty to multiple felonies (excluding
If he's deemed physically and mentally fit enough to go to court for
sentencing, Rizzolo is expected to turn himself in at a Federal
Correctional Facility sometime in January.
In the meantime, two
potential buyers of the recently reopened Crazy Horse have reported
that their offers, one
for $40 million, the other for $48 million, have been rejected by Rizzolo.
The man who made the highest offer is
currently preparing a lawsuit against Rizzolo and his purported
, who the thwarted buyer's attorney described
as a "straw man" placed there to fool Federal Court Chief Judge Philip
Pro into thinking Rizzolo earnestly intends to follow court orders and
sell the business and property before June 2007 when the Federal Court
stated it would install a receiver
in the event the club remains unsold.
Signorelli has twice
, and was rejected as a buyer of the Riviera
Hotel because he could not prove the financial ability to perform. On
Oct. 4, Signorelli told the Las Vegas City Council he will pay Rizzolo
$45 million dollars for the bar and property, but It was not
volunteered where he will obtain the money, nor did the Council care to
Attorneys for one of the rejected
buyers were in Las Vegas on Friday and promised to share court
documents regarding their client's lawsuit with this writer during
the coming week.
After being informed of two squelched
offers to purchase the Crazy Horse Too, I'm convinced that Rizzolo is
representing the interests of organized crime members who have no
intention of letting go of the lucrative club which is accused of being
in the sale of narcotics,
extortion, and prostitution
Lawyers say that copies of the lawsuit
will be provided to the FBI Organized Crime Strike Force who are
continuing to investigate alleged connections between the Crazy Horse
and La Cosa Nostra interests in Chicago and New York, along with the political
that keeps it open.
who were employed at the club will be sentenced in
the U.S. District Court of Judge Kent Dawson after the first of the
year. They include James Stressing who will be sentenced on Jan.
3, followed on Jan. 17 with the sentencing of Michael Muscato. On
Jan. 24, Vincent
, followed on Feb. 7 by Albert
, and Joseph Melfi. Darren Bray and Rocco
are scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 21.
is scheduled to be sentenced at 10:30 AM this Friday in Federal
Court 7C, if he's feeling up to it.
It's not yet known whether
Rizzolo will appear in his pajamas if he appears at all -- but if he does,
INSIDE VEGAS will be there to let you know what happens.
Copyright © Steve Miller
Photo credits: Las
Vegas Review-Journal: Clint Karlsen and John Gurzinski
AmericanMafia.com: Buffalo Jim Barrier and Mike Christ
Napkinnights, The Orange County
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