Gaming Control Board and US Federal
Court send Rick Rizzolo a Christmas Greeting
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
December 9, 2013
LAS VEGAS - What a way to start the Holiday
On November 20, 2013, United States District
Judge Philip Pro ordered chronic gambler Rick
Rizzolo to pay $4,250,000.00 forfeiture and $1,734,000.00 in back taxes
after soundly rejecting Rizzolo's motion to reduce or eliminate his obligations
because the convicted felon claims to be broke.
During plea bargaining in 2005, Rizzolo
agreed to pay the sums in exchange for a feather light prison sentence.
The government kept its side of the deal sentencing him to only eleven
months, but Rizzolo arranged a scam
divorce in the court of a crooked
judge and secretly hid his assets until their whereabouts were discovered
during a deposition
of his ex-wife.
In his current order, Judge Pro stated:
"Rizzolo argues the $4,250,000 forfeiture, restitution in the amount of
$1,734,000 owed to the Internal Revenue Service, and assessed fines should
be reduced or eliminated because the Government wasted the substituted
asset. Rizzolo argues his circumstances have changed such that he cannot
and will not be able to satisfy his obligations. The United States responds
by contending this Court previously has rejected similar arguments by Rizzolo.
The Government further argues that it did not waste the asset. Rather,
it tried to sell the Crazy Horse Too without success in a declining market
after Rizzolo could not sell the property in the year given to him to do
so under the plea agreement." "...the Court finds there is no change in
circumstances to justify reducing or eliminating Rizzolo?s obligations.
Rizzolo?s prior efforts at concealing assets combined with his ability
to earn income weigh against a finding that Rizzolo will have no future
ability to pay his obligations. The Court therefore denies Rizzolo?s Motion
to the extent it seeks to relieve him of his obligations based on an inability
to pay in the future."
Then two weeks later, Rizzolo's pal Tim
Poster was denied a gaming license by the Nevada Gaming Control Board because
of his association with the former Crazy Horse Too strip club operator.
Within days of Judge Pro's November 20th
order, Rizzolo on December 5, appealed Pro's latest decision to the Ninth
Circuit Court in San Francisco, the forth such appeal based on the same
unsound grounds claiming the government screwed up the value of the club.
Three similar appeals were previously filed, and two were denied by the
Ninth Circuit Court; one filed by Rick's ex-wife Lisa; and Rick's first
appeal. Rick's stepmother Kimtran
Rizzolo's appeal is pending. http://www.americanmafia.com/Inside_Vegas/8-13-12_Inside_Vegas.html
Per Rick's failed February 13, 2012 appeal,
attorney Dominic Gentile unsuccessfully argued: "The government
thereupon assumed that right and corresponding obligation but thereafter
failed to timely renew the privileged adult use and tavern licenses of
the business; and as a result, the area in which the club was located was
thereafter re-zoned by the City of Las Vegas so as to prohibit "adult"
uses; and the club became unsellable, fell into disrepair, and has
since been foreclosed upon by the mortgagee." http://www.stevemiller4lasvegas.com/RizzoloReply02-13-12.pdf
Per Lisa's failed May 18, 2012 appeal,
attorneys George Kelesis and Mark Bailus unsuccessfully reiterated Rick's
argument: "In September 2006, the City of Las Vegas revoked the
liquor and/or business license of the Crazy Horse Too. At the time of the
revocation, an escrow had been opened for the sale of the Crazy Horse Too
in the amount of $45 Million. The planned sale of the Crazy Horse Too reportedly
failed because of the revocation of its liquor license which diminished
its value." http://www.stevemiller4lasvegas.com/RizzoloLisasPetitionForWritOfMandamus-05-18-2012.pdf
The Rizzolo's have long claimed that they
had offers for the club of between thirty and forty-five million dollars
while it was operating as a racketeering
enterprise - the proverbial golden goose. The Rizzolo's argue that
had the club been sold (to a Rizzolo associate) prior to being shut down,
they would have had ample money to pay Rick's forfeiture and back taxes.
Rick's latest attorney, Israeli born Sigal Chattah (left), is expected
to argue the same failed argument.
Ms. Chattah should be aware that each and
every purported "buyer" Rick brought forth was a straw man with no money,
and with their help, Rick planned to resume management of the club upon
his release from prison. None placed a deposit into escrow, and in
the end, even Rizzolo's own lawyer wrote that they all "failed to perform."
Judge Pro acknowledged as much in his Order
on November 20: "Moreover, Rizzolo has not presented any evidence
from which this Court could determine how much, if any, a decline in value
was due to alleged waste by the Government versus the dramatic decline
in property values during the relevant time frame. Rizzolo was unable or
unwilling to sell the property during the year given to him under
the plea agreement during more favorable market conditions."
Here are several examples of the "offers"
When all of the above "buyers" crapped
out, the following confidential letter (obtained exclusively by
INSIDE VEGAS) was faxed by Rizzolo's former lawyer Mark Hafer to a representative
of Steve Wynn stating that "no buyer has performed its contract," or they
simply "failed to perform:"
Rick and his stepmother Kimtran Rizzolo
continue to plead that the government shirked its responsibility by not
operating the topless bar to maintain its value while Rick was "away."
Needless to say, both appeals are expected to be denied in 2014. The government
had no obligation or desire to operate a topless bar until a mob associate
could be found to purportedly buy it!
An appeal does not put the brakes on having
to pay forfeiture and back taxes. In Rick's case, the government still
thinks he has the ability to pay, especially after examining Rizzolo's
A confidential source told INSIDE VEGAS
that he had the pleasure of dating Rick and Lisa's daughter Monica during
the Rizzolo's happier times. The man described being invited to dinner
at the Rizzolo Canyon Gate estate where he said the Rizzolos acted like
an ordinary family. After a cordial dinner, he said Rick and his then-wife
Lisa invited everyone to the Hard Rock Hotel where Rick immediately went
to the tables and promptly lost over two million dollars. The man
said the Rizzolo's seemed unfazed by the loss and continued enjoying their
evening without further mention. However, Monica's date said the nonchalant
way the incident was treated by the Rizzolo family inspired him to find
For years, Rick was known up and down the
Strip as a "Whale," someone with a million dollar line of credit. He was
also known for his extravagant
partying. This is what inspired Tim Poster to tell the Gaming Control
Board on December 4, that Rizzolo was ?a very profitable and sought-after
casino customer,? therefore he established a "relationship" with him, a
relationship that just cost Poster a full-fleged gaming license.
This information will not be overlooked
by the Ninth Circuit Court.
I have not yet read Rick Rizzolo's latest
appeal, but it's certain to mention the Crazy Horse Too was once worth
over $30 million - but will not mention that Rizzolo's goons beat
money out of patrons, extorted, and peddled drugs and prostitution
- the basis for Rick's gambling habit, and the reasons the club was closed
So, even Santa can't bail Rick out when
according to the latest Federal Court Order: "...the Government
contends Rizzolo has shown a capacity and willingness to divert funds to
avoid his obligations, and Rizzolo has the means to earn income to apply
toward his obligations. The Government thus contends Rizzolo may have the
means to satisfy his obligations in the future."
And in the meantime, justice has not taken
a holiday, Rick Rizzolo killed the goose that laid the golden eggs, and
his good-time friends are keeping their distance.