judges rule to further cripple Kirk Henry
and let Rick and Lisa Rizzolo
their hidden assets hidden
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
February 9, 2009
LAS VEGAS - Adding
insult to a quadriplegic's injury, on Tuesday of last week, United States
Magistrate Judge George Foley, Jr. ordered that unpaid
beating victim Kirk Henry not be allowed to examine the hidden
assets of convicted racketeer Rick Rizzolo and his ex-wife Lisa until
a state judge rules that Henry has a viable claim against the couple personally
for breaching an agreement to pay Henry $9 million from the proceeds of
the sale of their shut down topless bar.
2:08-cv-00635-PMP-GWF Document 73 Filed 02/03/2009 Page 10 of 13
There is substantial doubt whether
the Plaintiffs have any right of recovery against Rick Rizzolo other than
through the sale of the Crazy Horse Too business pursuant to the terms
of the 2006 settlement agreement. The Nevada District Court has twice denied
Plaintiffs’ motion to reduce Mr. Rizzolo’s settlement obligations to judgment.
The Court therefore concludes that Plaintiffs should not be permitted to
pursue discovery regarding the alleged fraudulent transfer of Defendant
Rick Rizzolo’s assets until they demonstrate the existence of a viable
claim against Mr. Rizzolo for breach of the 2006 settlement agreement.
Absent such a viable claim, the UFTA (Uniform
Fraudulent Transfer Act) discovery sought in this action is, by its
nature, irrelevant and unduly burdensome. Accordingly,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs’
Motion to Compel Answers and Responses to Plaintiff Kirk Henry’s First
Set of Interrogatories and Requests for Production to Defendant Fredrick
Rizzolo and For Appropriate Sanctions (#42) is denied without prejudice.
The Court will permit Plaintiffs to proceed with discovery regarding the
alleged fraudulent transfer of Defendant Fredrick Rizzolo’s assets if Plaintiffs
show that they have a viable claim against Defendant based on his alleged
breach of the parties’ settlement agreement and that Plaintiffs are, in
fact, pursuing a judgment on that claim.
DATED this 3rd day of February, 2009.
GEORGE FOLEY, JR.
United States Magistrate Judge
The basis of Judge Foley's
ORDER was the following page from Rizzolo's MOTION to stop the examination
of his hidden assets. In it he claims that the government ruined his chances
of selling the topless bar for enough money to pay Henry and other debtors
over $28 million dollars..
Clark County District Court
Judge Jackie Glass is the wife of a Las Vegas City Councilman who once
spoke in favor of letting the Crazy Horse stay open while Rick Rizzolo
was in prison. More on that later.
On several occasions Rizzolo
has used the excuse that he cannot pay his bills because the City of Las
Vegas or the U.S. Department of Justice would not approve a buyer willing
to pay in excess of what he and his ex-wife owed their creditors. (Rick
and Lisa were married at the time all crimes were committed.)
Glass (left) twice agreed with Rizzzolo and on April 24, 2007, ruled that
until the Crazy Horse Too is sold, Henry could not officially locate or
examine the Rizzolo's assets, and that Henry must wait for the sale of
the bar to be paid what he's owed.
Henry's attorneys tried in
vain to convince Judge Glass that the assets were fraudulently
transferred during a hasty 2005 divorce so that creditors could not
Glass acted like she couldn't
care less, and ignored their requests. Her nonchalance forced the Henrys
to file a separate lawsuit in Federal Court.
Here's a list of Rick and
Lisa Rizzolo's debts in order of priority according to U.S. Judge Philip
|All of the United States Marshals
Service's costs, expenses, and private counsel's attorney fees for the
real property transaction related to the care and the sale of the Property
and the Trademark and Trade name Crazy Horse Too, including but not limited
to the maintenance, the protection, the repair, the service of process,
the publication, the utilities, the insurance, the CB Richard Ellis real
estate commission, the escrow, the closing costs, the real estate transfer
tax, private counsel's attorney fees for the real property transaction,
The Clark County Taxes owed on the
Property with penalties and interest
The City of Las Vegas sewer lein
The Security Pacific Bank ($5 million
dollar) loan with attorneys' fees, penalties, and interest
The restitution of US $9,000,000.00
plus interest to Kirk and Amy Henry
The restitution of US $1,734,000.00
plus accruals to the IRS
The assessment of US $500.00 plus
The fines of US $750,000.00 plus
The forfeiture of US $4,250,000.00
The City of Las Vegas judgment lien
of US $2,192,000.00 plus interest
The IRS tax lien against Rizzolo
for the 2006 individual income taxes of US $1,032,535.26 plus accruals
Since Rick Rizzolo's release
from custody on April 4, 2008, not one cent of the above has been paid.
On September 6, 2006, the
Las Vegas City Council with Mayor Oscar Goodman abstaining, unanimously
voted to permanently revoke Rick Rizzolo's liquor license and fine him
$2.2 million dollars for condoning twenty years of robberies, beatings,
and murders at his Crazy Horse Too. Goodman was forced to abstain based
on an ethics
complaint I filed after he was caught defending
his former client Rizzolo.
During the four hour hearing,
Deputy City Attorney Bill Henry told the council that there had been at
least one beating per month between 2000 and 2005!
Within days, Rizzolo's attorney
Tony Sgro filed motions in Clark County District Court asking for a Temporary
Restraining Order against the City. It was denied by Judge Mark Denton.
Sgro also filed a motion for a Preliminary Injunction to stop the license
revocation. That motion was also denied.
The Crazy Horse Too went
dark for the first time in twenty years. But that didn't last for long.
October 18, 2006, six weeks after its closure, a much more meek City Council
sat silent -- not questioning -- as Oscar Goodman's law partner Jay Brown
(left) and other attorneys for Rizzolo presented a man named Mike Signorelli
(right) to the council saying he will pay $400,000 per month ($14,000 per
day) "rent" for the privilege of running the topless bar. Brown, a well
known political lobbyist and fund raiser with
ties to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, made it sound as though
Signorelli was doing the citizens of Las Vegas a favor by reopening the
blood soaked business -- putting hundreds of single mothers back on the
Brown eloquently described
bankrupt) client as an extremely successful businessman with over 3,000
employees, and that he could easily handle the topless bar's management
Without discussion, the council
granted Signorelli a temporary liquor license, but ordered that no member
of the Rizzolo family could step foot on the property. It was as though
the vote had already taken place in the back room (as it had).
That evening it was business
as usual with the Rizzolos running the joint.
When the Crazy Horse's next
door neighbor the late Buffalo Jim Barrier photographed Rizzolos coming
and going from the club on a regular basis, I informed the City that the
crime family was still running the place, and a special meeting of
the Council was called for November 1, 2007.
During that hearing, Sgt.
Ray Alexander of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police told the Council:
"A reasonable person could draw the conclusion that Signorelli is simply
running the business for Rizzolo, who is forbidden to do so."
Alexander was joined by City
Attorney Brad Jerbic who told the Council: "Signorelli may be doing
his best effort to keep Rizzolo out, but it's happening anyway. He can't
run this business without being influenced by Rizzolo's people."
The Council voted to allow
Signorelli to continue operating the bar as long as the Rizzolos kept their
On April 17, 2007, Signorelli
applied for a permanent liquor license.
to the May
1, 2007 Las Vegas Sun: Councilman Steve Wolfson (pictured shaking
hands with Oscar Goodman) led the questioning at the Council meeting and
said Signorelli had taken steps to correct the problems and deserved the
Wolfson is the husband of
Judge Jackie Glass.
At the hearing, Rizzolo's
attorney introduced Amy Henry, the wife of Kirk Henry. It was obvious to
Council observers that Mrs. Henry had been tricked into attending the meeting
to support Signorelli. It was obvious because she was the same woman who
on December 26, 2002 told NBC
News: "I can’t understand what kind of city or state would allow
a place like this to remain in business."
there was an unpaid Amy Henry standing at the LV City Council podium five
and a half years after she asked her question on national TV. She stood
at the podium beside mob attorney Tony Sgro and pleaded
that the Council grant a straw man a permanent liquor license to allow
a place like that to remain in business. Amy made her plea after showing
the Council a video of her husband (on left with son Jared in photo by
REED HOFFMANN/ SPECIAL TO THE REVIEW-JOURNAL) and what it takes each day
to help him survive. She also told of the devastation her two small children
experienced when their dad's neck was broken in October 2001, and how they
now help him eat, shave, exercise, and bathe.
Rizzolo's attorneys had promised
her that the Crazy Horse Too was about to be sold to Signorelli for a purported
$54 million dollars, and if Signorelli could obtain from the City Council
a permanent liquor license with her help, she and her husband would immediately
receive the $9 million dollar balance of their settlement. (Her attorneys
would also get their percentage.)
Hearing Mrs. Henry's contradictory
words, but knowing the pain that inspired them, I understood her frustration.
After six years of waiting for her family's settlement, she believed that
by helping Rizzolo keep his club open, her family would finally be paid
what they so rightfully deserve.
In response to Amy's plea,
Councilman Wolfson made the following statement also in support of keeping
the Crazy Horse Too open:
"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 financial institutions."
Wolfson had been informed
that Mike Signorelli had two
bankruptcies on his record, but the Councilman chose to ignore this
fact. Signorelli received his permanent liquor license.
While Signorelli continued
operating the Crazy Horse, Rizzolo's lawyers were telling Wolfson's wife
Judge Glass that Signorelli was purchasing the bar for $54 million dollars
and that amount would cover all of the Rizzolo's debts including Kirk Henry.
She believed them. This bought some time for Rick Rizzolo to serve the
remainder of his one year prison sentence and, after his release, put together
a group of mob investors and buy back his bar.
It was soon revealed that
Signorelli had no money,
and had failed to pay his payroll taxes and rent. On June 30, 2007, the
City Council permanently revoked Signorelli's liquor license and shut
down the bar. It's been dark ever since.
For doing this, Rizzolo tried
to blame the City for diminishing the property's value, and Judges Foley
and Glass have supported his claim by their rulings.
Nonetheless, Judge Glass
continued to refuse to allow Henry's attorneys to locate the whereabouts
of the Rizzolo's assets, or change his impossible-to-collect settlement
to a personal judgment.
Following the bar's closure,
Councilman Wolfson was publicly criticized for supporting a straw man.
Then, without explanation, his statement about "there's not been one blemish
against his record" was excised from the verbatim written transcript and
video of the April 17, Council hearing. It's not known who removed the
politically ambitious councilman's remarks from the record, but the action
was highly illegal. Nonetheless, Wolfson's remark was quoted in several
news stories including one published in the Las
Wolfson has announced his
intention to succeed Goodman as mayor, so it's assumed the statement was
excised so it could not be used by an opponent in an upcoming political
Judge Glass took sides with
Rizzolo again when Henry tried to get the sale of the real estate settlement
reduced to a personal judgment against the couple's hidden assets.
The June 30 , 2007 Las
Vegas Review-Journal reported: "Lawyers for Kirk Henry, a Kansas
tourist whose neck was broken over an $80 tab outside the club, sought
a judgment against Rizzolo on Friday in order to get the $9 million plus
interest Henry still is owed.
'I think it's fairly apparent
now that this whole thing has been a scam,' attorney Don Campbell said.
He argued that he needs to look at Rizzolo's assets, since the imprisoned
businessman is now saying he is broke.
'I need to take some examination,'
he said. 'There's no vehicle here, when he's saying, 'I don't have any
money,' by which ...'
District Court Judge Jackie
'Stop, stop, please. I did
not draft the settlement agreement,' she said, obviously annoyed. 'You
have to wait for the sale of this business.'
The settlement agreement
clearly states that Henry doesn't get the rest of his payment until the
club is sold, she said.
'Perhaps everybody should've
anticipated that at the time the agreement was entered into,' she said."
Glass' statement festered
for almost 18 months until last Tuesday's ORDER by Judge Foley that sends
Henry back to her court for further resolution.
Now it's up to Henry's attorneys
to prove to Judge Glass that the government was not responsible for screwing
up the sale of the Crazy Horse Too, and ruining its value.
If Henry's attorneys file
new MOTIONS in Glass' court while their client is still alive, they may
be able to convince her (and her husband) that other offers beyond Signorelli's
were also rejected for good reason; that Rizzolo knew these offers were
bogus; that the government had nothing to do with ruining the bar's value;
that the Rizzolo's divorce was a fraud; and there is no other way for Henry
to get paid unless she reduces the settlement to a personal judgment.
There is plenty of evidence
to support the claim that no qualified buyer came forward at any time during
the history of this case.
Within days of the discovery
of Signorelli's financial subterfuge (I had been writing
about it for months), three more Rizzolo straw men appeared on the scene
(below), also offering outrageous sums for the shuttered topless bar. All
were disqualified by the Federal Government for having ties to Rizzolo,
but Judges Glass and Foley did not pay attention.
The following CONFIDENTIAL
letter was given exclusively to INSIDE VEGAS. It was never intended to
be seen by the public because it admits that the above offers were less-than-viable:
Had either judge taken time
to investigate Signorelli or these purported "buyers," the Henrys would
today be able to seize Rick and Lisa Rizzolo's assets to satisfy their
Judge Foley's later ORDER
in its tracks the depositions of the Rizzolo's attorneys and the couple's
To show just how disingenuous
Rizzolo was, on April 24, 2007, his attorney told Glass that if Henry leined
("encumbered") the Crazy Horse Too property, it would "create an obstacle"
to its purported sale.
The attorney didn't tell
Glass that all the bidders were phonies. Glass agreed that to allow Henry
to proceed might obstruct a sale of the property, but did specify to whom.
Then Glass stated that Rizzolo
"would have to agree to same and encouraged counsel stipulate to allow
the examination to take place before Mr. Rizzolo is taken into custody
so Pltf. knows where the assets are."
Since when has a judge given
a convicted racketeer the privilege of having to "agree" to have his hidden
assets examined by someone he's owed $9 million dollars for over eight
Meanwhile, Lisa Rizzolo had
plenty of time -- with
the help of the brother of a federal court judge -- to transfer her
family's money off
shore. And Judge Glass conveniently put Kirk Henry on hold for an indefinite
period of time while this was being done.
The Crazy Horse lost its
value -- not because the government "would not comply with its plea agreement"
-- but because of our nation's current economic downfall. The devaluation
of the Crazy Horse happened after Federal Judge Philip Pro removed Kirk
Henry from first position and gave that position to a failed California
bank that stupidly
loaned the Rizzolos $5 million dollars that they promptly stole. Judge
Pro did this knowing that the closed down topless bar's value had fallen
below the $5 million owed the bank in these hard times, and there was no
money left for the Henrys unless they could get Glass to give them a judgment
against the Rizzolos.
Judge Glass has so far killed
all chances of the Henrys ever being paid, and secured the Rizzolo's assets
from seizure, at least from the Henrys.
It's not yet known what effect
Judge Glass' decision in the Henry case will have on other creditors including
the IRS, but it will take years and thousands of dollars in legal fees
for the Henrys to possibly be able to collect what they are owed.
But that was not all Judge
Glass did to help the Rizzolos. On January, 13, 2009, Glass coddled
the Rizzolo's 26 year old son Dominic (left photo) after he stabbed a man
in the chest during an extortion attempt. Police asked her to convict Dominic
of attempted murder, but Glass gave him probation and let him leave the
state to work in Florida for one his his father's (right photo) cronies
in the time
Now she may be asked to find
space on her busy court calendar to hear why Kirk Henry believes he has
claim against the Rizzolos personally. Based on Judge Glass' (and her husband's)
past performance, few are giving Henry any chance of prevailing within
While this is going on, Rick
Rizzolo is bragging that he's putting together a new group who will buy
back the Crazy Horse Too and let him secretly run the place. He has told
sources that his crony Oscar Goodman is poised to give the new "owner"
a liquor license, and it's suspected that twice convicted felon Vinnie
Faraci, one of Rizzolo's former mob bosses and a client of Goodman's
law partner David Chesnoff, will be the front man.
Kirk Henry remains confined
to an electric wheelchair and is suffering the physical problems losing
one's mobility can cause, while Rick is regularly observed squandering
tens of thousands of dollars nightly on the Strip.
Could it be that Rick Rizzolo's
status, and his habit of losing millions of ill-gotten dollars per year
gambling at the MGM, Hard Rock, and Palms is the incentive for the two
judge's recent actions?
Several hotels relish Rick's
gambling binges and might intervene to make sure they continue, especially
in these lean times.
And Rizzolo's son Dominic
told an INSIDE VEGAS source last week that he too gambles, up to $12,000
per night in Vegas casinos. When asked where he gets the money, he reportedly
said, "My dad is rich."
The casinos run this state.
Are whales so precious that the mention of shutting one down -- one who
is squandering money owed to the IRS, City of Las Vegas, and a beating
victim -- is enough to obstruct justice?
I believe the real story
here is that the casinos will/can protect their high rollers in local district
and federal courts, in the office of District
Attorney David Roger, and in local news rooms. INSIDE VEGAS remains
the only local or national investigative commentary telling this sordid
With such political pressure
mounting, I have the deepest sympathy for Mr. and Mrs. Henry's loss of
their latest legal battle.
Hopefully, Judge Philip Pro
will step back in and put an end to this injustice before there are more
Judge Glass or Judge Foley
could have easily ruled that there was sufficient evidence of fraud involved
in the original settlement agreement between Rizzolo and Henry -- the evidence
was overwhelming -- and reduced the settlement to a judgment, but they
Now it's up to the Henrys
to raise the funds to pay for additional years of expensive litigation
in Judge Glass' court. And there is no guarantee they will be able to convince
a politically motivated judge to change her mind. Also, it's too late to
remove Glass, and I doubt she would agree to step down now that her husband
has announced interest in higher office.
For it to be allowed that
Rick and Lisa Rizzolo keep their fortune; not pay their taxes; their delinquent
son to go free after attempting to kill someone; and for a quadriplegic
to suffer as he has all in the name of keeping a whale alive, indicates
that Las Vegas has become the modern day equivalent of the Titanic -- a
sinking ship with its radio operators prohibited from tapping out an SOS.
Until this travesty is resolved,
enter Las Vegas at you own risk.