Hypocrisy - Sin City Style
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
March 24, 2003
November 21, 2000, Mayor Oscar Goodman signed a Recall McDonald Petition.
On March 21, 2003, Goodman
put a McDonald sign on his lawn. Who changed his mind?
He's a "government rat," a "wimp," "vermin," "a
piece of garbage," the "lowest form of human being," and a "sleaze ball."
"I'm going to get rid of him." "I have no use for him." -
Oscar Goodman on Mike McDonald - 11/10/2000
This is how Oscar Goodman described Vegas Councilman Mike McDonald in
November 2000. A little more than two years later, Goodman proudly displays
his arch enemy's campaign sign on his front lawn. Why did Goodman have
such a drastic change of heart?
At first it looked like Goodman and McDonald would remain mortal enemies,
but "To divide is to conquer." It now seems that Goodman and McDonald have
much in common by way of mutual friendships with persons who seek favors
from the city council.
Before being elected mayor, Goodman was the criminal defense attorney
for several people with close ties to Councilman McDonald. One of those
persons was Crazy Horse Too owner Rick Rizzolo.
Another was Joey
Cusumano, the son in law of McDonald's former landlady.
On March 13, a citizen watchdog by the name of Robert Rose filed a complaint
against Goodman with the Nevada Commission on Ethics. This was the first
such complaint ever filed against Goodman. The mayor was livid!
Robert Rose in front of LV City
In his complaint, one of many he has filed against wayward public officials,
Rose stated that the mayor should have disclosed his relationship with
the Crazy Horse Too strip club before making a motion to grant a liquor
license to a prospective club manager last October. Other ethics complaints
filed by Rose, a citizen activitist who is feared by politicians, have
resulted in public officials being found guilty of violations, or severly
Since the complaint was filed, more connections between Goodman and
Rizzolo began to surface. Most notable are Goodman's ties to Cusumano who
is on the list of people banned from casinos, and to Tom Letizia who is
Rizzolo's PR Director. In the complaint, Rose mentioned that Goodman failed
to disclose these associations and others, a clear violation of city and
In April, Cusumano, a reputed organized crime associate and one time
business associate of Rizzolo, was spotted attending a party
at the mayor's house. Goodman told a reporter, "Joey has been lovely to
my daughter and treated her with a great deal of respect. I make no apologies...They
made a mistake putting Cusumano in (the Black
Book). In the frenzy of the Spilotro days, they tried to put everyone
in...I invited him (Spilotro) to my daughter's bat mitzvah," Goodman said.
"The only ones uncomfortable were the ones not invited," Goodman said of
Unfortunately, that is not always true. A judge described the party
this way: "My wife and I arrived to find some very interesting guests also
attending. We felt uncomfortable and made a quick exit." The judge later
explained that if he had been made aware of Goodman's guest list in advance,
he would have made other plans.
Goodman was the defense attorney for Anthony Spilotro, the Chicago mob's
overseer in Las Vegas in the 1970s and 1980s. Cusumano was Spilotro's alleged
lieutenant. Goodman once
said he'd rather have his daughter date Spilotro than an FBI agent.
Goodman was also known for saying, "There is no mob."
Immediately following the filing of the ethics complaint, Jim Ferrence,
one of Goodman's campaign consultants stated, "It is a baseless complaint
written in gibberish by a total moron who has never filed a complaint that
wasn't campaign related."
When asked for his response to Ferrence's name calling, Rose, 76,
said, "Oscar forgave Mike McDonald, so I fully expect him to forgive me.
As far as it being campaign related, he's running unopposed for Heaven's
Goodman did not take Ferrence to task for calling a senior citizen a
During the 1999 mayoral race, Tom Letizia placed $500,000.00 of Goodman's
ad buys and received 15% commissions plus consulting fees. Since then,
Letizia is one of Goodman's closest unpaid advisors while at the same time
he represents Rizzolo who is under federal
investigation. Rose says Goodman needed to disclose this before making
the motion to license
Rapuano, an alleged mob associate, as a manager at Rizzolo's bar.
Goodman did acknowledge last Monday during a radio interview that Letizia
PR Director at the time of his October 2002 motion to license Rapuano.
Goodman reasoned that since Letizia was not working on his reelection at
the time of the vote, he did not need to disclose their relationship before
making the motion.
Soon after Rapuano's licensing, Goodman accepted a $10,000 campaign
contribution from Rizzolo.
Goodman also stated on the radio that he did not need to disclose his
former law partner's representation of Vinny
Faraci, another Crazy Horse manager, nor his own representation of
"the clown" Lombardo, whose brother Rocco is also a manager at the
Goodman licensed Rapuano just four months before 80 agents from the
FBI, DEA and IRS, with guns drawn, removed cash registers, files, video
surveillance equipment, computers, and unidentified materials from the
Crazy Horse. Rizzolo has long been suspected of being a front man for Chicago
mob figures who may have hidden ownership in his business.
"I decided too much has been going on and nobody is being held accountable
for their actions," stated Rose after he filed the complaint. Goodman and
McDonald are long suspected of doing Rizzolo political
For example; maybe its just a coincidence, but Tom Letizia's cousin
Letizia is the Nevada Transportation Department's (NDOT) program development
manager in Southern Nevada. NDOT has recently proposed the taking
of Buffalo Jim Barrier's leaseholds by eminent domain to make way for Rizzolo
to expand his business. NDOT has also proposed an expensive - tax funded
- signalization system and dedicated
left turn lane into the yet-to-be approved expanded
in 1976, moved into the industrial center where the Crazy Horse later located.
Since moving in next to Barrier in 1984, Rizzolo has failed in several
court attempts to remove Barrier to make way for expansion. Now it appears
he wants the government to do the deed.
When asked if his department was involved in the proposed eminent domain
taking, Tony Letizia answered, "Number one, I don't know who Frederick
Rizzolo is nor have I ever met or heard of him. Two, although I work for
NDOT, I am unaware of a proposed project to provide access to a business.
Three, Tom Letizia is my cousin not my nephew who I've not spoken to in
After receiving his explanation, I apologized to Tony Letizia for insinuating
he had anything to do with proposed tax funded amenities to benefit the
Crazy Horse. However, his response caused me to speculate that its the
city, not the state, that is planning to help Rizzolo at taxpayer's expense.
But this flies in the face of what Mayor Goodman said at his weekly press
Goodman stated that the city would not use eminent domain to remove
Barrier to benefit Rizzolo. However, since Tony Letizia's statement, it
appears to some observers that someone at the city was fraudulently trying
to pawn the responsibility off to the state transportation department to
keep the mayor's hands clean. Since Tony Letizia denies knowing anything
about it, and since he is NDOT program development manager in Southern
Nevada and should be aware of such things, I'm starting to believe that
the mayor is also aware of the eminent domain scheme and wants to pass
the buck to another governmental entity so it looks like he is keeping
Barrier has secured the service of the state's best adverse condemnation
attorney and is considering personal lawsuits against all involved if an
eminent domain taking is attempted to benefit a private interest. Recent
history shows that defending such lawsuits can cost the taxpayers more
than the value of the "improvements." In 1994, the downtown casinos abused
eminent domain law to remove a small shopping center to make way for a
casino parking garage. Since then, millions of taxpayer dollars have been
wasted in a legal battle that has gone all the way to the US Supreme Court.
Then there was Cusumano's mother in law who let McDonald live rent free
in her half million dollar Canyon Gate villa for almost two years. The
villa was located down the street from Rizzolo's house. While he lived
there, McDonald got in big trouble for doing Rizzolo favors
at city hall. These favors caused McDonald to be found
guilty by the city ethics board who recommended he be removed from
office. Police went a step farther and requested McDonald be arrested on
criminal misconduct charges, but the DA
would not cooperate.
McDonald's troubles were at their peak the year before Goodman was elected.
At the time, McDonald was being sheltered by Goodman's predecessor, Jan
Jones, who was often spotted at Rizzolo's Vegas and Newport Beach estates.
As soon as Goodman was sworn in, the rivalry between him and McDonald began.
McDonald was immediately removed by Goodman from two prime appointments
including mayor pro tem. With this action, Rizzolo's influence on the council
began to wane. A peacemaker, someone respected by both Goodman and McDonald,
needed to step in so "business as usual" could continue at city hall. This
brings us to the present day, and the unexpected political campaign sign
on the mayor's front lawn.
McDonald's digs, 1998 - 2000
Today, while Goodman coddles his new pal and runs unopposed for a second
term, McDonald's close friend and Goodman's former client Rick Rizzolo
is bragging that he will soon be the beneficiary of eminent domain action
that will conveniently remove his long-time nemesis so he can expand his
topless bar. It should also be noted that Rizzolo mentioned the eminent
domain threat in an interview
weeks before the information was made public. Thanks to AmericanMafia.com,
federal agent, and public official in the state of Nevada is also aware
of the alleged scheme and the players involved.
Rizzolo and Cusumano appear to many to be the peacemakers who brought
the two feuding politicians together in order to aid their ailing topless
bar. The dots are beginning to connect.
Copyright © Steve Miller
email Steve Miller at: Stevemiller4lv@aol.com