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
website at: http://www.SteveMiller4LasVegas.com
Letters and advice for Rick,
while they're in the slammer
VEGAS by Steve
April 2, 2007
J. Tony Serra is a San Francisco-based
criminal defense attorney
best known in Las Vegas for successfully appealing the first degree
conviction of Sandra
Murphy was convicted of murdering casino
baron Ted Binion, but with Serra's help, and against county D.A. David Roger's
best efforts, at re-trial a new jury exonerated her of all
charges. Today, Murphy lives a quiet life as a free woman near
her parents in Southern California.
Tony Serra emerged from the televised
trial as a master of litigation compared to our small
town D.A. and his minions. (David
Roger used his initial conviction of Murphy as the basis for a
successful 2002 bid for District Attorney. But after the Nevada Supreme
Court overturned the conviction and his prosecutors lost a retrial
against Serra, Roger's political opponent opted to not mention
the losses, and Roger was reelected in 2006.)
In spite of his Vegas success, Serra
hasn't fared as well
when it comes to refusing to pay Federal Income Taxes. Last year, the
jurist was sentenced for a second time to Lompoc Federal Prison Camp
for tax evasion and
ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution.
Serra published a letter in January
that offers foreboding advice for three Las Vegas strip club moguls
recently sentenced to what many think are country clubs called Federal
Prison Camps. His incarceration,
last May, was delayed to accommodate his trial schedule.
Below is an
excerpt from Serra's letter from Lompoc; a letter that should
of interest to the "Vegas Three;" Rick
Rizzolo - Prisoner Number 41390-048,
Faraci - Prisoner Number 18408-053,
Galardi (no number yet). The three convicted felons will begin
serving their sentences at Lompoc, and Taft,
California prison camps later this spring. Faraci and Rizzolo are
known mob front men. Galardi is not known to have mob associations.
J. Tony Serra,
Prisoner Number 99943-011:
self-segregation of the
various ethnicities is blatant. Hispanics are the largest segment of
the prison occupants; Spanish is the most-heard language. Middle
Eastern and Asian languages are also prevalent. Tattooed skinheads of
all races represent the preferred appearance. In 1976 we slept in
cubicles. We now sleep in foul-odored, overcrowded, double-tiered bunks
in military-like barracks. Our mail, our phone calls, our every move is
scrutinized; each visitor or telephone-call recipient must be cleared.
Visiting is only on weekends. Half the camp inmates have been
informants. 'Roll ups' to isolation for minor infractions is the rule,
not the exception. A poisonous drear smothers the consciousness of the
Camp inmate. We are treated like robots, not humans."
( Read Mr. Serra's full letter:
But Serra is not alone in his opinion of
what life is like inside a "Country Club." Here's some advice for our
hapless trio from
those in the know:
got out of the Camp at Taft CI about 3 weeks ago, and while it's
all still fresh in my head I wanted to put down what I can to help take
away as much of the mystery and the fear of the unknown as I can.
off, the Camp is a minimum security facility, which means there
are no fences or walls, no violent criminals, weirdos, hard core gang
members or gangs, or anything like that. Although most of the people
there are for drugs (about 70% or so), they are all non violent
offenders in there for their first offense, or they have been model
inmates who have worked their way down from Low or Medium security
facilities. Everyone from Tommy
Chong to millionaires to people like me
have spent time at Taft. So first off, don't worry about getting in
fights, getting raped, having someone take your food or possessions, or
anything silly like that. It just doesn't happen!
you turn yourself in, no matter what your
lawyer told you or probation dept, fbi, doj, whoever, bring:
recommend at least $300 for the first month. From
there on out you can have someone send you in more money each month.
The first month is the most expensive because you'll need to buy the
basics, get more clothes and get some semi-real food. You can bring in
whatever amount you want to; I've seen people come in with thousands of
dollars to put on their books. Bring it either in CASH or a Postal
Money Order and that's it. Otherwise it will take a long time for it to
clear and get put on your books.
(drivers license) and Social Security Card! They
them in your file while you're in. If you don't at least bring your ID,
they won't take you,
sweats, white socks, white underware/boxers, white t-shirt,
mostly white or mostly black shoes! They
expect you to come dressed
as an inmate when you get there. I know it sounds weird, but they do. I
would get a quality sweat bottom and top, and a pair of sweat shorts to
wear under them. Just get the normal gray color with little or no logos
on them. If they are another color or have too many logos, they won't
let you keep them. Also wear a white t-shirt, a white pair of underwear
or boxers and a pair of white socks. Any other color then white and you
can't keep them. Most importantly are the shoes! Get a new pair of
shoes in mostly white or mostly black. Logos are ok as long as it's not
too flashy and the shoes are not worth over $100. You'll wear the heck
out of your shoes, so get a good pair. Once you're in, it takes up to 2
months to get new shoes! You can also optionally bring in a watch, not
worth over $100, and a necklace with a religious item on it (cross,
etc.) also not worth over $100.
and Medication! If you
are on any prescriptions
from your doctor, bring them with you along with any medication you may
still have. They will give it to the medical facility on the Camp side
so you'll have all your meds once you get there. Pill-call will be
explained to you during orientation.
with peoples contact information on it! You can
paperwork if you want to, but it has to be just piece(s) of paper, not
in a notebook or whatever. I printed out a list of peoples names,
addresses and phone numbers and took it with me. Once you're in, rather
then having to wait for someone to send you a list, you'll have it so
you can get phone numbers added to your phone list of people you can
call, and you'll have all the addresses of people you want to write.
you have any questions, call Taft before you show up!"
Another former Taft prisoner offered this:
is where prison really begins. You'll
be taken to the R&D area and processed, which involves
signing a lot of paper work, having your picture taken for your ID card
they give you and talking to a ton of people as part of your intake
interview. You'll be taken to
medical and have your vitals taken and given a TB test, and asked some
health questions. The entire process takes a few hours.
Taft Camp (upper right) is
co-located with a medium security prison
There are around 500
550 people at the Camp at any given time, broken into 4 dorms, A, B, C
and D (compared to the 12 on the Main Side). You will be assigned to
one of those dorms, and once you get there you'll be given some linen
for your bed and escorted to your bunk by the CO you got turned over to
on the Camp side. You'll grab a mattress (how they can call them that
a crime in itself, lol), go to your bunk and then the CO leaves. Most
likely because you're new, you'll be put into a 3 person cube as the 2
people cubes are reserved for people who have been there a while. The
cubes are small, like 10x10 and 6 feet high, so it's pretty cramped.
The dorm is basically a big open bay with these concrete cubes in 4
rows. They remind me of office cubes, but made out of concrete. There
is a gang bathroom, similar to the kind you would see in the military.
You have one room with sinks, one with urinals and toilet stalls (yes
they are private) and one with showers (also private). There are some
TV rooms and a rec room in your dorm to, but most of the time the TVs
have something like Jerry Springer, soaps or wrestling on so it's not
much to watch. I didn't watch TV at all when I was in.
is plenty of A/C and heating inside, so you don't have to worry
about getting hot or cold. The beds suck, and it'll take you about 3
weeks to get adjusted and get any kind of restful sleep. The food
sucks overall, but they do have some Ok meals.
on your crime, your race and how nice your bunkies (cube
mates) are, you'll be shown the ropes by someone. If you're
Mexican/Hispanic, black, Asian or white, usually someone from your race
will show you the ropes and introduce you around to people. They will
help you buy what you need, show you where to go and when, and all the
other stuff you need to know. Besides this, race isn't much a factor in
the camp any more then it is anywhere else. Everyone is friends with
everyone else, but like anywhere in the world there will be people you
think are jerks. No one wants to get into a fight because of what can
happen (going to the hole, being transferred, getting moved to the Low,
etc.), so people just avoid people they don't care for. (Editor's note:
Last week's INSIDE
VEGAS exposed that Mike Galardi may have requested a different
prison camp in order to be separated from Rizzolo who is alleged to
have been responsible for alerting the F.B.I. and triggering his
Don't sweat it,
you'll make friends and there are cool people in there. Ages range from
18 to grandpa, with most being in the early to mid 20s and the late
30's to early 40's. Don't be scared to ask questions! Everyone in there
knows what it's like to be new, and they go out of their way to be
helpful and nice.
you get in, within a day or two you'll be able to make your first
phone call to the number you put down as your emergency contact number
when you inprocessed. You can add more numbers later on, but it takes
around a week to get them added. You can start getting and receiving
mail right away too. My girlfriend sent me a letter before I left so I
got it the second day I was there.
besides the everyday life there, that is what you can expect when
you get to Taft. It's a hard day for sure when you turn yourself in,
and it takes about a month before you get fully adjusted, but you will
Here's a note from a lady who was the wife of a former Taft
read your article
and all I can say is OH PLEASE GIVE ME A
Vinny and Mike Galardi all together
to Taft is like sending them to a resort at Cancun without the
Frangelica and Margaritas.
the hell do you think they will do all day?
know as well as I do that all these guys are gonna do
is plan the next scam, and talk: 'That m----- f----- son of a
bitch.' 'I'm gonna break his f----n' head.' And 'Wait till I
get out!' YADA YADA YADA............
yeah, and the visits are monitored with a video camera, but
unless they have lip readers, believe me, plans are being put in place
for either moving money around or taking care of their
the guys like Rick who own the strip clubs? I knew
several from South Florida and going away is nothing to them because of
all the money they have made and hidden. And it is
as far as being
unpleasant for family and friends
to visit, it isn't that bad It (Taft) is a small town and was
as a back drop in a Kurt Russel/Robin Williams movie, and other
shoots as well.
be told the few times I visited Taft I incorporated a trip
to the coast, maybe an hour drive. This is where
Persico is or was, not sure, I haven't heard from him in
years. But I know while he was there he was planting
tomatoes, playing in a band and doing all the other typical
tasks for wiseguys in security. I just hope all three of these
guys get out and go straight, but seriously don't hold your
It is embarrassing for the families and friends and especially for the
if I sound bitter, I guess after 16 years of that mob crap, I
have had it. Probably why I make fun of it. Oh well! We
mistakes. Actually (name withheld) and I were
never married (smart move on my part). We learn from our
mistakes and that was one I learned from."
I hope the above
helps Rizzolo, Faraci, and Galardi acclimate into their new
In my research,
I've learned that the camps once known as "Country Clubs" are few and
far between. The last known facility for upper class felons was located
at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas. It was the temporary home of
"Junk Bond King" Michael Milken who was frequently visited
by Vegas' own Steve Wynn who registered into the camp over fifty
times during Milken's stay.
holders associating with
known felons is strictly prohibited by Nevada Gaming Law -- unless your
name is Wynn.
And after Wynn concluded his visits at Nellis, he was within minutes of
our town's finest hotels and restaurants.
But for mobsters, crooked
politicians, and family
members who wish to visit Faraci
and Rizzolo at Camp,
it's a different story. The tiny
nearby town of Taft offers several quaint motels and a sit down
restaurant oddly named Chicken
The Welcome Inn features 16
is a quality 2 story with
rooms each with an in-room
AM/FM Alarm Clock, Coffee
repeat visitors who seek luxury accommodations and cuisine near the
Taft Prison Camp,
they'd better be prepared to drive over an hour to Bakersfield, or an
hour and a half to the coast. If not,
the "Chicken" will become their meeting place of choice followed by
restful nights and free coffee at the Welcome or Holland Inns. (Taft is
a six hour drive from Vegas.)
Meet me at Chicken of Oz
after payin respects to Vinny and Rick."
It's not yet known
whether the Chicken of Oz will be called upon to replace Fredde
Glusman's Piero's in Vegas, or Ritz in Newport Beach -- the previous
watering holes of Rizzolo's high rolling gang -- or if Glusman will
make a bid on the "Chicken" in the likely event more of his best
customers end up in Taft and their visitors need a home away from home.
One thing's for sure though, Glusman's business will definitely suffer
while Faraci and Rizzolo are away eating stale sandwiches from a prison
And if Mike Galardi's attorneys are granted their request, Galardi's
prison stay will be at Lompoc which is only a few miles north of the
tony city of Santa Barbara; an area offering far more amenities for
prison visitors than the desert town of Taft.
However, Taft has one attraction no other prison town can offer. It's
the home of the Taft Kitty
Litter Plant. Therefore when Faraci's or Rizzolo's family
members are killing time between visits, they can tour the world famous
Following his release from Nellis, Michael Milken went on to become a
pillar of the
local and state gaming and political community, hosting lavish parties
at his Lake Tahoe estate attended by Wynn and our Governor with no
repercussion from gaming regulators.
That may also be the case for the "Vegas Three" when they get out. Why
standards include thrice electing a mob attorney as our city's Mayor --
a Mayor who now wants to build a museum
next to City Hall dedicated to his former mob clients including Faraci
and Rizzolo. In fact, it was our Mayor's law
partners and protégés who defended both Faraci and
Rizzolo at their recent trials.
In the meantime, while Faraci and Rizzolo bide their time at Taft,
their criminal enterprise continues. On April 18, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar
Goodman -- though he's forced
to abstain -- will lead the way behind the scenes to grant a straw
man a permanent liquor license to continue the mob's covert
the infamous Crazy Horse Too strip club.
Surprised? Naw. This is the new Vegas,
Copyright © Steve Miller
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