say the mob left Vegas years ago...
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
May 12, 2008
LAS VEGAS - In the years
before mob lawyer Oscar Goodman moved to town, local residents left their
front doors unlocked at night and felt safe walking in their neighborhoods.
The crime of choice was skimming
profits from casinos before the IRS could get their share. Street crime
was not allowed, and a cowboy mentality on the part of local police made
sure of that. If anyone harmed a tourist, their carcass usually was found
in a shallow grave just over the state line in San Bernadino County, California,
or Mojave County, Arizona.
The old expression "Don't
shit where you eat" clearly prevailed in early Las Vegas, the town I grew
up in and once loved.
Las Vegas was as safe a town
as could be in America. It was to remain such a place up until the late
1970's when a new breed of mobster saw golden opportunities here to sully
our landscape by preying on the local populace who by then had completely
let down their guard.
When the locals began installing
security cameras, the new mob went after the tourists, especially those
who sought companionship from the opposite sex. Soon strip clubs like the
Too appeared on the scene, and Vegas began to gain a much more sinister
But that didn't seem to matter
much while the money poured in and high rises began shooting up in all
parts of town.
mob mouthpiece Oscar Goodman (center) by their side, the likes of Tony
"The ant" Spilotro (left), Herb Blitzstein (right), Joey Cusumano, and
Joe Blasko found Vegas to be a safe haven for a new style of street crime;
a style that has since found new and lucrative stomping
grounds in the current "Sin City" industries that have taken over
the landscape; strip clubs, massage parlors, and escort services.
The safe town Meyer Lansky,
Bugsy Siegel, and Moe Dalitz built in the late 40's and 50's was based
on its bang for the buck and giving visitors a fair shake. Most everything
was given away to inspire free wheeling gambling. Food, drink, even the
company of show girls was readily available to keep visitors loose and
busy at the tables.
The slogans "Keep Las Vegas
Green. Bring Money!" and "I drove to Vegas in a new $6,000 Cadillac, but
went home in a $40,000 Greyhound bus," along with the picture of a man
wearing only a barrel while thumbing a ride on Highway 95 were printed
on every type of T-shirt and souvenir ash tray found in historic Fremont
Street tourist traps like Trader Bill's.
One thing was for sure, a
good time was had by all. And everybody came back again and again. But
it was also well known that visitors could let their hair down in complete
safety. Our evening TV news half hours were hard to fill with anything
exciting. This town was dull compared to similar size cities.
Of course there was an underside,
a side I was more than familiar with. I was growing up in the "last resort"
in America, but things were about to drastically change during my later
years here. The town began to covet its "Sin City," "What happens here,
stays here" image in the press, and a few of us rebelled, especially those
of us trying to raise our children in such a place.
Family of Buffalo Jim Barrier
await toxicology reports
so many questions still unanswered regarding the mysterious death of Las
Vegas' most fearless crime fighter, the four daughters of the late James
"Buffalo Jim" Barrier are doing their best to remain patient while two
independent forensic labs conduct toxicology tests to try to determine
whether Barrier met with foul play.
Despite his bad boy image,
Barrier was the single father of four daughters, and he did a wonderful
job of raising his children in a very hostile environment.
There are many coincidences
that lead many to believe Barrier's untimely death had something to do
with his two-decade-long battle with his next door mob owned topless bar
the Crazy Horse Too, and the part he played in its closure, and imprisonment
of its owner Rick Rizzolo.
Buffalo Jim Barrier was part
of the old Las Vegas, and until his last day fought to protect those unusual
standards that he and I grew to love and respect as young men in a boom
Buffalo Jim hated bullies.
He devoted the last years of his life trying to put some of them in prison,
But as the weeks roll by
since his untimely April 5 death, new information is coming to light. Until
the family can personally view the four minute long video tape that allegedly
shows Barrier checking in to the budget motel where his lifeless body was
discovered the following day, closure cannot come for his family and friends.
Was he murdered? Or was Barrier
taking a pause in his highly structured life to try to re-live a moment
from his youth, and his body just gave out?
While we await the police
department's, coroner's, and family's private pathologist's final determination
of the cause of death, journalist Joshua Longobardy poured his heart into
the nine page May 8, Las Vegas Weekly cover story "Larger
than life," about the life and death of his friend, "Las
Vegas Most Colorful Character."
Longobardy tells a fascinating
tale of a man who's legend will live on and on in the bizarre history of
Vinny Faraci allegedly back
in strip club business -- this time in the county
weeks before he was scheduled to check in to a federal prison to serve
a five month sentence, Crazy Horse Too defendant Vinny Faraci on April
24, 2007 had his
lawyer David Chesnoff apply for a Clark County Liquor License so Faraci
could operate a topless bar to be named "Eden" after his release.
The county wisely turned
down this arrogant request following an INSIDE
VEGAS column on the subject.
When asked how such an application
made it on to the Clark County Commission's agenda, a spokesperson for
the county business license department told INSIDE VEGAS, "Faraci had a
high powered attorney who wanted it on the consent agenda."
David Chesnoff is Mayor Oscar
Goodman's and attorney Jay Brown's law
partner at their 720 S. Fourth Street law firms.
Because most items on consent
agendas are voted on in one motion without discussion, Chesnoff apparently
thought he could pull this off without the public being made aware that
a convicted felon had applied for a privileged liquor license just weeks
before going to the slammer.
Notice the date of the above
agenda item - April 24, 2007
Now notice the date of Mr.
Faraci's release from prison - November 30, 2007
That took extreme chutzpah
-- or the law partner of the mayor of Las Vegas -- to even think they could
get it on. But the mob has become very accustomed to getting their way
since Oscar Goodman came to town.
Oscar Goodman with protégés Gardy Jolly and David Chesnoff
It didn't take long after
Faraci's release for rumors to surface about his hidden ownership in Eden.
Nor did it take long after his former partner Rick Rizzolo's release from
prison for rumors to surface about his hidden ownership in Bada Bing.
Clark County Commission Chairman
Rory Reid's father U.S. Senator Harry Reid is the business
partner of Jay Brown. Brown and Oscar Goodman once served as Rick
Rizzolo's corporate Resident Agents, and Goodman once served as Rizzolo's
criminal defense attorney.
(on left in this Review Journal photo by Clint Karlson) in 2007
represented the Crazy Horse Too in a license application before the Las
Vegas City Council.
An INSIDE VEGAS investigator
visited Eden this week to apply for a job with the intention of finding
out who is the boss.
When our source arrived at
the club the source was introduced to a woman named Phyllis Faraci who
reportedly identified herself as being in charge.
Phyllis then instructed the
purported job applicant to return after 9 PM to talk to Vinny (Faraci)
who she described as the person who approves all new hires.
their release from prison, it's heavily rumored that Faraci and Rizzolo
are back in the strip club business along with another Crazy Horse Too
convicted felon named Al
Rapuano (walking behind Rizzolo in this AmericanMafia.com photo by
Mike Christ). Faraci at Eden; Rizzolo
and his family at Bada Bing; and Rapuano at Penthouse -- three clubs
located in the county, two on land owned by the Fertitta family of Station
The Fertittas proudly attended
Rick Rizzolo's welcome home party on April 4, the day he was released from
custody, even though Nevada law prohibits unlimited gaming license holders
from associating with ex-felons.
Binion lost his gaming license at the Horseshoe because of his relationship
with Herb Blitzstein, and Frank
Sinatra lost his gaming license at Cal Neva Lodge because of his relationship
with Sam Giancana.
But the same gaming enforcement
rules no longer seem to apply to the Fertitta family in this new
Las Vegas. This family seems to be immune to scrutiny even though they
unabashedly associate with guys who rightfully belong in our state's infamous
Black Book of persons
excluded from entering casinos.
Rizzolo, and Rapuano have ties to Oscar Goodman and Jay Brown. Brown has
business ties to U.S. Senator Harry Reid who is the father of Clark County
Commission Chairman Rory Reid. The Fertittas (L to R Tillman, Frank, and
Lorenzo) are huge political campaign contributors. They own 15 casinos
in Las Vegas, and one in Sacramento, California.
Because all the new strip
clubs are located outside the city limits in the unincorporated county,
it doesn't appear as if Mayor Goodman is involved as much as he was with
the Crazy Horse Too that was located within the city limits. And it also
doesn't appear that the county commissioners are paying much attention
to who is really behind these three new clubs.
The city based Crazy Horse
Too closed down in July 2007, and less than a year later three new clubs
open in the county with familiar faces reportedly running them.
Goodman is rumored to be
interested in running for Nevada governor in 2010. Until then, pretending
to keep his distance from his law firm's former and current mob clients
may be in his best political interest.
And they say the mob left
Vegas years ago...
Copyright © Steve Miller