The assault on the Stupaks at Piero’s
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
June 30, 2003
Bob Stupak trying to cash Horseshoe chips
Summer Stupak's bruises Benny Behnen and
Mayor Oscar Goodman (LV SUN)
On Friday, August 25, 2000, Stratosphere Tower developer Bob Stupak
was dining with his 23-year-old daughter Summer at Piero's
restaurant in Las Vegas, a well known watering hole frequented by local
politicians and members of organized crime. Three men attacked the duo
at their table after claiming that Stupak had "stolen Horseshoe Casino
Police reports stated: "Suspect #4 grabbed Mr. Stupak by his right
arm, stating 'I want to talk to you outside.' At that time suspects #3
and #8, using both hands slapped Mr. Stupak repeatedly on the face and
head, while suspect #4 continued to pull Mr. Stupak outside the booth."
Summer Stupak, who attempted to stop the beating of her 58-year-old
father, narrowly missed being hit by a chair swung at her by one of the
One of the assailants was reported to be 23 year old Benny Behnen, the
grandson of Horseshoe founder Benny Binion and the son of current Horseshoe
owners Becky and Nick Behnen. Becky Behnen is the estranged sister of Jack
Binion and the late Ted Binion. Behnen won control of the Horseshoe after
a bitter court battle with her siblings. Benny Behnen is an unlicensed
executive at the Horseshoe.
Eyewitnesses collaborate the police report though Piero's owner Freddie
Glusman later denied the incident occurred. Similar incidents have
been reported at the upscale eatery in the past.
Bob Stupak suffered severe head injuries in a 1995 motorcycle accident
that almost took his life. He lay in coma for two weeks and is still
receiving medical treatment for complications stemming from the accident.
Another of the reported Piero's assailants was Grover "Chance" LeSeuer
who in 1996 attracted police attention when he was linked to a drive-by
shooting outside Ted Binion's Palomino Lane home, the same house in which
Binion was later found dead on Sept. 17, 1998. Although initially charged
with attempted murder, LeSueur eventually pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
Inexplicably, prior to his alleged assault on the Stupaks, LeSeuer was
observed dining with Nick, Becky, and Benny Behnen in another part of the
restaurant. The reason for the ongoing relationship between the Behnens
and LeSeuer, the man who allegedly was linked to the 1996 drive-by shooting
outside Ted Binion's home, is not clear.
Immediately following the assault and before police arrived, the three
assailants fled the scene but returned later to be seen with Glusman drinking
at the bar.
Bob Stupak had filed a police report in 1998 against Benny Behnen for
another assault and battery incident that Stupak said occurred at the Horseshoe
Casino in downtown Las Vegas. Stupak alleged young Behnen took a swing
High stakes gambler Stupak was notably the best friend of former Horseshoe
owners Jack and Ted Binion and had won millions of dollars playing poker
at the Horseshoe. Stupak was a regular in the Horseshoe poker room during
the Binion's proprietorship. The Binions ran the club until the unfriendly
takeover by their estranged sister Becky and her husband Nick Behnen in
June 1998. Stupak and a number of other high rollers temporarily stopped
gambling at the Horseshoe following the takeover because of reported hostile
treatment by Nick Behnen. The Behnens have suffered financially without
Jack and Ted's high rollers. The selling of the casino's million-dollar
display was an example of how winnings have leveled off for the Behnens.
In September 1998, Ted Binion died in his home under mysterious circumstances.
His live in girlfriend Sandy Murphy and her lover Rick Tabish were convicted
in July 1999, of his murder and are appealing the verdict.
After the convictions, Becky Behnen was shown on TV crying at her brother's
graveside. Some observers speculate based on the sibling's well-known animosity
and Behnen's mysterious association with Chance LeSeuer, that the news
cameras showing up just when she decided to visit her brother's grave was
an indication that the event was staged and disingenuous.
Bob Stupak became embroiled in the Binion/Behnen family war when in
November 1998, following Ted's death, Stupak tried to cash $250,000 worth
of $5,000 chips. Stupak also attempted to retrieve two safe deposit boxes
full of cash he had on deposit in the casino's cage. At that time, Nick
and Becky Behnen unexplainably refused to cash Stupak's chips or return
his currency. Stupak loudly protested and was “86ed” bodily from the casino
by Benny Behnen.
Stupak had at least a half-million dollars in one hundred-dollar bills
stored in the Horseshoe's casino cage. The Behnens showed no intention
of returning the money until Stupak showed up with two Nevada Gaming Control
Board investigators in tow. The money was reluctantly returned, but the
chips remained uncashed.
Gaming Control promptly started a thorough investigation of the Behnen's
refusal to cash the chips. The investigation made national news. It was
said that Nick and Becky Behnen were bringing embarrassment upon their
own industry through their refusal to abide by state law and cash the chips.
Their obvious vendetta against brothers Ted and Jack Binion's best friend
could have cost them their gaming license if it continued. The Behnens
continued to defy the state Gaming Control Board's orders to cash
the chips until forced to do so by authorities one year later.
The father and daughter claim that they suffered injuries from the incident
at Piero's. An unidentified female restaurant employee who witnessed the
melee was later quoted in police reports saying "An older man grabbed
Mr. Stupak by the arm, while the other subjects repeatedly slapped Mr.
Stupak. Mr. Stupak's daughter and (another person) separated the parties."
Glusman reportedly fired the employee after he learned she talked to
police. Summer Stupak was also quoted in the police report stating: "The
owner of Piero's did nothing to intervene or stop this assault."
Witnesses also reported that after police left, Benny Behnen returned
to Piero's and remained there socializing with Glusman until after midnight.
Another witness stated that Glusman was heard bragging that Bob Stupak
had taken a beating in his restaurant earlier that evening.
The following day, Glusman summoned his son in law, local PR man Tom
Letizia. Under Letizia’s alleged direction, Glusman was quoted in the
Vegas Review Journal saying "I didn't see anything, I was in the
other room. Benny didn't have anything to do with it. He wasn't even in
the goddamn room. He was sitting with Becky in the other room."
Glusman called the incident a "nonevent", and tried to laugh
it off by saying it reminded him of "old Las Vegas."
Becky Benhen was also quoted in the Las Vegas Sun saying, "Everyone
in the room was laughing, so it couldn't have been anything serious."
Bob and Summer Stupak were not laughing and considered the event to
be the second dangerous attack on their family in a long running vendetta
based on Stupak's friendship with Jack and Ted Binion. Both Stupaks said
they were concerned for their safety. Bob Stupak even hired a bodyguard.
Both Stupaks filed charges. The Clark County Sheriff and District Attorney
received a number of letters from Stupak’s friends demanding that official
action be taken before another incident occurs. The Nevada Gaming Control
Board was also alerted.
“R.D.” Matthews, one of the assailants, later pleaded
no contest to assualt charges, however Behnen and LeSeuer were never
charged. No explanation was ever given as to why they were given a pass.
Three years after the event, the Behnen family is still well known throughout
Nevada for their generous political campaign contributions; Stupak is back
as a regular at the Horseshoe and Piero's; Chance LeSueur was found dead
under mysterious circumstances; Benny Behnen is a respected member of local
society; and Tom Letizia, Piero's PR man, has suddenly become a close friend
of Bob Stupak.
In Sin City, its amazing how time heals all.
Copyright © Steve Miller
email Steve Miller at: Stevemiller4lv@aol.com