of Buffalo Jim
"And the mayor winked and raised his drink
'Let's toast to him.' And his very
good friends all joined in,
"Here's to good ol' Buffalo Jim (laughter)."
Dominic Rizzolo expected
to plead not guilty
Victim says he was stabbed after refusing
Violence follows former Crazy
Horse Too manager
"The strip club released a statement saying
strived to maintain a 'safe and comfortable
its employees." - LV Review-Journal
Beating victim goes after
Rizzolo's hidden fortune
Rick and Lisa Rizzolo accused as co-conspirators
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
June 9, 2008
LAS VEGAS - "The Ghost of
Buffalo Jim" MP3 is about to hit the airwaves and can be heard by clicking
The haunting lyrics tell the story of what many believe to be the last
hours of the man who fought the current Vegas mob, and mysteriously died
the day after Rick
Rizzolo was released from prison.
was the owner of the most profitable topless bar in the US, the infamous
Crazy Horse Too. Buffalo Jim Barrier, a former pro wrestler, owned the
little auto repair shop next to the bar, and since 1999 fearlessly photographed
and reported the aftermath of a decades long extortion racket that only
the FBI could kill. Barrier's photos of beating victims were shown on NBC
News, and his testimony helped to convict Rizzolo along with 16 of
his mob associates, and caused the seizure of the mob's business and property
by the United States of America.
Barriers perseverance also
exposed the local district attorney who refused to respond to numerous
requests for prosecution of Crazy Horse employees brought to him by police.
On April 6, 2008, Barrier's
body was discovered in a motel room. On the day of his death, Barrier received
an anonymous letter forewarning
him of his demise. In it the writer claimed that Rizzolo had met with Las
Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and that "Oscar Goodman has made some very
bad remarks about you. Keep in mind, he does feel he can do what ever is
necessary to see you fail."
When Goodman and his wife
arrived in Vegas in the 1960s, he claimed to be broke. After working for
the local DA for a year, he was taken under the wing of noted criminal
defense attorney Harry
Claiborne. Claiborne was best known for his ability to pay off local
judges to help him get the rulings and verdicts he wanted.
Goodman soon learned the
ropes and began attracting new criminal clients to Claiborne's law firm.
One of his first was a man named Joey
Cusumano. Cusumano would soon bring the young lawyer scores of his
mob friends as clients including the late Tony "The ant" Spilotro and Rick
Rizzolo, clients who preyed on our tourists and local residents.
In his later years, Harry
Claiborne was appointed federal judge but ended up reversing his role,
taking bribes, and joined his clients in prison after being convicted of
Oscar Goodman never stopped
saying Claiborne was a great American. Claiborne's example influenced the
remainder of Goodman's career.
The Claiborne/Goodman alliance
and their acceptance in Las
Vegas' society began to change our town from a safe place where residents
left their front doors unlocked, to one of the most crime plagued cities
in the US according to national
Crooks knew that lawyers
like Claiborne and Goodman could get to most judges and the DA, and get
them off if they were willing to pay for the service. Goodman always looked
good in local court rooms, winning and winning. The only times he looked
bad was when he ventured to Chicago or San Diego where he was usually chewed
up and spit out by local prosecutors.
In the 1980s, Goodman's 520
S. Fourth Street law office grew with the additions of David
Chesnoff and Jay Brown. Goodman taught them the trade, and they've
also flourished financially under his tutelage. Their clientele includes
some of our town's worst criminals who with their help are free to prey
on our locals and tourists.
With the skills he learned
from his mentor, and a part playing himself in the movie "Casino," Goodman
soon became famous. He and his wife Carolyn along with his law partners
and clients also became nouvo riche at the expense of the safety and well
being of the Las Vegas community. This is the same naive, star struck community
that elected Goodman their mayor; treats him like some sort of hero; and
waits in line for his autograph at public events.
In 1990, Goodman convinced
the then-DA to let Rizzolo off with a gross misdemeanor after the bar owner
beat a patron almost to death with a baseball
bat. Goodman and Rizzolo have remained
friends ever since, and Goodman proved his friendship time and again
by harassing Barrier on Rizzolo's behalf.
During the first years of
Goodman's tenure at city hall, Barrier was the subject of intense harassment
from city employees who did everything they were told to disrupt his business.
sued Rizzolo for being behind the actions, the story hit the papers,
and the harassment stopped, at least from city employees.
The case slowly made its
way through the courts, and the trial is still pending, but when a district
court judge ordered
that Rizzolo put one million dollars aside in the court's escrow account
to insure payment in the now likely event Barrier's family prevails at
trial, Rick Rizzolo was humiliated.
Though Rizzolo was in prison
at the time of the ORDER, Barrier's friends warned him to watch his back.
He continued his surveillance of the now-closed topless bar, and discovered
that Rizzolo family members were trespassing daily to loot the building
of valuables seized by the federal government. Barrier photographed the
and the locks were soon changed. The incidents were reported in the media,
and again, members of the Rizzolo family who were photographed illegally
entering the building were humiliated.
The hatred escalated until
November, 2007 when Bart Rizzolo attempted to run Barrier over in a parking
lot. Barrier filed for and received a Restraining Order. After the event
hit the papers, Bart's attorney Dominic Gentile threatened to sue Barrier
for defaming his 76 year old client. In response to the threatened defamation
law suit, Barrier filed and received a second
Restraining Order against the elder Rizzolo. No defamation law suit
followed, though Barrier dared Gentile to file one. The story hit the papers
again which further humiliated the Rizzolo family.
Barrier was again warned
to watch his back because Bart is the family patriarch.
Barrier turned up dead several
The apple doesn't fall far
from the tree
On January 21, 2008, Buffalo
Jim Barrier called reporters to say that Dominic Rizzolo, 26, had stabbed
a man with a switch blade knife.
Because Barrier was a reliable
source, I wrote one paragraph about the rumor in my daily E-Brief, but
waited until I could receive official confirmation to report the incident
In late March, Barrier called
to say that a source told him he overheard Bart Rizzolo in a restaurant
complaining of how the law firm Patti and Sgro was gouging him in legal
fees to get his grandson off. The eavesdropper said that Bart made no mention
of the severity of the crime, just of how expensive it would be to rig
the case. I wrote about the overheard conversation in another E-Brief.
again, was causing the Rizzolos problems through his uncanny list of sources
and his constant calls to reporters. This time by revealing something the
family evidently intended to have swept under the carpet with the help
of a compromised
My E-Briefs may have inspired
police to take action because Dominic was arrested on March 26, nine weeks
after the stabbing. He was allegedly hiding from police at a Summerlin
estate owned by Rick Belcastro, the god son of Rick Rizzolo, and the owner
of Bada Bing strip club.
Dominic was charged with
felony assault with a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, and attempted
The stabbing victim, 26 year
old Billy Moyer, told police that Rizzolo appeared at his home demanding
he pay him $20,000 after saying "You know who my family is."
According to police reports,
when Moyer refused to pay, Rizzolo reportedly hit him in the face with
his fist. During the ensuing fight in which Moyer was reportedly getting
the upper hand, Rizzolo reportedly pulled a switch blade and stabbed Moyer
in the stomach before running to his car and losing his shoe along the
Moyer received a four inch
deep puncture wound in his upper abdomen. After receiving emergency surgery
and spending four days in the hospital including two days in intensive
care, Moyer filed criminal charges.
Saying the act was clearly
premeditated, Moyer described a mutual acquaintance calling his home a
few minutes before the stabbing, asking if he was staying home that evening?
When Moyer said he had no plans to leave, Rizzolo reportedly drove to Moyer's
home with a T-shirt covering the license plate of his vehicle. Two other
persons were reportedly in the dark blue SUV.
Dominic Rizzolo did not file
a police report or seek medical help following the altercation though he
now claims his life was in danger.
Rizzolo's attorney Tony Sgro
says there were two eye witnesses in the SUV who filed sworn statements
and will testify that Moyer was the aggressor and hit Rizzolo with a rock.
That Dominic stabbed Moyer in order to protect himself.
However, one of the two witnesses
has since told sources that they were threatened with bodily harm if they
refused to go to Sgro's office to sign the affidavits.
Moyer and Rizzolo attended
Bishop Gorman Catholic High School in the 1990s, but according to Moyer
have not had a relationship since. Moyer stated that "Since leaving high
school, I didn't like the way Rizzolo carried himself," describing a time
when Rizzolo was in a casino with a girl friend who had a pistol in her
purse. According to Moyer, Rizzolo asked the girl to show his friends the
Moyer told police he believed
Rizzolo covered his license plate because he intended to commit a crime
that night and didn't want to be identified.
Rizzolo is expected to plead
self defense saying he was just trying to collect a debt.
Dominic Rizzolo is being
prosecuted by District Attorney David Roger's office. Roger accepted at
least $13,000 in campaign contributions from Rick Rizzolo during his 2003
campaign. Roger also attended a fund raiser held in his honor at Rizzolo's
Canyon Gate estate. Since his election, Roger has dropped all cases brought
by Metro Police against the Crazy Horse Too including the beating of Kirk
Henry, and wrongful death of Scott
During his reelection in
2007, Tony Sgro donated the use of an office in his building for David
Roger's campaign headquarters.
The Preliminary Hearing is
scheduled for July 30. Rizzolo was released on his own recognizance after
Dominic Rizzolo is a partner
in Outlaw Consulting, LLC.
Violence follows former Crazy
Horse Too manager
in Vegas can a convicted felon with ties to a mob owned strip club that
was seized by the government for extorting its patrons, get a Sheriff's
Card and become the manager of another strip club.
Rapuano (on right walking with Rick Rizzolo in this AmericanMafia.com
photo by Mike Christ) was convicted of the racketeering that shut down
his previous place of employment after dozens
of acts of violence.
Now, Mr. Rapuano is the manager
of the Penthouse Gentleman's Club where, on June 5, the Las
Vegas Review-Journal reported, "a bar patron got into a physical
altercation with the manager of the club and then went to his vehicle,
a black Hummer H3 with Nevada license plates. He got into the vehicle,
drove to the club's entrance and fired two shots, (police Lt. Lew)
Roberts said. He then got out and continued shooting. 'The manager and
another witness fled to the back of the business,' Roberts said.
'Our suspect followed them inside, firing multiple shots at both subjects
while inside the business.'"
After the shooting inside
the club, the suspect drove away with police in hot pursuit. He fired several
shots at an officer. The officer returned fire killing the suspect.
My question is, why didn't
the "management" of the bar let security handle the situation, or call
police before the incident escalated? Shades of the Crazy Horse Too...
The chickens have come home
For years I've nagged that
the feds need to go after Rick and Lisa Rizzolo's cleverly hidden personal
assets in order to pay the couple's court ordered debts incurred while
they were married. This after the FBI filed a document
with the court saying they could not locate the assets.
Last week, the US Attorney
for Nevada filed a document saying the Rizzolos were finally becoming aware
their hidden assets could be seized.
In his settlement with the
government in exchange for a light sentence, Rick Rizzolo agreed to not
declare bankruptcy in the event he is legally challenged to pay his debts.
In 2005, immediately following
Rick and Lisa Rizzolo's hasty divorce and three weeks after the about-to-be
convicted racketeer began negotiating his plea agreement with federal government
prosecutors, the couple on advice of their shared divorce attorneys Dean
Patti and Tony Sgro visited the highly respected law firm of Lionel Sawyer
and Collins in Las Vegas, a law firm closely associated with United States
Senator Harry Reid. There they met with attorney John E. Dawson, the brother
of a federal court judge.
By complete coincidence,
attorney Dawson's brother is Judge Kent Dawson, the judge assigned to preside
over the trials of 16 of the 17 Crazy Horse Too defendants.
of interest to the wind, attorney Dawson went right to work setting
up the "LISA M. RIZZOLO SEPARATE PROPERTY TRUST," and other LLCs to keep
the Rizzolo's money from paying beating victim Kirk Henry's medical bills,
and other court ordered debts amounting to over $28 million dollars. John
Dawson's brother the judge never uttered a word about it in court.
On Friday, Jun 6, the Las
Vegas Sun reported, "Rizzolo, the suit alleges, created a phony
'family trust' and engaged in millions of dollars worth of cash transactions,
including running up gambling debts, to obscure his assets. The Henrys
contend the scheme included a June 2005 divorce in which Lisa Rizzolo was
given nearly all of Rizzolo’s assets except the Crazy Horse Too. The lawsuit
alleges Lisa Rizzolo was a conspirator and names her as a co-defendant.
In the divorce settlement, as the Sun first reported, Rizzolo gave his
former wife the couple's 5,763-square-foot home in Canyon Gate, as well
as a $1.4 million oceanfront home in Newport Beach, Calif., and a condominium
in Chicago. Rizzolo also gave her $7.2 million in investment accounts and
agreed to pay her $5 million in alimony over a five-year period... Attorneys
Don Campbell and Stan Hunterton quietly filed the lawsuit on behalf of
the Henrys last month as tempers flared over the government's efforts to
give a bank higher priority than the couple in the distribution of millions
of dollars in proceeds from the pending sale of the Crazy Horse Too."
It sure took a while, but
now it looks as though the "chickens have come home to roost" in regard
to the Rizzolo's hidden assets. It will be interesting to see if the
attorney who hid the assets is identified, and if so, will it bring
embarrassment upon his federal-court-judge-brother who dealt Rizzolo's
Attorney Dawson hid the Rizzolo's
assets even though Rick Rizzolo's battle with the FBI and IRS was front
page news at the time.
And it will also be interesting
to see what the court does if Rizzolo's money and assets cannot be located?
Will Judge Philip Pro order the racketeer back to prison for violating
his plea agreement that personally guaranteed payment if the proceeds from
the Crazy Horse Too sale proved inadequate to cover his and his wife's
And then there's District
Court Judge Jackie Glass who refused to let Kirk Henry's attorneys examine
Rizzolo's personal hidden assets. In June 2007, when Henry's attorneys
asked for permission to look for the assets, the Review-Journal
reported that Judge Glass interrupted, saying,."'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... Both Campbell and Rizzolo's attorney have blamed
the city revoking Rizzolo's liquor license for the stalled sale. Glass's
husband, Steve Wolfson, sits on the Las Vegas City Council."
This is the same city council
that is dictated to by Oscar Goodman who is Rizzolo's former attorney and
Judge Glass' husband is also
a criminal defense attorney and wants to be the next mayor.
Goodman's law partner and
Rizzolo's other former corporate
agent is Jay Brown who did legal
work for the Crazy Horse Too. Brown is the business
partner of US Senator Reid who appointed Judge Dawson to the federal
bench for life. Senator Reid's son Rory is a stockholder in Lionel Sawyer
and Collins, the firm that employs John Dawson. And Rory Reid is the chairman
of the Clark County Commission who granted Al Rapuano permission to manage
another strip joint.
In the meantime, a sad
song laments a real hero's death; a mob lawyer wants
to be Nevada's next governor; Rick and Lisa Rizzolo still have their ill-gotten
fortune; Billy Moyer is recovering from his wounds; another strip club
was just shot up; and Kirk Henry is paralyzed from the neck down and can't
pay his medical bills.
Copyright © Steve Miller