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
Suck my big toe...
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
July 17, 2006
"Tell Steve Miller he can suck my big
toe!" - Mayor
Oscar Goodman, 07/16/06, LV
Review-Journal photo by Cariño Casas
LAS VEGAS - Last
Thursday at Mayor Oscar Goodman's weekly press conference, Review-Journal city hall reporter
David McGrath Schwartz struck a nerve when he asked the mayor about my
ethics complaint against him.
I filed the complaint with the Nevada Commission on Ethics on July 6,
based on Goodman's insistence on defending his former law clients when
they come before his council for disciplinary action.
The Crazy Horse Too strip club is about to be brought up for possible
license revocation, and I believe Goodman has reverted to his previous
profession - criminal defense attorney - when it comes to one of his
former clients, convicted felon and Crazy Horse owner Rick
Before being elected mayor, Goodman defended Rizzolo for beating
a man almost to death with a baseball bat. Goodman did such a
"good" job that Rizzolo got off with a
slap on the wrist, though his victim died of his injuries three years
after the beating.
At the time, Goodman was well known for requiring a half-million dollar
retainer to secure his services.
Now, after he has twice been elected mayor of Sin City, the former mob
lawyer is demonstrating his loyalty to his former client.
In an amazing display of chutzpah, Goodman at last week's council
meeting told the audience that he once represented Rizzolo, but that
was long ago, and because it was long ago he has no current conflict of
interest. However, in my ethics complaint I also mentioned that Goodman
once represented Crazy Horse executive Albert Rapuano, and just
three years ago, Rick Rizzolo donated $40,000 to Goodman's uncontested
reelection campaign, and that Goodman's current law and real estate
partner David Chesnoff is representing Crazy Horse Too manager Vinny
The mayor failed to disclose these other potential conflicts, something
the Ethics Commission can't help but notice.
Following the meeting, reporter Schwartz asked Goodman about his
vote to bring the Crazy Horse up on a Show Cause action as to why they
should remain open after all its owners pleaded guilty to felonies.
Schwartz reminded the mayor that in 2003, he fined Rizzolo's biggest
competitor Jack Galardi one million dollars for his son Michael's
guilty plea to bribing San Diego and Las Vegas politicians. Goodman's
response inspired the following story:
Copyright © Las Vegas
defends club's owners
Crazy Horse Too faces
By DAVID McGRATH SCHWARTZ
Las Vegas Mayor
Oscar Goodman said Thursday the crimes
employees and owners of the Crazy Horse Too Gentleman's Club pleaded
guilty to didn't merit the maximum fines the city
could impose... Goodman was asked at his news conference Thursday about
the admission by the company that owns Crazy Horse Too that the club "sought
to extort payment from patrons through explicit or implicit threats of
violence, or through actual use of force."
"That is a lot different
than bribing a politician.
That's the integrity of the system. This is just a business practice
that's entirely unacceptable," Goodman said.
The last time Goodman was so angry
or protective of someone came in April 2004 when local ethics watchdog
Robert Rose filed an ethics complaint against him for using his mayoral
title to help his son promote a business. The Ethics Commission found
Goodman guilty, and he responded by saying 80 year old Rose could "drop
dead!" Just as he said this, Review-Journal
Casas snapped the
enraged picture at the top of this column.
ethics complaint. In it Goodman is accused of violating NRS
281.481(1) and NRS 281.481(2): "In 2003 the owners of the
Crazy Horse Too donated $40,000 to Mayor Goodman's uncontested
reelection campaign. Since that time, the owners of the Crazy
Horse Too have been convicted of racketeering and tax evasion, however
Mayor Goodman has repeatedly refused to take action against their
privileged license, once stating he would not do so in the middle of a
federal investigation though one year earlier he brought the Crazy
Horse Too's biggest competitor up on a show cause action while they
were also under federal investigation."
Crazy Horse Too owners and employees along with Goodman Law Group
member Chesnoff as "persons who might have knowledge of the facts and
circumstances." Besides Rizzolo, Albert
Rapuano and Vincent
named among those to be interviewed by the Ethics Commission. However,
they may have a hard time interviewing Faraci. The latest word is that
fled to Cabo San Lucas to avoid extradition. Our relations with Mexico
are pretty bad right now, so he may be there for quite a while.
Based on his "This is just
a business practice"
remark, the ethics commissioners should have themselves a hey day! The
last time they found Goodman guilty of violating the state's ethics
laws, he flipped out and said their executive director had a "screw
lose." Then he sued the commission in the court of a friendly
judge, and won. The Ethics Commission currently has the judge's ruling
on appeal in the Nevada Supreme Court. Now my new complaint
gives them a second bite at Goodman's apple, and he's
out again -- this time asking me to suck his toe.
Galardi's strip club came close to being shut down, and his dad had to
pay a million dollar fine. In contrast, Rizzolo's goons regularly
extorted and beat
up people who did not want to sign inflated bar tabs -- killing one and
There's a big difference between Galardi and Rizzolo. According to "Stripped: Twenty Years of Secrets from Inside the Strip
Club" author and former Galardi bouncer Brent
hurt anybody physically, but Galardi was never one of Goodman's law
clients, therefore his bribing politicians did not qualify as "just a
that's entirely unacceptable."
In this week's edition of the Nevada
, publisher Johnny Gunn writes, "Goodman:
Violent Extortion Of Patrons
Not As Bad As Bribery, So Give Rizzolo A Break."
Its been three and half years since I
first asked the mayor to bring the Crazy
Horse before the council to show cause why they deserve to keep their
privileged license. In the interim, law school graduate Steven "Captain
has attended every council meeting to demand that action be taken
before anyone else is hurt.
Nothing happened until last June when Rizzolo, his father Bart,
brother Ralph, and
(through their corporation) along with 16 other goons pleaded
guilty to racketeering which
included seeking to extort payments from patrons through the use of
Annette, Ralph, and Bart
(AmericanMafia phot by Mike Christ)
meantime, instead of shutting them down before any one else
could get hurt, Goodman sponsored ordinances to let the bar expand, and
employ teenage strippers! He also spent taxpayer dollars harrassing
Rizzolo's next door neighbor Buffalo Jim Barrier trying to get him to
Amazingly, after the Crazy Horse had been the scene of over 700
police responses in just three years including 9 for assaults and 6 for
robberies involving bar employees, and was the subject of a Dateline
, Mayor Goodman
had this to say about his former law client's business when reporters
touched a raw nerve during a televised press conference held on
Thursday, August 5, 2004:
MICHAEL SQUIRES - LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: This week
Dateline NBC had a program on the Crazy Horse Too...
MAYOR GOODMAN: I did not see that.
videotape of DATELINE
NBC was HAND DELIVERED to Goodman ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 3)
Some of the allegations
against the club that have been known for some time. Is there any
appetite for a Show Cause Hearing...
...against the club,
and why not?
Ah, I've taken a
position publicly, you know, that's no different than where I was
before. I'm under the impression that there's a federal investigation
that is underway or is taking place, and I'm not going to, ah, screw it
up by having, ah, some kind of hearing in front of the City Council,
ah, until somebody tells me that that is not the case.
Given the facts that
are known publicly that have been published, moving forward on that
basis wouldn't screw up any...
No one, no one's asked
that other than "Captain Truth*," no one's ask me to ah, I, I haven't
had a request from anybody to have an order to Show Cause.
RALSTON - LAS VEGAS SUN:
Steve Miller sends out seven e-mails a day...
GOODMAN: Yea, right...
I know...but, I, ah...Steve
Miller is, ah, he's afraid of me. I don't wanna, I don't wanna, I don't
wanna scare him. Excuse me...
SQUIRES: Are you looking for
some credible outside source to call for this, or...
Well I would would, I
would assume that, ah, we have a Business License Department that I
don't agree with on many occasions, ah, and ah, if ah ah they felt
there was a need, I hope they would come forward and bring an order to
show... say "Mayor, we're gonna bring an order to Show Cause." If they
do that I'm certainly not gonna, ah ah, squelch it, that's for sure.
(L to R) Ralph, Jon
Norheim, Rick Rizzolo
(AmericanMafia photo by Mike Christ)
Then to make
matters a lot worse, in
February 2006, Ralph Rizzolo, Rick's brother who Goodman considers OK
to run the bar while Rick's in the slammer, was arrested for
Trafficking in Controlled Substances, and is facing trail on October
10, 2006. But that didn't phase Goodman either.
The city's own 34
page document details their case against the Crazy
Horse Too and lists the number of guilty pleas of each of 16 employees.
That also doesn't sway Goodman
who's beginning to act as
though the Rizzolo's should get the Family
of the Year Award from the
City of Las Vegas! Last Wednesday, he told the council audience that
"Rick Rizzolo does good charity work for the community, and he is my
Rizzolo is not the first felon Goodman has befriended in his official
In 1999, Goodman was spotted entertaining Charles
"Charlie Moose" Panarella
at City Hall. Panarella who is listed in
the state's Black Book is reportedly a member of the Colombo crime
family and was convicted nine years ago on drug money laundering that
involved a Vegas casino. When a story about the get
appeared in a local paper, Goodman threatened the reporter
saying, "I'm going to bar you from City Hall if you keep asking
questions like that," I'll bar you from City Hall!"
Goodman has also entertained
Black Book member and Rizzolo pal Joey Cusumano at his home.
Remember, this is the man who once said he'd rather his daughter date
Tony "The Ant" Spilotro than an FBI agent, so who am I to complain?
This is the new Vegas, baby!
After being around town for 48 years, now is the first time I've ever
felt so wrong for being so right! I've become the scourge of Vegas café society for going against our
mayor. Even Steve
and Elaine Wynn stopped inviting me over! But I just must continue
my quest to stop the violence and corruption! I'm afraid if I don't,
If acquiesce, that loud sucking noise you'll hear will be
sound of our Constitutional right to open government going down the
may be trying to kill the public hearing as a favor to his former
mayor in the face of overwhelming evidence insists that the Crazy Horse
should stay open, and suggested -- like a proper criminal defense
attorney would -- that its' potential two million dollar fine be
lowered. He was responding to Crazy Horse attorney Tony Sgro's plea
that the city not take "its pound of flesh." Sgro also had the gall to
say "Mr. Rizzolo's heart goes out the the Kirk Henry family."
Just tell that to beating victims including (L to R) Scott
David Fau (deceased), Paul
Simieou, Eban Kostbar, and Kirk
Henry. They each gave their pound of flesh, Mr. Sgro.
Goodman also made this unusual motion at the July 12 council
meeting: "I move to accept the first
amended complaint for disciplinary
action and set the September 6 date as a time certain for the hearing
on the matter if it can't be resolved
Lois Tarkanian whose ward includes the Crazy Horse Too, red flagged on
Goodman's "resolved before
then" tag line. In response she stated: "I strongly believe we owe this
open meeting to the citizens of this city."
That's an understatement!
Goodman made his motion following a plea by Rizzolo's attorney Tony
Sgro (one of Goodman's protégés), that he be given the
opportunity to meet one-on-one with all the council persons prior to
the public hearing, something that normally takes extraordinary juice.
Goodman's help is obviously trying to resolve the matter outside the
Goodman agreed that Sgro should be given the opportunity to meet
privately with the council before any public hearing. This demonstrates
a Star Chamber
mentality, and if allowed to occur, may indicate that the LV Mob is
back in full swing!
Goodman's efforts to squelch the Show Cause Hearing could also be
a response to Buffalo Jim Barrier and I
announcing our plans to address the City Council on Sept. 6. In the
past he's been hesitant to face off with either of us in public.
(AmericanMafia.com photo by Mike Christ)
Frankly, I'd rather be attacked by a swarm of malaria-crazed
mosquitoes than have Miller and Barrier on my case. - John
L. Smith, Las Vegas Review-Journal, July 27, 2005
The mayor is obviously trying to preclude this from happening while
also trying to lessen the impact his participation in such a hearing
will have on the complaint I filed with the Nevada Commission on Ethics.
The public hearing has already been scheduled for Sept. 6. If Goodman's
so called "resolution" happens in the interim which causes the public
to be excluded from testifying, a violation of the Nevada Open Meeting
Law will have occurred. The City Council is not permitted to be polled,
or reach resolution outside the public's view, as is Sgro's intention.
It appears to me as a former member of the council and author of the
original City of Las Vegas Ethics in Government Law, that the mayor's
"resolved before then" tag line reveals his true intentions of keeping
the public out of the process. This is
why I filed
my ethics complaint.
I anticipated just such an action and hoped my complaint would have
discouraged such a megalomaniacal act. It obviously didn't. So I
sent out an SOS in my daily E-Brief.
readers responded because they always say it best.
Lee in Denver writes: "Steve, This was an 'unacceptable business practice?' Which, when reading the whole article gives the impression,
he (Goodman) said; 'it's ok to kill someone compared to bribing a
politician.' Am I going mad, or is my logic in the Ball Park?
Goodman, in my opinion, needs a Check
Up! His Tool Box has a Short! The Voters need to initiate a
Recall. No one has the right to
discredit the importance of someone's life or safety.... and Goodman
has done that!"
And another reader writes
Goodman's uncanny ability to stay popular and garner votes at election
time, "Amen, Brother Steve! It ceases to amaze me how these characters
can be so blatantly crooked and yet still manage to win the vote. It
just blows me away. I swear Paris Hilton could be the next mayor of Las
Vegas just by saying 'Vote for me, I'm Hot!'"
But maybe it was summed up best by Johnny Gunn in Sunday's Nevada
when he wrote, "It seems that corruption is a way of life
in Clark County, that a mayor suggesting to nine-year-old fourth
graders that gin is the answer to all ills, and that being a 'known
associate of mobsters' isn't something that needs clarification at the
City Council Table. It doesn't have to be that way, but if the
general population doesn't care, why should law enforcement?"
Maybe it all comes down to sanity. Either Goodman is nuts, or I am for
At least I never endorsed
to forth graders, or said
"I'm going to run the city the way I want to run the city." "I will not
let anyone tell me how to run the city."
That's probably it. He thinks I'm trying to tell him how to run HIS
city! How dare I!
Nonetheless, if this keeps up, and the citizens of this great city
protest, thugs will be allowed to continue skimming all the money from
the Crazy Horse Too, Kirk Henry will get zilch, and Paris Hilton's
chances of becoming Mayor of Las Vegas are getting better each day.
If I could
Goodman how to
city, I would say to
immediately shut down the Crazy Horse
before anyone else is maimed or killed and the taxpayers are exposed to
liability for the city council's cowardice. I would also suggest that
the attorneys for Mr. Henry place an immediate Attachment
on all of Rick Rizzolo's assets which amount to more
than the money he owes Kirk for breaking his neck.
Happiest Mayor in the World
" would never listen to a poor sucker
Perhaps a reader put it
best: "So now we
know Oscar has a big nose and a big
toe... well, two out of three ain't bad!" .
* If you would like to receive Steve's frequent E-Briefs about Las Vegas'
scandals, click here: Steve Miller's Las Vegas E-Briefs
Copyright © Steve Miller
email Steve Miller at: Stevemiller4lv@aol.com