Rizzolo's Godson Makes A Video
The cause is noble, but
the messenger isn't
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
August 3, 2009
Click on center image to view an amazing video
LAS VEGAS - Convicted racketeer
"Mini-Me" surfaced this week on YouTube.
Topless club owner Rick Belcastro,
Rizzolo's godson, produced professional quality videos showing him throwing
handfuls of $100 bills at swimmers in a Strip hotel pool (at
4:20 into video), smoking a big cigar, talking like a Goodfella, and
calling his competitors "jack offs" and "wannabe wise guys." Then he warns
Vegas tourists how to avoid getting ripped off by local cabbies!
In contrast, Belcastro's
godfather has been keeping a lower profile than usual lately because he's
being sued for $9 million by Kirk
Henry, a Kansas tourist who was rendered a quadripoligic at Rizzolo's
now-defunct Crazy Horse Too after he disputed an $88 bar tab. Rizzolo agreed
to pay Henry in exchange for a light federal prison sentence, but welched
on the deal as soon as he was let out in 2008. The ex-con also owes an
additional $18 million to the IRS and others, but they're having a hard
time collecting because Rizzolo put together a sham
divorce and gave his fortune to his wife who promptly hid
it off shore.
After his release, Rizzolo
tried to return to his extravagant lifestyle that includes entertaining
numerous underworld figures, and schmoozing government stooges many of
whom Rizzolo wined,
dined, and paid off in cash and political campaign contributions for
turning their backs on his criminal activities. However, his every move
is being monitored and his habit of throwing around cash has infuriated
his creditors, so he's rarely seen these days -- at least not in LV. At
one time, Rizzolo's stooges included the ex-Orange
County Sheriff, prominent
Nevada judges, city politicians,
attorneys, many of whom -- I suspect -- are now on the payroll of another
cash-throwing club owner very close to Rizzolo.
Lombardo during happier times Rizzolo
Mike Carona Rizzolo and Elias
Meanwhile, Rizzolo's pride
and joy Rick Belcastro is addicted to uploading videos of himself talking
smack and partying like his mentor.
Sources report that Belcastro,
the purported owner of Bada Bing men's club, is a well educated businessman
who also manages
the doormen at several Strip resorts, and those doormen are instructed
to only recommend his bar to casino patrons and offer a free ride.
Belcastro is also suspected of having a hidden interest in a limo company
that operates black shuttle buses often seen unloading a dozen patrons
at a time in front of Bada Bing.
The buses and limos purportedly
operated by Belcastro are allowed to cut in front of competing vehicles
at certain Strip hotels where he allegedly has doormen on his payroll.
This has caused fist fights between selected limo drivers and the cabbies
who were cut off when certain doormen summon a certain company's stretch
limos and vans to the front of the line to pick up strip club, massage
parlor, and swinger's
This is what Belcastro alludes
to in his video when he brags he doesn't need cabs because "good people"
at the hotels send him customers.
The feds are looking into
hundreds of millions per year in unreported cash being exchanged between
drivers, at least one limo company owner, dozens of doormen, and the extorted
adult businesses. The years-old racket involves targeted businesses being
forced to bribe drivers up to $100 per passenger delivered to their door,
or be boycotted. Doormen, drivers, and transportation company owners share
in the bounty, while tourists are gouged to cover the extra unreported
expense of doing business in modern day Vegas.
On June 12, 2009, LV Review-Journal
columnist John L. Smith wrote:
"Behind the scenes, for weeks IRS criminal investigation agents have been
looking into the multimillion-dollar cash-for-customers business going
on between local strip clubs and hundreds of cab and limousine drivers.
Now the IRS is taking its inquiry to the next level by sending out 'request
for production of information' letters to some local clubs. One missive
dated June 10 states in part, 'This letter is a request for you to provide
any and all records, documents, and other information in your possession,
or within your control, relating to payments made to cab and limo drivers
from (club name redacted) for the years 2004 to the present.' "
On June 5, one week before
Smith's column, Belcastro shot the video showing him throwing $100 bills
into the swimming pool. Five weeks after Smith's column, Belcastro in his
July 20 video bragged about his non-involvement in cabbie payoffs. The
timing of both videos is sure to draw the attention of the IRS, but possibly
not in the way Belcastro intended.
Rizzolo's now-shuttered topless
bar was the first to benefit from the doorman/transportation driver scam.
According to sources, Belcastro started his career by controlling the hiring
of doormen at several Strip hotels, then he allegedly bought into a limo
company. His fortune skyrocketed when those limos began delivering passengers
exclusively to the Crazy Horse Too.
Ghosts of Crazy Horse Too (Photos taken July 6, 2008, one year after its
The owner of the suspect
limo company contacted INSIDE VEGAS to deny Belcastro was/is his silent
partner, but further information recently surfaced involving the alleged
connection. (Notice the big black bus in front of Bada Bing shown on several
of Belcastro's videos.) If my sources are correct, Belcastro's involvement
in the highly regulated transportation industry is not registered with
the Nevada Transportation Authority as required by law.
In December 1998, Rizzolo,
with the help of a crooked city councilman, called club owners together
for a Summit
Meeting to supposedly try to persuade them to stop paying off transportation
drivers. They met at the former Pizzeria Uno on West Sahara and made a
pact that all complied with until seven months later when business fell
off at the Crazy Horse and Rizzolo was the first to re-initiate the practice.
Since then, it's estimated that over a billion unreported dollars have
When it was revealed through
an undercover investigation by former KVBC TV investigative reporter
Darcy Spears that Rizzolo was again paying off transportation drivers,
the other clubs immediately resumed the illegal practice, and it's continued
to escalate to the present day full fledged extortion racket. On September
5, 2007, a local business owner who depends on attracting tourists to his
off-Strip location, wrote a two
page letter to the Fraud Division of the Internal Revenue Service.
In June 2009, INSIDE VEGAS obtained and published
an exclusive copy of the redacted letter, and the federal government investigation
began weeks later.
the Nevada Taxi Authority turned their backs saying it was up to the Las
Vegas City Council and Clark County Commission to enforce against the privileged
business license holders who violate the city, county, and state laws.
Mayor Oscar Goodman and his City Council did nothing, possibly based on
a $40,000 campaign contribution
Goodman took from Rizzolo. The then-governor vetoed legislation meant to
stop the practice after hundreds
of cabs blocked the Strip and threatened to shut down the airport.
Company owners did nothing,
even after their property was used without permission. Many owners consider
the pay offs as salary supplements so they can avoid having to pay their
often non-citizen drivers a living wage and benefits.
Serious conflicts have occurred
after certain limos were summoned out of order in the queue and called
to the front of the line. For this reason, some cab drivers are protesting
the doormen's actions by boycotting Belcastro's club inspiring his latest
video and name calling, while a certain group of limo drivers get all the
fares to extorted businesses and their transportation company bosses split
the money with doormen, and give the drivers a small cut.
And we are asked to believe
that only one club, Bada Bing, is not in on the scam?
It's also believed that the
management of hotels where the involved doormen work are not aware of what
is going on, or are looking the other way. One of the biggest rumors floating
around Sin City is that Rick Belcastro's sister is the "Whale lady" at
several Strip hotels. If true, being in such a position would grant her
special privileges such as hiring her brother to run the front doors. Whale
hosts draw the million dollar credit line players and provide them with
anything they desire to keep them playing. In other words, casinos are
known do anything they must -- legal or illegal -- to keep their whales
Belcastro's godfather is
whale and is well known at the casinos where Belcastro's sister is
alleged to work. He's also rumored to have a hidden interest in Bada Bing,
though Belcastro in his latest video -- three times -- exclaims loudly
that he is the owner! Rizzolo is also suspected of stashing large
sums of cash in casino cage safety deposit boxes, something that inspired
Kirk Henry's attorneys to subpoena safe deposit box access records from
several Strip hotels.
For his being able to rise
almost instantly from humble hotel doorman to Vegas strip club mogul and
articulate YouTube spoksman for our tourist industry, Rick Rizzolo deserves
credit for teaching his "Mini-Me" well. But I hope no one else suffers
the fate of Kirk Henry based on his mentoring.
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