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Inside Vegas - Steve Miller

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:

The boys are back in town
But things aren't going their way

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
November 24, 2008

LAS VEGAS - So much for keeping a low profile!

Reputed Bonnano mob soldier Vinny Faraci (bottom center) was part of the notorious crew that ran the now defunct Crazy Horse Too strip joint. During his tenure, dozens of club patrons were beaten and robbed.

So many complaints were filed with local authorities -- and ignored -- that the feds finally had to step in and prosecute Vinny and 15 of his henchmen for various felonies. Faraci landed in the federal penitentiary for his crimes, and the Crazy Horse was seized by the federal government.

Despite being a twice convicted felon, Faraci's special management talents remain in high demand in our local strip club industry. Three months after his January 24, 2007 sentencing, Vinny made every effort to obtain a key employee license from the Clark County Commission so that he could run a club called Eden when he got out of jail.

                              VINCENT FARACI      18408-053      53-White-M       11-30-2007      RELEASED

Faraci was trying to abide by the arbitrary liquor licensing laws of Clark County -- but he didn't have much time to file his application before going to jail. Just nine weeks before he was scheduled to report to prison, David Chesnoff, the law partner of LV Mayor Oscar Goodman, rushed to present the county liquor and gaming licensing board with Vincent Faraci's formal application seeking "determination of suitability."

It looked like a done deal until INSIDE VEGAS received a call from a county business license official who asked not to be named. I revealed the scam, and Chesnoff swiftly withdrew Faraci's application. On April 30, 2007, published "Faraci Secretly Applies for a County Liquor License" that quoted Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins stating; "Someone tried to pull a fast one." The column also quoted the unnamed business license official stating; "Faraci had a high powered attorney who wanted it on the consent agenda" so the item could be passed along with hundreds of others in one vote without discussion.

But Vinny didn't flinch in the face of defeat.

After his release from prison five months later, Eden opened with Vinny and his wife Phyllis firmly in charge. License or not, the two time felon was running the club, and police and county officials looked the other way.

An INSIDE VEGAS investigator confirmed Faraci's involvement by applying for a job. When the investigator entered the club one afternoon, she was directed to Phyllis Faraci who did the initial interview. Phyllis then asked our source to return at 9 PM to talk to Vinny. The investigator later met with Mr. Faraci who took her application and said he would call her when there was an opening. However, Eden closed shortly thereafter. Hard times, or possibly higher ambition caused Faraci to seek  employment elsewhere.

In the meantime, the 26,000 square foot gentleman's club first known as Jaguars; then Scores; now Rick's Cabaret was looking for a manager. Who better than Vinny Faraci?

But Rick's Cabaret is owned by a company traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and would face much greater scrutiny than did Eden if it hired a man with Faraci's baggage.

On November 13, investigative reporters at the Las Vegas Review Journal  and LV Sun raced to tell the Faraci/Rick's Cabaret story with the headlines; "Club operator hires reputed mob figure;" and "Hire brings baggage to strip joint seeking permit."

On November 19 after all the negative publicity, the Review-Journal reported, "Strip club owners, 'Vinny' part ways."

Even David Chesnoff (on right with law partners Gardner Jolly and Oscar Goodman) and his connections to the mayor and Senator Harry Read couldn't help Vinny get the Rick's Cabaret job.

But that's not the way it was before Vinny's most recent stay in prison. For over a decade, local authorities including District Attorney David Roger, ignored Faraci's propensity for violence.

On July 26, 2004, the INSIDE VEGAS headline read; "Vegas police discourage couple from filing crime report against protected topless bar. Hapless tourist accidentally dissed a 'made man' -- then met our city's finest."

The column told the story of a San Diego tourist named Eddie (last name withheld by request) who dared complain that his girl friend had been mistreated while the couple was visiting the Crazy Horse Too. Eddie demanded to see the manager who at the time was Faraci. According to witnesses, that's all it took to inspire a vicious beating that left Eddie with multiple cuts, a sprained knee, and a concussion.

Though Eddie and his girlfriend pressed charges, DA Roger did not prosecute Faraci and his bouncers.

There's a loose but fascinating connection between U.S. Senator Harry Reid, attorney David Chesnoff, attorney Jay Brown, Federal Court Judge Kent Dawson, Mayor Oscar Goodman, and Vinny Faraci.

Judge Dawson gave Faraci the most lenient sentence possible. Faraci was represented by Chesnoff who is Mayor Goodman's law partner. Goodman has another law partner named Jay Brown who is United States Senator Harry Reid's business partner in a very questionable land deal. Goodman and Brown were once the Crazy Horse Too's corporate agents.

Jay Brown (pictured on left with Mike Signorelli) represented a man who was purportedly buying the Crazy Horse from its former owner Rick Rizzolo who was also a Goodman Law Firm client. The deal fell through, but Brown's appearance before the city council put his Crazy Horse/Harry Reid connections in the spotlight.

Coincidentally, Brown's business partner Senator Harry Reid appointed Judge Kent Dawson to the Federal Bench for life even though the highest office Dawson ever achieved was Justice of the Peace in Henderson, Nevada. Judge Dawson's brother John was the attorney who arranged a questionable asset protection scheme for Rizzolo after he was ordered to pay over $28 million in back taxes and other penalties by the Federal Court. John Dawson is also the current corporate agent for the Crazy Horse Too, and his law partners at Lionel, Sawyer, and Collins include two of Senator Reid's sons. So far with John Dawson's help, Rizzolo and his ex-wife have gotten away with not paying one dime of their obligations, and their Dawson connections have not been reported in any local newspaper.

Not once during Faraci's trial did Judge Dawson disclose that his brother is the Crazy Horse Too's corporate resident agent, or that his brother arranged to hide the Rizzolo's assets from forfeiture, or that he was appointed to the Federal Bench by a US Senator who is the business partner of Jay Brown who is the law partner of David Chesnoff who represented Faraci at trial.

The son of reputed Bonanno crime family captain "Johnny Green" Faraci of New York, Vinny worked at the Crazy Horse during the years patrons were beaten for not signing inflated credit card tabs. Before his most recent conviction for tax evasion, Faraci had a felony mail fraud conviction on his record, but that didn't bear on his latest sentence.

The weakest link in this chain of justice is Judge Dawson who put Faraci away for only five months. This inspired Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith to write; "Although the New York Crime Commission confirmed Faraci's mob status, U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson said the defendant's underworld fraternal order had no bearing on his decision to sentence Faraci to just 10 months in jail with five of that to be served in a halfway house. He received a wrist slap and no mob jacket. If, as Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Johnson contended at his January sentencing, Faraci condoned the occasional vicious beating at the club, the judge apparently wasn't much impressed."
Full docket text for document 272:
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS - Sentencing and Disposition as to Vincent Faraci held on 1/24/2007 before Judge Kent J. Dawson. Crtrm Administrator: Judy Harris; AUSA: Eric Johnson; Def Counsel: David Chesnoff; USPO: Lucille Monterde & Joel Nelson; Court Reporter/FTR #: Felicia Zabin, Crt. Rprtr.; Time of Hearing: 9:10 a.m.; Defendant is present. Sentence is imposed as to count(s) Two of the Superseding Criminal Information. The sentence imposed is a split sentence, 5 months incarceration and 5 months of home confinement with electronic monitoring paid by the defendant. Defendant is advised of right to file an appeal. Defendant is released on current terms and conditions until the BOP makes it's designation. IT IS ORDERED the defendant shall report in person to the designated facility by 12:00 Noon on 7/2/07 (SEE JUDGMENT). (no image attached) (JJH)

The judge give Faraci a slap on the wrist after Chesnoff fought for house arrest saying Faraci is "engaged in a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife. If Faraci is incarcerated for a lengthy period of time, his wife might be granted full custody and take the children out of state."

However, Chesnoff neglected to mention that Faraci's ex-wife was then married to Rick Rizzolo's criminal defense attorney Tony Sgro, and Sgro would probably not have approved of his new wife moving to another state.

Judge Dawson appeared overly sympathetic to Faraci, then dutifully lightened his sentence. But the judge wasn't through coddling him. Judge Dawson even gave Vinny a pass to go to the beach while he was serving his sentence:

I may be overly sensitive, but it seems all too incestuous that a judge would give leniency and a beach pass to a mobbed-up defendant who was represented by the law partner of the business partner of the U.S. Senator who appointed him to the bench for life!

And, Senator Reid's son Rory is the Chairman of the Clark County Commission that almost granted Faraci a liquor license while he was serving his sentence, but that's not important.

What is important is that the boys aren't doing that well. While Vinny is back from Cabo and looking for work in Vegas, his friend Rick Rizzolo's brother Ralph obviously tried to commit suicide last September by crashing his Mercedes into the side of the Crazy Horse Too building. And Rick Rizzolo's son Dominic will be sentenced on January 14, 2009 for stabbing a man during a botched extortion attempt.

In Ralph's case, the District Attorney did not investigate even though he caused damage to federal property, and in Dominic's case, the DA is letting him off on a plea bargain.

Yes, the boys are back in town, but maybe they'd rather be somewhere else.

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