City Enforcing Parking on Private Property
Political Favoritism Charged
  City Enforces Fire Lane During Day    Valet Parks Cars in Fire Lane at Night

© Copyright Las Vegas Tribune, Inc.
July 3, 2002
By Steve Miller

LAS VEGAS – Since May 1, the Industrial Road shopping center that houses the Crazy Horse Too topless bar and Allstate Auto and Marine repair has a new owner. The center is also suddenly being patrolled twice-daily by the City of Las Vegas Parking Enforcement Detail.

James "Buffalo Jim" Barrier, the owner of Allstate Auto, has done business in the center since 1976. He claims that his new landlord, topless bar owner Frederick "Rick" Rizzolo, recently set up a "phony Fire Lane" adjacent to his garage to harass his customers in order to make him move out for free. Barrier has nine years remaining on his lease and claims that Rizzolo will soon need his space because the Nevada Department of Transportation has announced plans to widen Industrial Rd. and take the Crazy Horse’s front entrance and much of its parking.

"The city is ticketing my customers during the day and letting Crazy Horse valets park cars in the same space at night. I call that selective enforcement," said Barrier on Tuesday following the second visit that day by Parking Enforcement officer T. Young to the center. Barrier and several witnesses told the Tribune that no other cars are ticketed in the center, just those belonging to Allstate customers.

"Officer Young asked me if I was going into the Crazy Horse? When I told him I was there to get my truck fixed, he threatened me with a ticket if I didn’t move," said a regular Allstate customer.

"With respect to Fire Zones, we are authorized to go onto private property without invitation if it happens to be a public safety issue. You can also contact the Fire Marshall to get a different perspective," said Lt. Karen Coyne of City Parking Enforcement. The Tribune did contact the Fire Marshall on two occasions when cars were photographed being parked in the Fire Zone by Crazy Horse valets. The reporter was twice told to contact "Security at the Crazy Horse" to remedy the problem.

When asked why City Parking Enforcement was only ticketing during the day when few patrons are in the bar and not ticketing at night when up to a thousand people are present, Lt. Coyne responded, "Unfortunately, our hours of operation end at 8 PM."

After the Tribune E-mailed Lt. Coyne photos of valet parked cars in the Fire Lane after 8 PM, she responded, "Maybe it would be better for us to make contact with the management or ownership if the problem is occurring at night. There certainly is more of an issue relating to this problem at night than there is during the day." Coyne then said she would contact the Tribune after she talked to Crazy Horse management about the problem.

Parking Enforcement does not initiate new patrols on private property but does respond to requests for enforcement of Fire Lanes on private property when made by the Las Vegas Fire Department, and that is what occurred in this instance according to Coyne.

Barrier claims that the Fire Zone is arbitrary and was placed there on May 1, as a political favor by "someone on the Tenth Floor of City Hall."

Barrier bases his political favor claim on Rizzolo’s close friendship with Councilman Michael McDonald and on another alliance Rizzolo may indirectly have with Mayor Oscar Goodman.

McDonald was found guilty by the City of Las Vegas Ethics Review Board on Nov. 8, 2000, of trying to kill a liquor license application being sought by one of Rizzolo’s competitors. Also, one of Rizzolo’s business associates often used Oscar Goodman as his criminal defense attorney before Goodman was elected Mayor, however, Goodman has denied doing Rizzolo favors based on this association.

Barrier, on June 19, filed a multi-million dollar harassment lawsuit against Rizzolo claiming unfair business practices. Mr. Rizzolo did not return repeated calls from the Tribune.

Reporter Steve Miller is a former Las Vegas City Councilman