COMMENTARY: Steve Miller
Las Vegas Tribune
July 3, 2002


I was once accused of being a megalomaniac by Las Vegas Sun megalomaniac Brian Greenspun. In doing so, young Brian proved that "It takes one to know one." Well, he was right. At the time while serving as a City Councilman, I had almost unlimited power to use and/or abuse my clout especially when it came to giving orders to staff members at City Hall.

The Las Vegas Tribune has been running a series of articles about obvious interference by city officials in the quest of a politically connected topless bar owner to expand his business at the expense of neighboring tenants.

Mayor Oscar Goodman denies having anything to do with the subject though he, in a former life, was the criminal defense attorney for a number of friends of the bar owner. That leaves only one person on the Tenth Floor of City Hall that bears suspicion; Councilman Mike McDonald.

You may recall that McDonald only last year was discovered living rent-free in a half million dollar Canyon Gate Villa owned by one of the topless bar owner's business associates and one of Goodman's former clients. When the Tribune exposed the set up, McDonald immediately found new digs.

Now, Las Vegas Fire Department personnel and Parking Enforcement officers are being accused of collaborating with the bar owner to harass his next door neighbor - someone that has nine years remaining on his lease - to get the Hell out and make way for a new and improved topless bar.

As a former Councilman, I can personally attest that the moguls on the Tenth Floor of City Hall have surreal clout over the subordinates working on the floors below. I should know because I more than once used that clout to get my way - but for the right reasons.

Remember when the old bus system was found to be skimming profits from the Strip route? That was proven with evidence gathered by city Fire Inspectors who I instructed to covertly ride the buses with a clicker in their pocket to count the actual amount of passengers to later be compared with the now defunct company's falsified records.

Remember when the Las Vegas Housing Authority was found cheating elderly people by padding their rents? That was proven by evidence provided by Housing Authority employees I instructed to smuggle altered HUD Form 50058's out of the Tenth Street office.

Remember when the former Mayor and City Manager were discovered being business partners in a land deal? That was proven by evidence provided when I ordered a City Attorney to bring confidential depositions to my Tenth Floor office.

On all three occasions, city employees cooperated with my demands without questioning my motive or authority. I believe this is happening again at the behest of either a Councilman or the Mayor - but this time for the wrong reasons.

Since 1976, Allstate Auto has leased space in the Industrial Road complex that also houses the Crazy Horse topless bar. For 26 years, a Fire Lane existed across the alley from the auto repair shop. Then, on the first day a new owner took control of the center, the Fire Lane was moved across the alley into the auto shop's previous parking area. Now, auto shop customers are forced to park 100 feet away. That took clout!

The topless bar wants the auto shop to move out even though the shop has nine years remaining on its lease and only pays forty-three cents per foot for the space - a rent that is less than half current market rate. The scheme is obviously to land lock the auto shop to cause it to move for free so the bar can expand cheaply.

The only problem is that the owner of the bar had no idea who he was dealing with when he started his crusade.

James "Buffalo Jim" Barrier is a former pro wrestler. He's known to be the most stubborn man in all of Las Vegas. He has not and will not back down one inch for anyone, even for someone known to be an associate of organized crime.

This story will not go away. As competitors open up new mega-gentleman's clubs, and as time approaches for Industrial Rd. to be widened to six lanes - a project that will shave the front entrance off the Crazy Horse along with most of its' parking spaces under the Sahara overpass, the bar owner's desperation to get rid of Barrier seems to be intensifying. Meanwhile, Barrier's auto shop customers are staying put and keeping their hero in business even though they are inconvenienced.

Buffalo won't budge. He has filed a Harassment lawsuit against his well-connected neighbor/landlord and has become proactive with the help of Gus Flangas, a local attorney with a perfect track record of success in court actions.

Even with all the clout a City Councilman or Mayor can muster at City Hall to move a Fire Lane to where it doesn't belong, Buffalo won't budge. He's even calling for help from some of his friends including Goldberg, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Hulk Hogan to publicize his plight. Vince McMahon of the WWF is even stepping into the ring. This is allegedly the kind of publicity a mobbed-up topless bar owner doesn't need.

Before this is over, the bout between the megalomaniac Buffalo and the megalomaniac Crazy Horse may go down in local history as the Battle of the Century!

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