Conflicting Opinions
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
March 10, 2003

"Right now, I'm going to urge all able-bodied constituents to go out and have a lap dance," - Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, LV Review Journal, November 18, 2001

LAS VEGAS - On March 3, 2003, Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass denied a Motion to stay progress in an Attempted Murder trial brought against the Crazy Horse Too topless bar in Las Vegas and its purported owner Frederick "Rick" Rizzolo.

The Defendant's attorney unsuccessfully argued that because there is an on-going federal criminal investigation of his client, and that he cannot get documents from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to prepare his defense, the court should temporarily stop the proceedings.

In the meantime, Kansas resident Kirk Henry, a quadriplegic who is confined to an electric wheelchair after having his neck broken on September 20, 2001 by Crazy Horse employees in a dispute over an $88 bar tab, anxiously awaits his day in court. Henry's attorneys pleaded that their client's failing health demands that he be given a speedy trial.

To Rizzolo's dismay, Judge Glass agreed with Henry's attorneys and soundly Denied the politically influential bar owner's Motion to stay, and promptly scheduled a trial by jury defiantly stating, "This trial will be number one on the stack!"

Feb. 21, 2003, LV Mayor Oscar Goodman meets with author in middle of the street

In stark contrast to Judge Glass and her expedited action, on October 25, 2001, shortly after Kirk Henry's beating, I received a call from Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman summoning me to his City Hall office. There he began the conversation by stating "I'm not doing Joey Cusumano any favors," though I did not bring up Mr. Cusumano's name.

The Mayor then asked me how many Show Cause Hearings against liquor serving establishments I had scheduled during the time I served on the Vegas City Council. I told him three. He asked what they were for. I told him that one was for serving minors, one for selling dope, and another for a bar owner who regularly beat up his patrons. He then ask how many police calls did it take to inspire me. I said that I would bring a liquor bar up on a Show Cause if it had recorded several dozen police responses in a year.

Mayor Goodman then said he was "considering" bringing the Crazy Horse Too up on a Show Cause. I applauded him for saying such a thing since the topless bar had on its record 737 police responses including 9 assaults and 6 batteries involving club employees in less than a three year period.

Following that meeting, Goodman took no action against the Crazy Horse and the violence continued unabated. Then, instead of bringing the trouble plagued bar before the council to defend its privileged license, Goodman brought three minority owned markets located in the predominantly black area of town up on Show Cause Hearings. Each business had only a small percentage of the police responses of the Crazy Horse, nonetheless Goodman revoked all three's liquor licenses.

On July 22, 2002, Goodman shocked me when he began doing obvious favors for Rizzolo. Favors such as sponsoring a custom made ordinance to permit the Crazy Horse to expand. Soon thereafter, the Mayor protested a county ordinance banning teenage strippers saying, "There's no prostitution taking place (at the city clubs) according to Metro Police, and if there was, they should arrest them, not make some big fuss as to what some 18-year-old girl is doing to make living." His action mainly benefited the Crazy Horse.

Following that, Goodman granted Al Rapuano a license to become a manager at the Crazy Horse even though Randall Sayre, the Nevada Gaming Control Board Chief of Investigations, told the council, "It's no secret that we have concerns with some of the associations that he has," referring to Rapuano's close association with Nevada Black Book member Joey Cusumano and others. Goodman ignored Sayre's concerns.

Then a Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) official surfaced with family ties to the Crazy Horse. The official, Tony Letizia, is the uncle of Goodman's campaign manager Tom Letizia. Tom moonlights as the PR Director of the Crazy Horse. Last month an NDOT plan surfaced that showed a tax payer funded turn lane, driveway, and traffic signal into the Crazy Horse. Goodman said nothing. The plan also indicated that eminent domain would be used to remove a long term tenant who is blocking Rizzolo's expansion plan. Goodman has often said the city would not use eminent domain to remove the business, but his campaign manager's uncle is obviously poised to do the deed if Goodman wants to keep his hands clean.

On Friday, February 21, the day following a federal raid of the topless bar that was carried out by 80 FBI and IRS agents, Goodman showed up on my doorstep trying to explain why he has not yet brought the Crazy Horse up on a Show Cause. He told me that he could not do so during a federal investigation. I told him his explanation was "Too little, too late." That many people had been injured since we met in 2001, and he is personally responsible.

I doubt he would have given the same explanation to Judge Glass before she did the opposite, and expedited a civil trial against Rizzolo. Goodman was wrong when he used the excuse of the federal investigation to stall taking action against his obvious friend, Rick Rizzolo. Incidentally, Joey Cusumano was one of former criminal defense attorney Oscar Goodman's biggest clients, and Rizzolo has often professed that Joey is his "best friend in the world." (Oscar, don't you see the "Conflict of Interest?")

Oscar's campaign manager works for Rizzolo. Oscar was the criminal defense attorney for Cusumano and Joey "the clown" Lombardo, brother of another of Rizzolo's managers, Rocco Lombardo. Oscar did not disclose these facts before voting to benefit Rizzolo.

Now Mayor Goodman is trying to peddle the theory that its too late for him to schedule a Show Cause Hearing that would certainly lead to the closing of his friend's business. If Oscar truly wanted to stop the violence, he should have taken action over a year ago, but he didn't and the bloodshed continues.

The aborted Show Cause Hearing and the Henry case are both civil actions. The federal investigation against Rizzolo is a criminal action. One has nothing to do with the other as was just proven by the decision of Judge Glass. Furthermore, now that the Mayor has twice acknowledged the need for the city to take action -  then shirked his responsibility - Vegas taxpayers could be exposed to civil liability in the event someone else is maimed or killed at the Crazy Horse. As a lawyer, he is more than aware of this fact.

Kirk Henry's wife Amy, on December 26, 2002, told a national TV audience: "I canít understand what kind of city or state would allow a place like this to remain in business."

Evidently, the Mayor of our kind of city was not paying attention.

Copyright © Steve Miller