Las Vegas Tribune

June 14, 1999

By Steve Miller

McDonald's Mafia

Several startling revelations about Councilman Michael McDonald were first made public in the Las Vegas Tribune before and during the recent city elections.

Councilman McDonald's close friendship with Crazy Horse Too owner Rick Rizzolo became a touchy issue especially when it became obvious that Rizzolo was allowed to stealthily expand his bar by 6000 square feet without adequate parking and before he obtained the required permits. Many suspected that his friendship with the councilman greased the skids through this messy situation since McDonald and his friends are known to be regulars at the topless bar, and outgoing Mayor Jan Jones has admitted to being a regular guest at parties thrown by Rizzolo.

Because of the Crazy Horse Too's overflow parking taking curbside spaces from local residents, citizens of nearby Meadows Village recently filed a lawsuit against the city council for allowing the expansion -- after the fact -- and without requiring an increase in on-premise parking. Unfortunately, the citizens of Las Vegas will have to pay to defend the city's questionable actions.

Then many will recall when McDonald voted to gift politically connected developer Billy Walters 160 acres of publicly owned golf course land for the measly sum of $6,000 per acre when adjacent parcels were going for as much as $130,000 per acre. McDonald's excuse was that he needed the money to build more parks. Meanwhile he did not utter one peep at the Convention and Visitors Authority meetings when one million dollars per year was given to the privately owned Fremont St. Experience which is disturbingly designated as a "Park."

McDonald also voted to bequest the city owned Nature Park to Billy Walters for another classy golf course. Now what could have been a beautiful 80-acre public park in impoverished Ward Three is surrounded by a barbed wire fence and is off limits for the enjoyment of local children. Ward Three councilman Gary Reese also dutifully voted in lockstep to convert Nature Park.

It was obvious to many that for McDonald to continue to do obvious favors for his well heeled friends, he would need to continue maintaining control over at least two of the council votes to come out on top each time he was needed.

When upstart politician Nevada Stupak entered the scene, his presence threatened to scuttle McDonald's Chicago style regime. Chicago style politics are exemplified by taking care of moneyed friends while filling in the potholes to look effective to constituents.

Ward Three incumbent councilman Gary Reese faced a viable challenger in Nevada Stupak. The challenger came equipped with an amiable persona, a well-known family name, money, a prestigious college education, and a cadre of youthful supporters who were willing to wear out shoe leather to get him elected. He also gained the support and endorsements of two of the five candidates in the primary election; college professor Harvey Munford and former boxing trainer Doc Brodus. Munford and Brodus had together carried the majority of votes from the Westside section of Ward Three in the primary.

Reese desperately needed help and McDonald needed Reese's unquestioning loyalty for the next four years if his power was to continue swelling. Therefore many believe that an unholy alliance between McDonald and Reese was formed.

McDonald ordered his gang to buttress Reese's lackluster campaign. After squandering over a half million dollars, the klutzy barber barely won by 139 votes in contrast to Stupak's $60,000 door to door campaign. Reese's victory was also very suspect in that Stupak enjoyed massive support in the Afro American community thanks to Munford and Brodus, but the Sequoia Pacific voting machine's results mysteriously showed that Reese took the Westside by a landslide.

Stupak has discussed the possibility of paying $5,000 for a recount, but he should also realize that an accurate recount is impossible because of the present voting machine's lack of a paper ballot back up trail.

With Michael McDonald's help, Las Vegas will again be subjected to another 4 years of Gary Reese's incompetence and McDonald is expected to enjoy the indebtedness and subservience of Reese for his efforts. Meanwhile Mayor elect Oscar Goodman is looking to build a coalition on the council. This will be a monumental task in light of "McDonald/Reese," and the lack of gumption and independence heretofore shown by high IQ councilman Larry Brown. This threesome is soon to be joined by a replacement for outgoing Ward Two councilman Arnie Adamsen along with two new councilmembers to be chosen by the present council.

If these new councilmembers are the exclusive choices of "McDonald/Reese," et al., then Oscar will find it tough going when he begins his quest to accomplish his stated goals -- unless he chooses to barter with McDonald's Mafia.