Motion Denied. Racketeering charge against Rizzolo sticks

Las Vegas Tribune
September 26, 2001
By Steve Miller

On July 12, 2000, Frederick Rizzolo, owner of the Crazy Horse Too topless club, was accused of "Conspiracy, Bribery, Pandering, and Sales of Illegal Drugs" in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) lawsuit brought by his neighbor Buffalo Jim Barrier.

Barrier brought suit after an unsuccessful attempt was made to evict his two businesses to make way for the expansion of the topless club. Barrier owns an auto repair shop and a wrestling school that abut both sides of the topless club.

On September 14, following arguments by counsel, Clark County District Court Judge Nancy M. Saitta denied Rizzolo's motion to dismiss the Conspiracy/Civil Rico Causes/for Evidentiary Hearing/Rule 11 Sanctions clearing the way for the case to proceed.

This in the wake of another of Rizzolo's motions being denied by the same judge in an unrelated case assigned to her court.

The family of Scott David Fau brought a wrongful death action after he was found beaten to death next to railroad tracks behind the Crazy Horse on Aug. 4, 1995. Witnesses reported seeing him being severely beaten by Rizzolo's employees in the parking lot after he was ejected from the club. The case is scheduled for trial by jury on March 18, 2002.

In an unrelated event, Thursday, September 20, Las Vegas fire and rescue units responded to reports that a man was lying unconscious in front of the Crazy Horse Too. Officials would not answer questions other than to say a man had been "beat up." At press time, the man's condition and identity are unknown.

Barrier's racketeering complaint alleges: "Sometime prior to April 14, 2000, said Defendant, acting through the conspiracy alleged herein above devised a scheme and artifice to deprive Plaintiff of his leasehold interest in and to the property located at 2480 Industrial Road, Las Vegas, Nevada, by attempting to evict Plaintiff through illegal and improper means and through a court proceeding without legal foundation. As alleged herein above, such actions and acts on the part of all Defendants, was for an unlawful and ulterior purpose of creating additional space for the expansion of the enterprise known as the Crazy Horse Too."

Judge Nancy Oesterle on April 3 dismissed the eviction action brought by Barrier’s landlord Renata Schiff. Barrier then dismissed Schiff from being a third party defendant in his RICO lawsuit, but continued with his action against Rizzolo.

After stories began appearing in the Las Vegas Tribune about the RICO action, Rizzolo filed libel suits against Barrier, this reporter, and the Tribune. He is being represented by attorneys Dean Patti and Tony Sgro. Attorney Gus Flangas represents Jim Barrier. Attorney Chris Rasmussen represents the Las Vegas Tribune.

The libel case against the Tribune is the third concurrent court action involving Frederick Rizzolo. By coincidence, this case has also been assigned to Judge Nancy M. Saitta.

Barrier's complaint alleges that Rizzolo has prepared written architectural drawings depicting his expansion into Barrier’s leaseholds. The topless club allegedly needs Barrier's space for a new entrance within the next eighteen months when the Nevada Department of Transportation is scheduled to widen Industrial Road taking the existing club's entrance and parking spaces.

Barrier reports that he has never received an offer from Rizzolo to buy out his leaseholds though he says he would be willing to negotiate so the nightclub could expand into his space. Otherwise, Barrier has eight years left on his leases and steadfastly contends that he will stay put.

When asked how he feels about his battle, Barrier, a former professional wrestler, said "I'm making a decent living, but the only ones getting rich off all this whining are the lawyers."

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