On September 20, 2001, Kansas resident Kirk Henry allegedly had his neck broken by a bouncer at the Crazy Horse Too topless bar, 2476 Industrial Rd. On October 2, 2001, Henry sued the Crazy Horse and its’ owner, Frederick "Rick" Rizzolo, for Attempted Murder. The case was assigned to Clark County District Court Judge Jeffery Sobel.
On March 14, 2002, less than six months after Sobel was assigned the Henry case, Rizzolo wrote a check for $5,000 to Judge Sobel’s campaign committee. On September 27, 2002, Rizzolo gave Sobel another $5,000 making him the judge’s biggest campaign contributor. Even though Rizzolo was a Defendant in his court, Sobel evidently had no problem accepting his $10,000 largesse.
On August 4, 1995, California tourist Scott David Fau died from injuries described by medical examiners as "blunt force trauma consistent with a severe beating and/or positional asphyxiation." Like Kirk Henry, Scott Fau had also engaged in a disagreement with Crazy Horse bouncers prior to sustaining his injuries. His widow, Camille Fau, sued the Crazy Horse for Wrongful Death. The case was assigned to Clark County District Court Judge Nancy M. Saitta.
Shortly thereafter, Rick Rizzolo donated $5,000 to Judge Saitta’s political campaign committee. Even though Rizzolo was a Defendant in her court, Saitta also had no problem accepting his $5,000 largesse. Judge Saitta ran unopposed in the November 5 election.
In the meantime Kirk Henry is a quadriplegic, and Scott Fau is dead.
On October 14, 2002, Clark County Deputy District Attorney Mitchell Cohen stated, "A criminal investigation involving the (Kirk Henry) incident was initiated by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The investigation is now being (led) by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is active and ongoing." A Federal Grand Jury is also looking into that and other issues involving Rizzolo.
Until recently, other media seldom reported on these two important cases leaving the Las Vegas Tribune solely to inform the public. Because of this newspaper’s relentless coverage, and after repeated attempts to interview Mr. Rizzolo, he consented to tell his side of the story in a Letter to the Tribune Editor published on October 17, 2001.
Regarding Kirk Henry’s broken neck, Mr. Rizzolo wrote, "Mr. (Steve) Miller also refers to another alleged beating that occurred at my club on September 20, 2001. No ‘beating’ ever occurred on my premises on that day. A customer leaving the club drunk did trip, but in no way was this man ‘beaten.’ About the only accurate fact reported by Mr. Miller was the club personnel were standing over the injured man. Of course, Mr. Miller does not mention that my employees were assisting the injured man, as that would ruin his insinuation that my employees had ‘beat up’ this man."
Regarding Scott Fau’s death, Mr. Rizzolo wrote, "Mr. Fau was not found beaten to death. Mr. Fau was not even dead when he was found. Contrary to what Mr. (Steve) Miller chooses to report, the coroner who examined Mr. Fau's body could not determine the cause of death but completely ruled out that Mr. Fau was beaten to death or that his death was caused by an altercation. Mr. Fau, with his friend, had come into the Crazy Horse Too in an inebriated state and threatened and harassed my bartender, When my employees were attempting to eject Mr. Fau, who was at least six feet tall and weighed 300 pounds, from the club, Mr. Fau took off his belt, wrapped it around his hand, and struck one or more of my employees, injuring them. Two of my employees eventually had to go to the hospital for those injuries. The police had to be called in and it was the police who ejected Mr. Fau and his friend from the premises and saw these two people walk southwards away from the club. At least three hours had elapsed before Mr. Fau's body was found on the train tracks far from Crazy Horse Too."
It will be up to the trier of fact in both cases to determine the validly of Mr. Rizzolo’s explanations.
On November 5, probably to Mr. Rizzolo’s dismay, Judge Sobel lost the election by a landslide to newcomer Jackie Glass. After carefully checking Judge-elect Glass’s campaign finance reports on the Secretary of State’s website, no campaign contribution from either of Rizzolo’s corporations could be found.
The election of a new judge ostensibly paves the way for Mr. Henry to receive a fair trial – considered unusual in Clark County after a Defendant invests $10,000 in the political campaign of the judge presiding over his case. Judge Sobel set no trial date, and Jackie Glass takes office on January 1.
In the Fau case, though Judge Saitta was asked to recuse, she set the jury trial for January 6, 2003.
Meanwhile, seeming oblivious to the criminal investigations and pending trials, Mr. Rizzolo just announced a major expansion of his bar.
Steve Miller writes a weekly column in the Las Vegas Tribune on organized
crime and political corruption. Visit his personal website at: http://www.stevemiller4lasvegas.com