What lead to the assault on the Stupaks at Piero’s
By Steve Miller
Copyright © Las Vegas Tribune
August 31, 2000

On Friday, August 25, Stratosphere Tower developer Bob Stupak was dining with his 23-year-old daughter Summer at Piero's restaurant on Convention Center Drive in Las Vegas. Three men attacked the duo at their table after claiming that Stupak had "stolen Horseshoe Casino chips."

Police reports stated: "Suspect #4 grabbed Mr. Stupak by his right arm, stating 'I want to talk to you outside.' At that time suspects #3 and #8, using both hands slapped Mr. Stupak repeatedly on the face and head, while suspect #4 continued to pull Mr. Stupak outside the booth. "

Summer Stupak, who attempted to stop the beating of her 58-year-old father, narrowly missed being hit by a chair swung at her by one of the assailants. She is quoted in the police report stating: "The owner of Piero's did nothing to intervene or stop this assault."

One of the assailants is reported to be 23 year old Benny Behnen, the grandson of Horseshoe founder Benny Binion and the son of current Horseshoe owners Becky and Nick Behnen. Benny Behnen is an unlicensed executive at the Horseshoe.

Eyewitnesses collaborate the police report though Piero's owner Freddie Glusman later denied the incident occurred. Similar incidents have been reported at the upscale eatery in the past.

Bob Stupak suffered severe head injuries in a 1998-motorcycle accident that almost took his life. He lay in coma for six weeks and is still receiving medical treatment for complications stemming from the accident.

Another of the reported Piero's assailants was Chance LeSeuer who in 1996 attracted police attention when he was linked to a drive-by shooting outside Ted Binion's Palomino Lane home, the same house in which he was found dead Sept. 17, 1998. Although initially charged with attempted murder, LeSueur eventually pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

Inexplicably, prior to the alleged assault, Chance LeSeuer was observed dining with Nick, Becky, and Benny Behnen in another part of Piero's restaurant!

The reason for the ongoing relationship between the Behnens and the man who allegedly is linked to the 1996 drive-by shooting outside Ted Binion's home is not clear.

Immediately following the assault at the restaurant and before police arrived, the assailants fled the scene but returned later to be seen with Glusman in the bar.

Bob Stupak had filed a police report in 1998 against Benny Behnen for another assault and battery incident that Stupak said occurred at the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Las Vegas. Stupak alleged Behnen took a swing at him.

High stakes gambler Stupak was notably the best friend of former Horseshoe owners Jack and Ted Binion and had won millions of dollars playing poker at the Horseshoe.

Stupak is still often shown gambling at the Horseshoe on national television reruns. Stupak was a regular in the Horseshoe poker room during the Binion's proprietorship

The Binions ran the club until the unfriendly takeover by their estranged sister Becky and her husband Nick Behnen in June 1998. Stupak and a number of other high rollers stopped gambling at the Horseshoe following the takeover because of reported hostile treatment by Nick Behnen.

Observers believe that the Behnens have suffered financially without Jack and Ted's high rollers. The dismantling of the casino's million-dollar display may be an example of how winnings have leveled off for the Behnens.

In September 1998, Ted Binion died in his home under mysterious circumstances. His live in girlfriend and her lover were convicted in July of his murder and are requesting a retrial alleging jury tampering.

After the convictions, Ted Binion's sister Becky Behnen was shown on TV crying at her brother's graveside.

Some observers speculate, based on the sibling's well-known animosity and Behnen's later association with Chance LeSeuer, that the news cameras showing up just when she decided to visit her brother's grave was an indication that the event was staged and disingenuous.

Bob Stupak became embroiled in the Binion/Behnen family war when in November 1998, following Ted's death; Stupak tried to cash $250,000 worth of $5,000 chips. Stupak also attempted to retrieve two safe deposit boxes full of cash he had on deposit in the casino's cage.

At that time, Nick and Becky Behnen unexplainably refused to cash Stupak's chips or return his currency. Stupak loudly protested and was eighty-sixed bodily from the casino by young Benny Behnen.

Bob Stupak had at least a half-million dollars in one hundred-dollar bills stored in the Horseshoe's casino cage. The Behnens showed no intention of returning the money and, according to police reports, Benny Behnen physically threw Stupak out of the building resulting in Stupak filing the initial assault and battery charges against him.

Gaming Control promptly started a thorough investigation. The investigation made national news. Nick and Becky Behnen were bringing embarrassment upon their own industry through their refusal to abide by state law and cash the chips.

Their obvious vendetta against brothers Ted and Jack's best friend could have cost them their gaming license if it continued.

The Behnens returned Stupak's cash later that month, but continued to defy the state Gaming Control Board's orders to cash his chips until forced to do so by authorities one year later.

Bob and Summer Stupak claim that they suffered injuries from the incident at Piero's.

An unidentified female restaurant employee who witnessed the melee was later quoted in police reports saying "An older man grabbed Mr. Stupak by the arm, while the other subjects repeatedly slapped Mr. Stupak. Mr. Stupak's daughter and (another person) separated the parties."

Restaurant owner Freddie Glusman reportedly fired this employee later that evening.

Witnesses also reported that after police left, Benny Behnen returned to Piero's and remained there socializing with Piero's owner Freddie Glusman until after midnight.

Another witness stated that Glusman was also heard bragging that Bob Stupak had taken a beating in his restaurant earlier that evening.

The following day Glusman summoned his son in law and in-house PR man Tom Letizia to do damage control. Through Letizia, Glusman was quoted in the Las Vegas Review Journal saying "I didn't see anything, I was in the other room. Benny didn't have anything to do with it. He wasn't even in the goddamn room. He was sitting with Becky in the other room."

Glusman called the incident a "nonevent", and tried to laugh it off by saying it reminded him of the "Old Las Vegas."

Becky Benhen was also quoted in the Las Vegas Sun saying, "Everyone in the room was laughing, so it couldn't have been anything serious."

Bob and Summer Stupak are not laughing and consider the event to be the second dangerous attack on their family in a long running vendetta based on Stupak's friendship with Jack and Ted Binion.

Both Stupaks consider the two incidents involving Benny Behnen to be a precursor to future events and are concerned for their own safety.

Clark County Sheriff Jerry Keller and District Attorney Stewart Bell have received a number of letters from Stupak friends demanding that official action be taken before another incident occurs.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has also been alerted and is reportedly investigating.

No one has been arrested at this time though both Stupaks have filed charges.

The Binion family is well known throughout Nevada for their generous political campaign contributions.

Copyright © Las Vegas Tribune