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Strip Club Extortion Rackets

"I’ve seen the big braggarts pull an apprehensive stripper into the most secluded VIP area only to impress his pals with his bullshit bravado. However, once inside the private booth, the club’s hidden cameras usually reveal a shy, nervous patron who totally pulls away when the girl pushes her bare breast into his face. I hear from strippers that the ultimate insult is a man turning away or staring at the ceiling rather than at her exposed body."
-Herb Pastor, Strip Clubs Exposed, Kindle Edition (p. 71)

"An Israeli rabbi has given his blessing to female agents of Israel's foreign secret service, Mossad, who may be required to have sex with the enemy in so-called honey-pot missions against terrorists. In fact, honey-pot missions are rooted in Biblical lore. Queen Esther, who was Jewish, slept with the Persian king Xerxes around 500 BC to save her people, Schvat noted."
-Haartz, Israeli rabbi: Honey-pot sex is kosher for female Mossad agents

Q: "How do you make a hormone?"
A: Don't pay her.

Most guys are a little paranoid when they walk into a strip club and see a dozen bare naked ladies within inches of their ... eye balls. What might their own lady think? Some might get off on it, presumably most would not. Some might even cut your pecker off and throw it out a car window at 60 mph. Some might put a bullet in your brain. Worst nightmare of all -- divorce and take the house, kids and paychecks.

Then a wise guy like Herb Pastor admits to using hidden cams in his strip clubs and casinos, keeping tabs and files on his 100,000 employees and 100-million customers...

Livin on the Leveredge

Once upon a time I was "extorted" by a stripper I had befriended and assisted. I perceived this as a "sophisticated" attempt at "business motivation" rather than direct cash extraction. The "business motivation" would be worth significantly more than any cash I might have available.

The stripper appeared at a family party AT MY FAMILY MEMBER'S HOME, accompanied by her "significant other". They were extremely "out of place" and out-of-race in the country-club atmosphere, and did not appear to be socializing with anyone. Was I paranoid? Was I supposed to be paranoid? No, I was not smokin wacky weed nor partaking of intoxicating liquors.

The Art of Compromise

Yes, I left the party early with my wife, rather than risk another "exciting" conversation with my ex-stripper / ex-friend. Yes, she was exceedingly talented at "conversation".

Rather than cave to the pressure, I cut ties with that family member, who was "mobbed-up" at an upper-management level. He obviously preferred murderers, rapists and pedophiles over his own family, because the pay is infinitely better, and the strippers are virtually free.

In fact, that's who first corrupted me at a strip club. He did hint that he was permanently compromised by "photographic" evidence, whatever that means. As Herb Paster says, strip clubs have cameras everywhere, even hidden ones, with recording capability for "security" purposes. On a paranoid day I almost suspect I got slipped a micky at that strip joint, in another attempt at a setup (I survived).

As they say, no good deed goes unpunished, when you swim with sharks sometimes you get bit, and what goes around comes around...

The Rick Rizzolo Connection

"Dominic Rizzolo, a manager at a strip mall casino, is accused of beating a customer with a hammer. Channel nine uncovered he is part of an infamous mafia family out of Las Vegas."
-WFTV Channel 9 News, Suspect in strip mall casino beating has ties to the mafia, May 23, 2012

Here are links to a chronological list of news articles including many that comment on the relationship between Las Vegas politicians, law enforcement officials, underworld figures, and Frederick "Rick" Rizzolo, the purported owner of the Crazy Horse Too topless bar.

The Crazy Horse Too, unlike any other adult business in Vegas, until its closure in July 2007, was the repeated scene of violence, prostitution, extortion, and coercion. Club owner Rick Rizzolo was convicted for beating a patron with a baseball bat in 1985. Police records also reveal nine assault and six robbery cases all involving Crazy Horse Too employees, along with 737 police responses in just 3 years -- many based on customers being beaten after refusing to sign falsified credit card bills -- but there have been no criminal prosecutions.

I first broke this story in 1999, concerned that organized crime had infiltrated Las Vegas City Hall, the Clark County DA's Office, state judiciary, and the LV Metro Police Department. My stories made national news and helped inspire investigations by the FBI and IRS.

In 2000, Rizzolo sued me for libel and came close to getting a compromised state court judge to issue a gag order stopping my reports, but she backed down at the last minute when the ACLU and Las Vegas Review Journal intervened. Undaunted, I kept reporting, and the suit was dismissed.

Meanwhile, as the extortion and violence continued, our former mob lawyer-turned-mayor, Oscar Goodman, coddled Mr. Rizzolo and his friends, some who were Goodman's former law firm's clients and now prospective clients for his partners David Chesnoff and Jay Brown, along with Goodman's two lawyer sons.

District Attorney David Roger, after accepting, then purportedly returning, $40,000 in campaign contributions from Rizzolo, during the first week he was in office in 2003 dropped five LVMPD cases waiting for prosecution against employees of the Crazy Horse. The first day after Roger's reelection in 2006, he plea bargained a Trafficking in Controlled Substance charge against Rick Rizzolo's brother Ralph down to Misdemeanor Possession, and in 2008, refused to vigorously prosecute Rizzolo's son for stabbing a man during a botched extortion attempt.

On October 25, 2001, I asked Mayor Goodman to bring the Crazy Horse Too before the city council on an administrative action to defend its privileged license. He refused then immediately sponsored custom designed ordinances allowing the bar to expand, and employ teenage strippers.

In 2003, Goodman proudly accepted a $40,000 campaign contribution from Rizzolo. In 2006, the mayor told the Review-Journal: "I like Rick Rizzolo. He goes to Piero's every Thanksgiving and feeds hundreds of needy people. And he treats them with dignity."

The Mayor even went so far as to pay a personal visit to my home to try to appease me.

Rick Rizzolo made his fortune by paying off crooked cops, politicians, DAs and judges to keep a lid on his and his associate's criminal activities. It has now taken the FBI and IRS to clean up what we on a local level should have had the courage to stop years ago.

On September 6, 2006, the Las Vegas City Council unanimously voted to permanently revoke Rizzolo's liquor license and fine him $2.2 million dollars. This could not have happened had Mayor Oscar Goodman presided over the hearing. To make sure he didn't, on July 10, I filed an Ethics Complaint against Goodman pointing out his serious conflicts of interest regarding Rizzolo. Because Goodman was forced to abstain by my complaint, the playing field was leveled allowing Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese to preside over the meeting and shut down the Crazy Horse.

But that didn't last for long. The bar miraculously re-opened, but within a year was shut down again. On June 30, 2008, the bar's grand fathered adult use zoning finally expired rendering the Crazy Horse Too permanently zoned for warehouse use only -- never to re-open as a topless bar.

Rizzolo's criminal activities were photographed and reported on a daily basis by his next door neighbor, garage owner James "Buffalo Jim" Barrier, and AmericanMafia.com photographer Mike Christ. Barrier died a mysterious death the day after Rick Rizzolo was released from prison.

"The Ghost of Buffalo Jim" can be heard by clicking HERE. The haunting lyrics tell the story of what many believe to be the last hours of the man who fought the current Vegas mob - and won.

John Stamos' Extortionists Present Their Case

MARQUETTE, Mich. — A woman charged with conspiring to bilk actor John Stamos of hundreds of thousands of dollars had a brief romantic fling with him when she was a 17-year-old high school student during a spring break trip to Florida in 2004, an attorney said Monday.

Defense lawyer Sarah Henderson made the allegation during opening arguments in the U.S. District Court trial of Allison Coss and Scott Sippola, even though the presiding judge last week ruled that testimony about whether the "ER" and "Full House" star had an intimate relationship with Coss would not be allowed. Opening statements are not testimony and cannot be considered by jurors as evidence but allow attorneys to outline the case they will present.

Stamos, who attended the trial's opening day, declined comment to The Associated Press but is expected to testify.

His attorney, William Sobel, issued a statement through publicist Matt Polk that said: "The allegations made today in the courtroom by the defendants' attorneys during opening statements will not be proven because they are simply untrue."

Polk declined further comment.

Coss, 24, and Sippola, 31, both of Marquette, are accused of conspiring to extort $680,000 from Stamos by telling him they had photos of him with cocaine and strippers. Prosecutors contend the pictures don't exist, and FBI agents testified Monday they found no such photos while searching the defendants' house after their arrest.

Henderson and Assistant U.S. Attorney Maarten Vermaat agreed in their opening statements that Coss and Stamos met in Orlando, Fla., in 2004 – shortly after Stamos had separated from his wife, actress and supermodel Rebecca Romijn. The couple divorced the next year.

Henderson said Stamos, now 46, noticed Coss and another girl at a club, asked friends to bring them over and later invited the star-struck teens to his hotel room. Stamos ordered a drink for Coss even after she told him she was 17, Henderson said.

Two women who worked as strippers eventually showed up in the room with a bag of cocaine, she said, and Coss and her friend took a picture of Stamos bending over a table where the drugs had been laid out.

Henderson said Stamos and Coss later kissed on a bed and got into a hot tub together after Stamos undressed and Coss stripped to her underwear. She said Stamos offered to perform oral sex on Coss, but she declined. Florida law makes it a second-degree felony for someone 24 or older to have oral sex with anyone 16 or 17 years old. It carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

Stamos eventually became frustrated, broke a bedpost with his hand and left the room before apologizing and inviting Coss to spend the night, which she did, Henderson said.

For the next few years, they maintained a "flirty kind of relationship" by e-mail, Henderson said.

Vermaat also said the two exchanged e-mails "with some regularity" but did not discuss details of the alleged 2004 encounter.

Stamos received two e-mails last fall from a "Jessica T" who claimed she was pregnant and Stamos was the father, Vermaat said. Later came a series of e-mails from a "Brian L" describing allegedly compromising photos and saying they would be sold to tabloids if Stamos did not buy them for $680,000.

Prosecutors contend Coss and Sippola sent the e-mails.

Stamos contacted the FBI, Vermaat said. During testimony, two agents described a sting operation that ended with Coss and Sippola's arrest at K.I. Sawyer International Airport near Marquette, where an agent posing as a Stamos representative had promised to leave a bag of cash.

"This is really just a get-rich-quick scheme that is based on lies and betrayal," Vermaat told the jury of eight men and four women.

Defense attorneys acknowledged their clients tried to sell photos to Stamos but insisted they had a right to do so and considered it a legitimate business transaction, not a crime.

"Human beings make mistakes," Henderson said. "Not all mistakes are illegal."

Three strip club patrons have come forward alleging father, daughter used sex to extort money from them

More victims have come forward accusing a father and daughter of using sex to extort money from strip club patrons.

As of Thursday, detectives have identified three victims, said Blackman-Leoni Township Detective Sgt. Chris Boulter.

David Lee Allan, 50 and his 28-year-old daughter, Jennifer Lee Allan, both of Blackman Township have been charged with one count each of blackmail. He was arraigned Wednesday, she on Dec. 30.

Initially, one man went to police claiming to be a victim of the extortion, leading to the Allans’ arrest. He told detectives he met Jennifer Allan at Dr. Don’s Famous Door and then had sex with her Dec. 17 at Motel 6, 830 Royal Drive. Jennifer Allan then called the man and demanded money or she would falsely accuse him of rape. He gave her several thousand dollars, according to earlier reports.

On Wednesday, one more victim came forward. An additional victim was identified Thursday, Boulter said. A similar case was also reported to the Michigan State Police Jackson post and might be linked.

Through the course of an investigation, documents were uncovered leading detectives to believe there are more victims in and around Jackson County. They should call the department at 788-4223

Making a Racket?

New allegations shed light on a federal probe.

A few weeks ago, news broke that the FBI is investigating a possible extortion racket that may extend to the Philadelphia Police Department, the Department of Licenses & Inspection, tow truck companies, strip clubs and a beer distributor believed to be tied to a longtime city employee.

So far, the only solid details that have emerged center around an alleged scheme in which bar and restaurant owners were told to purchase beer from Chappy's Beer Butts and Bets, a South Philly distributor, to "curry favor" with L&I.

No charges have been filed; but on Feb. 17, Dominic Verdi, an L&I deputy commissioner on the city's Nuisance Task Force — and, according to a Fox 29 report, a part-owner of Chappy's — was demoted and then abruptly resigned after more than 35 years with the department, adding to the speculation that this investigation is far-reaching. A lawsuit expected to be filed this week, which City Paper has obtained an advanced copy of, will likely fuel that speculation.

In the complaint, Frank Funaro, owner of South Street club Fiso Lounge, claims to have been the victim of harassment by police officers, state police and L&I workers, including Verdi himself, in retaliation for reporting bad police behavior and because he failed to purchase beer from Chappy's. The suit, filed by attorney and former Prison Commissioner Leon King (now running for Common Pleas judge), names more than 40 public officials.

It also reveals that city officials had been told about the alleged activities of Verdi and others more than a year ago. Funaro's allegations are, of course, only allegations, but they raise questions about how many people are involved in whatever it is, exactly, that the feds are investigating — and who knew about it.

Funaro's troubles began, he alleges, in 2008, after he hired a few police officers to work a private security detail at his bar. When some of them began acting rude to customers, he complained to their district captain as well as to City Council President Anna Verna's office. That, alleges Funaro, is when the retribution began.

On May 10, 2009, the lawsuit says, Fiso Lounge was visited by a group of "numerous heavily-armed police officers and other officials" from the city's multi-agency Nuisance Task Force — including Verdi.

Funaro said the officials "used loud profanity" and "banged their nightsticks on tables ... and otherwise terrified and scared customers" before ordering the club closed for fire safety and electrical issues. Funaro says he quickly fixed the problems. A few weeks later, he was nonetheless served with a cease-operations order by L&I. Funaro appealed, and the L&I Review Board sustained his appeal in June 2009, overturning the order.

Shortly thereafter, on July 11, 2009, Funaro says, Nuisance Task Force members came back with Kenneth Gassman, an L&I employee later indicted for an extortion scheme. This time, police and other city officials allegedly pepper-sprayed customers, broke the DJ's equipment and confiscated the cell phone of a customer filming the raid. CP could find no record of violations or citations issued against Fiso Lounge in July. Calls to Verdi and a police officer allegedly involved were not returned.

Sometime in the middle of all this, Funaro says a fellow bar owner advised him to buy beer from Chappy's. Funaro says he was even given a phone number for Greg Quigley — according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, a partner at Chappy's who pled guilty to a perjury charge related to an organized-crime gambling scheme — in order to "set this fix."

At this point, he says, Funaro hired attorney King, who proceeded to alert public officials of the alleged extortion racket. On Feb. 3, 2010 King detailed the alleged scheme in a letter to the heads of the Police, L&I, the Managing Director, the Inspector General, Deputy Mayor for Safety and Law departments.

"The Nuisance Task Force has been abusing [their] authority," he wrote. "From what I can tell, the abuse is long-standing and widespread." King named names, including Verdi's. City Paper contacted those city agencies and asked if they took any action. Inspector General Amy Kurland says she was aware of a related federal investigation at the time and referred the letter to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office. Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald, commenting on behalf of all the other city agencies King contacted, says the city referred King's letter to the "appropriate authorities" but declined to specify which. Police spokesman Lt. Ray Evers will not comment on open investigations.

The story gets more convoluted. In 2010, Funaro's bar was raided again, this time by state police, and Funaro was charged with three counts of serving alcohol to minors. Funaro says this, too, was part of a conspiracy: He claims to have been apprised of the raid, and asked for a bribe by state police. State Police Sgt. William LaTorre calls assertions of wrongdoing by state police "incorrect." King says his client's case shows the city failing to take action: "The only reason Dominic Verdi was demoted is because the feds stepped in."

Sin City Cabbie Conspiracy Worsens

The tail is wagging the dog with government help!

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
October 24, 2005

"We've taken in excess of 50 rides, and one out of five rides that we take, we offered the opportunity for the driver, and they attempted or diverted us to a specific location."
-Former Nevada Taxi Authority (TA) Administrator John Plunkett

LAS VEGAS - Strip clubs in Sin City are currently the target of the biggest extortion racket since the Mafia supposedly left our town. The operators of lucrative adult businesses are being forced to pay cab drivers up to $70 per passenger for delivering customers to their door, or suffer being boycotted. The racket, according to insiders, is costing some clubs up to $100,000 per night in unreported cash, amounting to an estimated $500,000 per day to transportation people being paid by the combined clubs in town!

This does not include the unreported money paid out by massage parlors, escort services, swingers clubs, check cashing services, wedding chapels, restaurants, or bordellos.

One prominent gentleman's club owner told INSIDE VEGAS: "The biggest losers in this mess are the tourists and conventioneers who have to pay door and drink prices that are 3 times what they were a couple of years ago before this got out of hand. Also many tourists are diverted to strip clubs when they ask to be taken to a regular nightclub. We get guests all night long that were told we were a dance club, disco, or singles bar. We even get some guys who are dropped off after asking to go to a gay bar. The cabbies hope to get paid before the guest finds out he's been tricked. It makes for many unhappy out of towners who are beginning to see everything about Las Vegas as being a rip off. It surprises me that the powers that be aren't more concerned about the long term impact on 'good will.' This is a city that relies on repeat business. For years people might leave town feeling a little depressed that they lost money at the tables, but at least felt they were treated like royalty, and overall were really entertained. Now they leave just feeling abused and cheated."

Those allowing the scam are the governor, state taxi authority, Clark County Commission, LV City Council, city attorney, and district attorney who are threatened with the loss of political campaign contributions from cab company owners and some strip club operators if they enforce laws already on the books. In certain cases, sexual favors may also be curtailed if public officials act to stop the extortion, extortion that can easily spread to other type businesses.

Some cab company owners have secretly said they want the payoffs to continue so they don't have to pay their drivers a living wage, or benefits. Some unscrupulous club owners even want the authorities to continue turning their backs so they can gain advantage over their competitors by upping the ante and gouging their customers to make up the difference.

In 2004, a passenger caught a cab at McCarran Airport. He reportedly asked the driver to take him to a club owned by a life-long friend. The driver told him that that club was "filthy," and another one nearby would be a much better choice. The passenger insisted on going to his original location. He was then informed he would be dropped off at the nearest corner if he refused to go the club the driver suggested. The passenger was taken into a seedy neighborhood in the middle of the night and ordered out of the cab. The driver refused to radio for another cab. The passenger told his club owner friend of the incident. The driver was reported to both the taxi authority and his employer. Its not known what consequences, if any, were suffered by the cabbie.

On any given night, the Industrial Road/Highland Drive corridor is crowded with hundreds of idling taxies sitting in front of strip clubs. In the meantime, the transportation needs of local residents and many tourists go unmet leaving locals waiting hours for a cab to the airport to catch a red eye.

In response to the complaints and extortion, desperate sounding Emails began circulating on a daily basis between club owners or managers telling of the frustration they are experiencing over the singling out of their businesses, and the government's total lack of enforcement of the existing laws.

Out of desperation, the club owners recently hired former Nevada Taxi Authority Administrator; former Clark County Commissioner; and former Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Director Manny Cortez to try to straighten out the mess. After months of lobbying, even the once influential ex-politician was unable to inspire government action.

Then, on September 15, one strip club manager sent the following Email to his competitors:

"The Cab Ordinance (affecting all vehicles for hire) will not be completed and done until the end of October. Manny (Cortez) tried to get the authorities to 'enforce' laws as they exist (a while back they issued warnings to the county) but to no avail. They do not want to go in and take a bite of the apple, only to return for another bite of the apple. So, we are remaining in this situation until then. The State is not involved in this, and it is the City Council, the County Commission, the City Attorney, the DA's Office, the County Attorney, and Metro (police) that are all involved in the issue. As you know, the complaints are mounting relative to lack of cabs at the airport, long waits for cabs at the airports, lack of cabs at hotels for tourists, etc., which is working in our favor. If you all think a meeting is in order, I will be happy to arrange one."

The "bite of the apple" the Email writer was referring to was obviously the political campaign contributions, gifts, under the table cash, or sexual favors, some local politicians, and a few corrupt cops, have long accepted to leave some strip bars alone, especially the one the Email writer manages.

Shortly after this Email was sent, its friendly writer tried to call a meeting of all club owners, but he requested it take place at his biggest competitor's strip club (instead of his own) -- a dangerous place to meet for the owner of the hosting club -- something some other owners felt was by design since the club the Email missive came from is known for playing dirty tricks on its competitors. To bolster suspicions, a flier was mysteriously distributed the next day at the airport cab staging area telling the time and place of the secret meeting. The meeting was wisely canceled. Had the meeting taken place, the club where it occurred and its owner would have been scorned by the cabbies. It was suspected that the Email writer leaked the time and location as a way to hurt his competitor thereby revealing the degree of back stabbing taking place within the industry.

Another club owner Emailed: "I know as a fact that some commissioners/councilmen are outraged that these payoffs are affecting the cabbies' services to other legitimate customers, as well as spreading into other industries/businesses. Some cabbies themselves are intentionally creating fictitious 'passengers' who are going from club to club collecting the payoffs but not spending any money in the clubs. They basically walk in and walk out. Although many of us are attempting to curtail these actions, at times it is impossible. We are the laughing stock in the community."

On August 8, this Email was sent by another club owner:

"Regarding proposing a new ordinance, I myself think the existing would be sufficient if it were enforced. In essence, the existing really does solve the majority of our problem... We will wait till eternity or at least past election day for government intervention. I am certain we can control ourselves. It is the prudent and businesslike solution."

In September, one strip club owner reported paying over one-million dollars to cab drivers so he could remain in business! And where is the IRS while all this goes on?

Only one club owner is requiring all cabbies to sign a receipt for the cash he distributes. This information is forwarded to the IRS. However, this club has suffered increased diversions since implementing the reporting practice.

Nevada Taxi Authority (TA) Administrator John Plunkett, in March 2002, stated that cab drivers told his investigators who were posing as tourists, that certain topless clubs were closed; a rip off; dirty; or the girls were ugly, in order to persuade them to go to a club that paid drivers more. Investigators also noticed that the problem had spread to doormen at hotels along the Strip, Plunkett said. The doormen were demanding a share of the kickbacks limousine drivers were receiving from the topless clubs. In return they were steering hotel guests to cash-friendly limousine drivers instead of cabbies. The cabbies became enraged and staged a boycott of the Rio, allegedly one of the biggest offenders, according to Plunkett.

Plunkett softened his remarks after reportedly being chastised by several cab company owners.
Four months later, instead of trying to remedy the problem, the state Taxi Authority Board, then-chaired by LV attorney Jim Jimmerson, and under the directorship of Sydney Wickliffe of the state Business and Industry Department, abruptly abolished the state laws that were intended to prevent the practice in the first place! Ms. Wickliffe works very closely with cab and limo company owners.

However, the local law remains strong -- but is completely ignored in Clark County where the extortion is most prevalent. According to the Clark County Department of Business License, a law enabling the county commission to either suspend or revoke the liquor licenses of clubs that pay off cabbies has been on the books for over forty years, but such drastic action -- if taken -- could stop some politicians from taking an additional "bite of the apple."

The City of Las Vegas was recently asked to enact a similar law, but the obedient council of Mayor Oscar Goodman and his sidekick, Mayor Pro-Tem Gary Reese, soundly rejected it. Goodman, in 2003, accepted a $40,000 campaign contribution from the Crazy Horse. Reese, during the same election and with Goodman's help, took $10,000 with full knowledge the club was under federal investigation for racketeering and income tax evasion.


8.20.297 Paying taxicab drivers.

It is unlawful for any liquor licensee subject to this chapter or any employee or agent of said licensee to pay any tip, gift, or gratuity of any kind to any taxicab driver for the delivery of any passenger to the business location of the licensee.

8.20.570 Grounds for disciplinary action.

(s) Each licensee who tips, pays or extends any form of gratuity to a taxicab driver for the delivery of any passengers to the business location.

Disciplinary action taken pursuant to this section is directed only to regulate the sale and distribution of alcoholic liquor and to minimize its deleterious effects on the public health, safety, morals, good order and general welfare. Sanctions imposed upon a licensee which restrict or prohibit the sale or distribution of alcoholic liquor are within the state's power under the Twenty-First Amendment as delegated to the board by NRS 244.350. (Ord. L-215-02 § 1,2002: Ord.L-212-02 § 5,2002: Ord. L-191-99 § 3, 1999: Ord. L-142-94 §1, 1994: Ord. L-133-93 § 1, 1993: Ord. L-63-87 § 4, 1987: Ord. L-61-86 § 1, 1986: Ord. L-58-85 § 2, 1985: Ord.L-45-82 § 1, 1982: Ord. L-39-80 § 1, 1980: Ord. L-13-70, 1970: Ord. L-11-69 (part), 1969: Ord. L-7-65 § 10, 1965)

The county law, first enacted in 1965 to stop restaurants from being extorted, has been revised on ten occasions, the last being in January 2002. But the city attorney, and DA continue to turn the other way while politicians collect huge political campaign contributions from the cab companies and strip clubs. In 2002, DA David Roger proudly accepted a $50,000 campaign contribution from the Crazy Horse Too, but purportedly returned it after his opponent revealed the donation during the election.

When did the strip club extortion problem first surface? A summit conference of sorts took place in December 1998. Then-Councilman Mike McDonald ask local transportation consultant Peter Christoff to schedule the get-together at Pizzeria Uno on behalf of McDonald's close friend Rick Rizzolo, owner of the Crazy Horse. In attendance were all of the owners and managers of adult businesses that depended on taxis. The meeting was intended to address customers being diverted to clubs that were at the time paying off cabbies up to $20 per passenger. The participants discussed standardizing the amount of money the clubs would pay each taxi driver per passenger delivered. The group agreed on paying $5 per head. Several months later, without warning, the Crazy Horse broke rank and openly began bribing cabbies $10 a head. That's when the bidding war began. Councilman McDonald, a former policeman, took no action.

Within days, the Crazy Horse's front entrance was crowded with taxies. Investigative reporter Darcy Spears of KVBC TV News set up a sting and several drivers were taped diverting passengers to the club. After the newscast, the Nevada Taxi Authority did nothing.

The diversion problems worsened and neighborhood taxi service became almost nonexistent.

The first diversion study took place on January 14, and 15, 2000. It verified an average of seventy-three cabs per hour dropping off or picking up passengers from the Crazy Horse Too. Facing financial devastation, the other clubs joined in, and the auction began.

On September 19, 2001, at a special TA hearing regarding poor service for locals, citizens from Green Valley and Summerlin complained to the politically appointed commissioners of waiting for over two hours for a taxi while dozens of cabs were idling in front of adult businesses. Their complaints fell on deaf ears and the "tipping," as the TA began calling it, started its meteoric rise to the astounding present levels.

The sudden official use of the word "tipping" by state authorities sent up a red flag in the eyes of the club owners who knew it was anything but!

Meanwhile, some cabbies became so brazened by the state's action that a few began protecting the clubs that paid them the highest ransoms. As an example, following the October 2001 beating of Kansas tourist Kirk Henry in front of the Crazy Horse, a cabbie became the club's star witness. The cabbie, who was later identified as having received special treatment from the club including being able to park at the head of the cab line, and being singled out to take intoxicated patrons home at the club's expense, refuted other witness reports that said Henry's neck was broken by a club bouncer over a disputed $88 bar tab. The cabbie testified during deposition that Henry tripped and fell thereby braking his own neck causing him to be permanently paralyzed.

In an unrelated May 30, 2002 Las Vegas Metropolitan Police INCIDENT REPORT, the following statement appears:

"A witness to the incident (name withheld), had the names of the cab drivers who allegedly observed the battery. (names withheld). Contact was made with (cab driver) who did not complete a voluntary (statement). (The cab driver) also stated that (Crazy Horse Too) security person (Michael) Muscato threatened him after he spoke with officers."

In 2004, a recently retired police officer who drove a cab part time reported that he witnessed several tuxedo clad men drag a patron out of the Crazy Horse and knock him down. The cabbie, reverting to his police training, jumped from his cab armed only with a pen and notebook. He confronted the bouncers who were reportedly kicking the man and demanded they stop. He asked them to give him their names. He stated that he was warned to "get back in your cab or we'll kick your ass." He held his ground. The beating stopped. He transported the injured man to the ER at no charge. He later told his story to the Federal Grand Jury investigating the Crazy Horse. A number of cabbies also witnessed the beating, but none agreed to give statements.

With the ante now raised to $70 per passenger, any rumor of enforcement of anti-pay off law is met with an organized protest by cab drivers who communicate with cell phones and fliers placed on the bulletin board at the staging area at the airport.

The cabbies threatened to block the Strip and boycott McCarran International Airport if Governor Kenny Guinn did not veto a new bill intended to prevent cabbies from diverting passengers to businesses that pay them off.

To show their power, on July 29, about 1,000 taxi drivers paraded along the Las Vegas Strip. They used their company's equipment to block traffic for over a half hour without protest from their bosses or authorities.

The state provides the cab company owners with a Certificate of Need and Convenience to limit competition. When boycotts occur, the "convenience" to locals and tourists is affected. Instead of regulating the company owners to prevent their drivers from using their equipment in acts of civil disobedience, or to extort business owners, the state will usually respond by allocating more taxi medallions to further crowd the streets with cabs. The companies that allow extortion then hire fledgling drivers who, for a short time, provide service to locals and tourists, then after learning of the much more lucrative business of strip club diversion and extortion, most new cabbies join the others by ignoring the local's and tourist's needs, and the cycle repeats itself.

After cabbies shut down the Strip and threatened to shut down the airport, Governor Guinn -- who is serving his last term in office -- groveled at the feet of some cab company owners, then obediently vetoed the proposed payoff legislation, thus rewarding the tail for wagging the dog.

Steve Miller is a former Clark County Regional Transportation Commissioner

I-Team: Mafia members to plead guilty in Cadillac Lounge probe

By: Jim Taricani | NBC 10
February 16, 2012

Louie "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, once the boss of the Patriarca crime family, will plead guilty to federal racketeering charges, the NBC 10 I-Team reported Thursday.

Four other mafia members, Edward "Eddy" Lato, Alfred "Chippy" Scivola, Raymond Jenkins and Richard Bonafiglia will also plead guilty.

All of the wise guys were involved in a lucrative extortion racket involving three local strip clubs: the Cadillac Lounge, the Satin Doll and the Foxy Lady.

The FBI made secret tapes of the wise guys shaking down the club owners for money in exchange for protection.

With the guilty pleas, the Patriarca crime family is pretty much a thing of the past.

Sources told the NBC 10 I-Team that there are only eight made guys left on the street, many in their 80s and not active in mob activity.

Sources said the leadership of the Patriarca crime family is now in Boston and will likely stay there.

The FBI and Rhode Island State Police conducted a four-year investigation in the extortion racket.

All of the men charged will have court dates in the future to officially plead guilty, and all are expected to serve federal prison time.

Albie Folcarelli Accepts Reality With Plea Deal


They've been falling like dominoes in Providence, RI.

Albino "Albie" Folcarelli is the latest reputed Patriarca mobster to cop to his role in the crime family's extortion rackets as reported by W. Zachary Malinowski for the Providence Journal: "according to the deal, the mob associate is recognized as a 'career offender' for having two prior convictions for crimes of violence," and "as a result, he faces a minimum of 110 months in prison, or slightly more than 9 years, when he returns to court to formally enter his plea."

Six other defendants, including Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio and Edward "Eddy" Lato, already have pleaded guilty for their roles in extorting strip clubs and other businesses pursuant to the sweeping racketeering case which was brought last year targeting the Patriarca crime family.

The only remaining defendant who has not made a plea deal is Theodore Cardillo.

NP chief allegedly stole from stripper

02 Sep 2011
By Tim White, Target 12 Investigator

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - North Providence's police chief allegedly stole more than $700 in cash from a stripper employed by the Satin Doll who also works as a prostitute, according to a Rhode Island State Police affidavit.

Chief John Whiting was arrested Thursday by the state police for allegedly stealing $714 from a purse following a police chase. Investigators also charged him with attempting to cover up the alleged crime.

Justina Cardoso, 21, of Pawtucket, said she works as a stripper and was a passenger in a car that Whiting chased last Sunday. She said she had earned $600 from a man she spent the night with at the Comfort Inn in Pawtucket and another $200 from the strip club. According to the affidavit made public on Friday, Cardoso said she did not recognize Whiting on the day of the chase.

The affidavit reveals that following the chase, Pawtucket police officer John Brown responded to the scene. After investigating the scene, Brown told state police he noticed that Whiting's arm was shaking and later Whiting told the officer "he had been having personal problems as well as problems with his wife."

According to the affidavit, Whiting then handed a wad of cash over to Officer Brown, admitting he lifted it from the chase vehicle, and stated: "I've never stole anything in my life and I know you like to go to Las Vegas, take this money and have fun, don't say anything about it."

•PDF: Read the affidavit

State police tracked Cardoso down the following day. She said the car fled from Whiting because the driver of the vehicle had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. She said she left behind her purse containing the cash after the SUV they were driving crashed during the chase through Pawtucket.

"Justina stated that she had never seen the individual who chased them nor did she recognize him as a patron of a strip club where she worked," the affidavit states.

Cardoso told the state police she fled the scene because she also has an outstanding warrant against her. Court records show Cardoso has a pending blackmail and extortion case out of Central Falls from April 2010. A call to the Rhode Island attorney general’s office regarding that case was not immediately returned.

Court documents say that on Tuesday, Chief Whiting phoned Officer Brown and told him not to say anything to the state police if they questioned him. State police were listening in on the call at the time, according to the affidavit.

Whiting "further encourage[d] Officer Brown to lie to his Chief and how to go about doing so in order that it is handled by [Pawtucket Police] Chief [Paul] King and not the State Police," the affidavit states.

Whiting was released on $10,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned next Friday in District Court.

Whiting was the head of the North Providence Police Department for three years following 29 years as an officer in Pawtucket. North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi immediately suspended Whiting without pay after his arrest Thursday.

Extorting sex with a badge

By Nancy Phillips and Craig R. McCoy
Inquirer Staff Writers

Timothy Carre says he went along with Fallon, his partner. James Fallon says he pleaded guilty only to avoid a trial. Clearing the Record
This article on police officers who extort sex gave an incorrect neighborhood for a police stop at Torresdale Avenue and Levick Street, which is in the Tacony section of the city.

Philadelphia Police Officer James Fallon spent many midnight shifts on patrol - not for crime, but for sex.

His partner, Timothy Carre, says he tried to warn their bosses, but nobody paid attention - not until the night Fallon and Carre stopped a stripper getting off her shift, forced her into their patrol car and, she says, took turns raping her in the darkness near I-95.

The officers are now off the force, convicted of sex crimes, but the city is still confronting the consequences of that 2002 attack.

Investigators found a string of other women who say they were victimized by the pair, and a lawsuit filed by the dancer recently brought to light dozens of other accusations of sexual misconduct involving Philadelphia police from 1992 to 2002. The department dismissed most as groundless, or unprovable.

In another, still-open case obtained by The Inquirer, the department allowed an investigation into a complaint of a forced sexual display in a police lockup to languish for years. No one has been disciplined.

Philadelphia isn't unusual. Hundreds of police officers across the country have turned from protectors to predators, using the power of their badge to extort sex, an Inquirer review shows.

Many of those cases fit a chilling pattern: Once abusers cross the line, they attack again and again before they are caught. Often, departments miss warning signs about the behavior.

Most police departments do little to identify the offenders, and even less to stop them. Unlike other types of police misconduct, the abuse of police power to coerce sex is little addressed in training, and rarely tracked by police disciplinary systems.

This official neglect makes it easier for predators to escape punishment and find new victims.

Lawyers for Philadelphia's 7,000-member department say in court papers that sexual-misconduct complaints are "extremely rare" and that commanders move swiftly to discipline offenders.

Though the number of abusive officers in any one department is usually small, the damage they leave behind is often devastating - to their victims, to taxpayers and to the reputations of their colleagues.

The Inquirer found nearly 400 reports of police sexual misconduct across the country in the last five years, including dozens in the Philadelphia region:

In Baltimore last month, a detective was suspended after a 16-year-old girl picked up for prostitution said he assaulted her at a police station. Three other Baltimore officers allegedly raped a woman in a station house in December, and are facing criminal charges.

A Glenolden, Delaware County, officer was convicted of raping a woman in 2002 after he answered a domestic-dispute call. "He had his police uniform on, his gun, his nightstick," the woman said. "I did exactly what he asked me to do."

In small-town Edgewater Park, Burlington County, a police officer bought a Burger King meal for a female prisoner in 2002 - then forced her to have sex in a police van. He went to jail.

A San Bernadino, Calif., officer preyed on prostitutes and drug addicts, attacking them in dark lots or abandoned buildings. By 2003, the city had paid a total of $300,000 to 18 victims. "I was scared beyond speech," said one woman who was raped by the officer while handcuffed.

The abusive officers who are caught and charged are likely only a fraction of the real number, policing experts say.

Many victims, ashamed and intimidated, never report the crimes, The Inquirer review shows. As in the case of Fallon and Carre, victims often don't surface until the offenders are caught and taken off the street.

"The women are terrified," said Penny Harrington, the former police chief of Portland, Ore., and founder of the National Center for Women and Policing. "Who are they going to call? It's the police who are abusing them."

When women do come forward, their complaints are often ignored.

Indeed, experts say, culprits tend to target vulnerable women such as prostitutes, drug addicts or drunks, knowing they likely won't be believed.

"You don't pick the mother of three, the soccer mom. You don't pick the prom queen," a prosecutor said during a 1997 trial of a Norristown police officer convicted of sexual assault.

"You pick the delinquent kid. You pick one of the street crawlers, people out there at 4 in the morning."


Strippers are flocking to Matthew Blit for sexual harassment lawsuits

April 25, 2010

Meet the patron saint of pole dancers.

Matthew Blit is a young Manhattan lawyer who's as popular with some New York strip club employees as big spenders with cash to burn in the Champagne room.

He's no skin-joint regular - just an employment-law specialist whose stream of splashy sexual harassment suits on behalf of workers from Scores, Sapphire and the Penthouse Executive Club has made him the go-to guy for lap dance lovelies.

"I'm the only guy in New York who's allowed to have strippers in the office," Blit joked. "It's business."

A married father of a 2-year-old boy, Blit has quickly become a favorite of topless dancers and cocktail waitresses who say they've been abused by strip club bosses.

"The guys who run these places can't control themselves," he said. "They're around beautiful naked women all night, but they don't understand they have to keep the hands off."

Blit estimates that 10% of his cases target the so-called gentlemen's clubs.

He has tangled repeatedly with Scores, worked on a class-action case against Sapphire on E. 60th St. and secured settlements against clubs in Las Vegas and Chicago.

Clients include Ruth Fowler, a former Scores dancer who chronicled strip club shenanigans in the book "No Man's Land."

The British beauty's $5 million suit against the W. 28th St. flesh palace, grinding its way through Manhattan Federal Court, alleges she was groped and forced into sex acts by club managers and smacked in the face with a sizzling steak.

"I find it fascinating the way they're managing to pin down Scores," said Fowler, branded by club lawyers as a flirt who was "frequently topless."

Blit also represents Francis Vargas, a former waitress who sued Scores in state court in 2007, charging workers smacked her rear end, told her to act like a "dumb blond" and offered her $500 for oral sex.

This month, he came to the defense of Nicole Hughes, a former Penthouse stripper who sued when she turned up on a Scores billboard.

A spokeswoman for Scores - whose owner, real estate honcho Robert Gans, also owns the Penthouse club - did not return calls.

In court papers, lawyers for the jiggle joints have rejected the women's claims and said any sex acts were consensual.

"That's typical," Blit said.

The 35-year-old attorney got his start working on personal injury and construction cases. Through word of mouth, he has carved out a chunk of his practice just for strip club cases.

"This is exactly what I always wanted to do," said the Brooklyn native, who started Levine & Blit in 2004 with veteran lawyer Leslie Levine.

His wife, he said, is "very understanding" of his attractive client base, though he added some of his professors from St.John's might not be.

"I'm sure the nuns wouldn't approve of what my clients are doing," said Blit, who went to St. John's as an undergrad and for law school. "Nor would they approve of what management is doing."

Cheetah patron, injured by stripper's shoe, wins $650,000 judgment

WEST PALM BEACH — A man who sued after being struck in the face by a strip dancer's shoe at the Cheetah nightclub, seriously injuring his eye, has won a $650,000 judgment.

Personal injury litigator Lake "Trey" Lytal said Thursday that while the club's insurance company agreed to the amount, getting the money to Cheetah's patron Michael Ireland still is not a done deal and may require more litigation.

Ireland, a roofer, has experienced chronic double vision since stripper Sakeena Shageer's shoe made contact with his eye at the suburban West Palm Beach club in September 2008, Lytal said.

"When this case was first filed, many people criticized it simply because it occurred at a strip club," Lytal said. "But we feel the $650,000 settlement goes to show that this was a serious case with serious injuries."

Shageer said she was walking along the bar, with her feet near patrons' heads, when she spun around in reaction to someone touching her, Lytal said. Shageer struck Ireland accidentally, he said.

Shageer did not respond to a phone message seeking comment.

Lytal said he was not sure precisely what kind of shoe Shageer was wearing except that it was a platform with a metal heel.

The registered agent of the Cheetah's parent company, Joe Rodriguez, did not respond to a message seeking comment. A manager at the club Thursday said he could not comment whether dancers are still allowed to shimmy on the bar.

Lytal could not either. "No, no. I wouldn't know about that," he said.

He is expecting another round of litigation in the case, since he does not anticipate the nightclub's insurance carrier to just up and pay the $650,000 judgment. Lytal said they were forced to sue the Cheetah and Shageer after the insurance company wouldn't pay.

Ireland suffered broken bones around his eye and in his nose and now has permanent double vision, Lytal said. He also has dizziness - "not a good thing for a roofer."

Strip club lawsuits have centered on the hazard of sky-high platform shoes strippers frequently wear. In New York, a man sued after a stripper giving him a lap dance swiveled and smacked him in the face with her shoe. A Broward man sued after a woman's stiletto flew off during a pole dance, shattering a mirror and cutting him.
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