:Corruption in Nevada: 12

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May 8, 2002

Editorial from the Las Vegas Tribune
 (reprinted with permission)
 Las Vegas - Topless bar owner Rick Rizzolo recently kicked in $10,000 and organized a fundraiser for District Attorney candidate David Roger. At an earlier fundraiser held at his Canyon Gate home, Rizzolo introduced the candidate to most of the other adult business owners and their wallets. David Roger seems unconcerned that his chief fundraiser is facing at least three court dates for alleged beatings, robberies, and a wrongful death. He also doesn't seem troubled by the fact that Las Vegas Metro PD has two cases against Rizzolo's business waiting for filing by the DA's office.
 On May 24, 2001, police submitted a request for prosecution to the DA who obtained warrants for four of Rizzolo's employees charged with robbery, battery and conspiracy to commit robbery and coercion in the case of Kenneth Kirkpatrick. To date, District Attorney Stewart Bell has not taken action against any of Rizzolo's employees. On October 4, 2001, LV Metro asked the DA to prosecute yet-unnamed employees of the Crazy Horse for the Sept. 20, 2001 attempted murder of Kirk Henry. To date, the DA has not taken action on this request either - a lack of response that troubles dedicated street cops.
 Rizzolo claims to donate between $75,000 and $100,000 per year in political campaign contributions to candidates for judge, Sheriff, DA, and other offices, making him a bigger contributor than many Strip casinos. In addition to Roger's candidacy for DA, lame duck DA Stewart Bell is currently running for a seat on the District Court bench. Some feel that Bell does not deserve this higher office considering his lack of action so far in the two Rizzolo cases.
 If David Roger is elected to succeed Bell as District Attorney, he will decide whether to prosecute the employees of his most prolific campaign fundraiser and contributor. Though Mr. Rizzolo has told police that the men who were allegedly involved in the numerous beatings and robberies (one as recent as last week) were not his employees, former bar personnel have identified the alleged assailants as longtime club bouncers who they say were paid "off the books."
 Rizzolo's explanation sounds familiar. Recently the owners of outcall entertainment agencies claimed their employees were "independent agents," therefore the owners said they were not responsible for the employee's illegal acts. Another candidate for District Attorney, Assistant DA Mike Davidson, is getting a lot of press for going after the outcall problem, but what about the two Metro requests for prosecution pending against Rizzolo's apparently out of control bouncers? When is someone at the DA's office going to get to work on these cases? Or does that depend on who is about to become our next DA?
 This is not the first time David Roger has thumbed his nose at the laws he is entrusted to enforce. Remember the confessed heroine dealer, Peter Sheridan, who was given immunity in trade for testifying in the Binion case? Here is a guy who openly peddles poison, but because David Roger intensely wanted to win the trial at any cost (then run for DA), he let one our town's
biggest slimeballs walk out of the courtroom a free man after bragging that he sold Ted Binion a dozen balloons of heroin the night before he died!
 Then there was the August 2000 case of the 23 year old son of a politically connected family who was not prosecuted for beating up a 59 year casino owner and his 23-year-old daughter while they dined at the same eatery used for Roger's latest fundraiser. Police and witness reports clearly identified the assailant, but no action was taken by the DA . Candidate Roger later went to
the assailant's mother's place of business to sign autographs at a book signing.
 David Roger wants to be our next District Attorney. A lot of money is changing hands and Las Vegas' votes will be tabulated on paperless, non-redundant voting equipment which does not provide a system to do a reliable recount. When the campaign dust settles, we may never know who really won. ? Copyright Las Vegas Tribune, Inc.
 END OF PART TWELVE - stay tuned to
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