Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2007 | 6:55 a.m.
T he unraveling of a notorious Las Vegas strip club owner gained momentum early in the morning of Sept. 20, 2001. Kansas tourist Kirk Henry took a beating so bad in the parking lot of Rick Rizzolo's Crazy Horse Too strip club that it left him paralyzed and near death.
Henry, whose injuries were inflicted by club employees, eventually sued Rizzolo and was awarded $10 million. The beating, the latest in a long list of unsavory activities at the club, also invigorated an ongoing federal investigation of Rizzolo and his staff and operations.
Last year Rizzolo pleaded guilty to tax evasion. He was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison and ordered to sell the Crazy Horse Too. The sale of the club was supposed to provide the money needed to pay Henry, court-ordered fines and other debts totaling $24 million.
But as Las Vegas Sun reporter Jeff German reported on Sunday, the imprisoned Rizzolo has yet to find a buyer for the Crazy Horse Too. As a result, prosecutors have asked a federal court to allow seizure of the club by federal marshals if Rizzolo does not reach agreement with potential buyers. U.S. District Judge Philip Pro granted the request. He also gave Rizzolo a deadline of Sept. 30 to complete the sale.
We are glad federal officials are putting pressure on Rizzolo. He should not be able to stall and stall while his debts, especially to Henry, remain unpaid.
German also reported that court papers reveal that Rizzolo - who made millions and lived a lavish lifestyle as a strip club owner - has managed to hide his assets, an old trick often used by people under court order to forfeit large sums to pay judgments.
German detailed the immense real estate and cash that Rizzolo granted his longtime wife in a 2005 divorce, which took place about a month after Rizzolo began negotiating his plea agreement with the government.
If the Crazy Horse Too sale doesn't go through soon, or if the sale does not cover what Rizzolo owes, we hope the government sues Rizzolo's former wife on the argument that the divorce was a sham.