Las Vegas Sun

June 24, 2021

Currently: 98° — Complete forecast

Deadline for club’s sale looms

Time may finally be running out on a strip club that is open around the clock.

The Crazy Horse Too is supposed to be sold by June 30 under a plea deal worked out between owner Rick Rizzolo and federal authorities last year.

With less than two weeks left until that deadline, however, there is no indication that a sale is imminent.

Restaurateur Mike Signorelli is leasing the topless club from Rizzolo, who is serving a 366-day prison sentence on federal tax charges.

Although Signorelli has been trying for months to put together a deal to buy the club from Rizzolo, that plan appears to have fallen apart, officials said.

The Las Vegas City Council granted Signorelli a permanent liquor license on April 18 on the condition that he close escrow on the club by June 30.

Although that now seems unlikely, the council is not scheduled to revisit the issue before that date. The item is not on Wednesday's agenda and the next council meeting is not until July 11.

Councilman Gary Reese, whose ward includes the club, said he supported the license request with the understanding that Signorelli would be ready to buy the club before the deadline.

"It's my feeling that if Signorelli does not buy this club by 12:01 on June 30, we should yank the liquor license," Reese said.

Under the federal plea agreement, the business will go into federal receivership if it is not sold by June 30. Because the federal government has no desire to go into the adult-entertainment business, the future of the club would be in jeopardy.

If another owner, even the federal government, took over the club, it presumably would have to acquire its own permit to replace the current one in Signorelli's name.

The City Council would not need to take action to revoke the license. If Jim DiFiore, the city's licensing director, determines that the conditions under which the license was granted to Signorelli have been violated, he can do so without council authorization.

"We've done everything we can as a city," Reese said. "This whole thing smells funny to me."

Some inside and outside City Hall have said that from the start.

Former Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Miller, a vocal critic of the council on this issue, says Signorelli is simply a front who allowed Rizzolo to continue to exercise control over the club even after he signed the plea deal requiring him to sell it.

Signorelli, Miller says, has used his position as a legitimate businessman to get approval for the liquor license and keep the business open - with Rizzolo still calling some of the shots.

"He never intended to buy it," Miller said.

City Attorney Brad Jerbic advised the council against granting the license, saying Signorelli had not lived up to the terms of his previous temporary licenses. A report from Metro Police also advised against granting the license, saying that Rizzolo had managed to keep some control of the club under Signorelli.

Despite the objections, the council granted the license to Signorelli.

In September the City Council revoked Rizzolo's liquor license after he and 16 employees agreed to federal plea deals, shutting down the club.

A little more than a month later, however, the council granted Signorelli the first of two temporary liquor licenses. In April the council granted Signorelli a permanent license.

However, unless the club is sold within the next 11 days, Rizzolo may learn that "permanent" actually means "until June 30."