LAS VEGAS - Clark County District Court Judge Lee Gates on August 6 denied a motion to dismiss a harassment lawsuit filed by Buffalo Jim Barrier against his landlord, Frederick "Rick" Rizzolo, owner of the Crazy Horse Too topless bar.
Barrier, a former professional wrestler, is the owner of Allstate Auto and Marine Repair, and Buffalo Jim's Professional Wrestling School located next to Rizzolo's bar on Industrial Road. Barrier filed the lawsuit against RICRIZ LLC on June 19 alleging that Rizzolo is engaging in efforts to illegally force him out so he can expand his adult business.
Barrier claims that Rizzolo has never offered to pay him to move from his two leaseholds for which he pays forty-three cents per foot rent. Comparable rent in the same area of the city goes for at least one dollar per foot according to a real estate expert contacted by the Las Vegas Tribune.
Gus Flangas, attorney for Barrier, told the court that his client entered into a twenty-one year lease with a previous landlord. After exercising several options, the auto shop in 2002 still has nine years remaining on its lease, according to Flangas.
"For more than two years, there has been in existence, architectural plans, other renderings, and other plans providing for an expansion of the Crazy Horse. The Expansion Plans show the expanded Crazy Horse encompassing the entire Auto Marine Premises and possibly the BWF Premises," the complaint states.
The Nevada Department of Transportation in 1999 announced that Industrial Rd. will be widened by 2003 to six lanes thereby eliminating the Crazy Horse's front entrance and most of its parking lot. The plan does not show the road widening having an effect on Barrier's two businesses, however.
"For almost two years, the principals, officers, agents, representatives and or employees of the Crazy Horse have been engaged in an effort to force Barrier from their respective premises so that the Crazy Horse can be expanded pursuant to the Expansion Plans. The said effort centers on a continued pattern of interference with Barrier's quiet enjoyment of their respective premises, interference with their respective businesses and harassment," stated the complaint.
The complaint goes on to say, "ůsome of the Crazy Horse's efforts include: (a) Participating in the setting up of phony Fire Zone restrictions using city property (i.e. Fire Zone Restrictive Parking Signs) on the parking area directly outside the south end of the Auto Marine premises, and threatening to tow and actually towing vehicles parked in the phony zones while at the same time using the phony zones for their valet parking at night. (b) Harassing Barrier's customers and employees by threatening to tow their vehicles, and limiting the areas where they can park. Many prospective customers are hesitant to use Barrier's services because they are afraid that their cars will be towed if left with Barrier for repair. (c) Coning off for its own personal use, the parking areas in front of the Auto Marine premises and the BWF premises which makes access to the respective businesses contained thereon difficult. (d) For purposes of harassment, calling such agencies as the Fire Department to have their Fire Inspectors inspect the Auto Marine premises and the BWF premises, and calling such agencies as the City Parking Enforcement Unit to make special trips to the commercial center in the hopes of having Barrier's respective employees, agents, representatives and or patrons ticketed. (e) Continually interfering with Barrier's quiet enjoyment of their respective premises, wherein for example, there are numerous incidents involving Crazy Horse patrons being intoxicated and disorderly outside the Crazy Horse premises, there are numerous fights and beatings taking place, and there is trash strewn about the area by Crazy Horse patrons."
RICRIZ LLC attorney Dean Patti unsuccessfully argued that it was Barrier who was harassing Rizzolo.
"Mr. Barrier continued his defamatory campaign against Mr. Rizzolo and the Crazy Horse Too through (Las Vegas Tribune) newspaper articles written by Mr. (Steve) Miller," Patti told the court.
"In early 2001, two of Mr. Barrier's witnesses came forth and declared that the affidavits (they) filed against Mr. Rizzolo were false and that Mr. Barrier or Mr. (Steve) Miller had compelled them to sign these affidavits," said Patti.
The court rejected Patti's argument.
The affidavits, filed in District Court on August 14, 2000, described alleged acts of prostitution and sales of illegal drugs at the nightclub.
Rizzolo faces two jury trials in early 2003, one for an alleged wrongful death, the other for an alleged attempted murder at his bar.
Barrier claims that certain city officials are secretly assisting Rizzolo, a major contributor to political campaigns, in his effort to expand. City fire lane signs were posted on the side of the Allstate garage, and city parking enforcement scooters began patrolling the private center several times per day immediately following Rizzolo's purchase of the property on May 1, according to Barrier.
A trial date in Barrier's lawsuit has not yet been set. Calls to Frederick Rizzolo or his attorneys were not returned.
Copyright © 2002, Las Vegas Tribune. All Rights Reserved.