Are There Double Standards For Nudie Bar Applicants?
COLUMN: Steve Miller
Las Vegas Tribune
January 24, 2001

In May 1999, Commissioners Bruce Woodbury, Mary Kincaid and Yvonne Atkinson Gates, along with Lt. Tim Leveque of the Metropolitan Police Department and the county Business License Director pleaded with commissioners to send agents to Atlanta to investigate Jack Galardi the owner of Cheetahs strip club in Las Vegas. At that time Las Vegas police believed that Galardi was under investigation by a federal grand jury.

Galardi wanted approval to build Jaguars strip club on West Desert Inn Road.

The cost of the Atlanta trip was to be $11,000. Commissioner Dario Herrera argued that the trip was not necessary and that he could not support spending the taxpayer's money in that way. Commissioner Erin Kenny supported his stance. The discussion played down the fact that the cost would be reimbursed by the applicant.

Woodbury, Kincaid and Gates argued that it is not prudent to allow a strip club -- which would be the only one in the unincorporated county -- to open without looking into the owners' background. The last background check conducted on Galardi was in 1990.

"We believe he should be investigated and investigated thoroughly so we know who we're giving a license to," said business license director Ardel Jorgenson at the hearing. Even with this strong admonition, three of the commissioners sided with Commissioner Herrera who led the charge to deny the travel funding to Metro.

Since that hearing in 1999, Herrera has been appointed Chairman of the Commission. Herrera is also being spoken of as a contender for the new congressional seat. This takes big money and friends in the right places.

On the other side of city/county line is the case of presidential advisor Sig Rogich. His application for a liquor license has been put on hold by the City Council to give more time to complete a background check on Ali and Hassan Davari of Houston, the potential buyers of Sig's property who want to convert it into a topless club.

The Davaris have adult clubs in Houston and want to turn Rogich's building into a club called The Boardroom. The item was held because the city had discovered some criminal trouble at some of the brother's Houston clubs.

In contrast to Herrera's action in the county regarding Galardi's application, no travel expense is being spared by the city in the quest to learn all there is about the Davaris. Of course, Councilman Mike McDonald is abstaining on the issue because of his close friendship with a competing topless club owner.

In 1999, Commissioner Herrera wanted investigators to limit their inquiry to intelligence they could gather locally on Galardi. Today, the City Council wants unlimited intelligence gathered on the Davaris. What is the difference?

Some speculate that since the city was accused of allowing strip club owner Frederick Rizzolo to complete a 6,000-square-foot addition and then seek and receive a zoning change after the addition was built and open, that the latest version of the council under Mayor Oscar Goodman is being more careful than when Jan Jones was Mayor.

Jones and Councilman Mike McDonald were noted as frequent visitors to Rizzolo's Canyon Gate home and took some heat for it. Nonetheless, Rizzolo's expansion was approved after the fact and resulted in a nasty lawsuit brought against the city by nearby property owners.

Based on the difference between the behavior of city and county elected leaders on the same subject -- the county limiting their inquiry to intelligence they can gather locally -- and the city looking to other states to fully investigate nudie bar applicants, I cannot help but wonder if there is a double standard?

Or is it a case of who you know?

Clark County Commissioner Dario Herrera may need to answer this question before he decides to run for higher office.

Copyright © Steve Miller