The District Attorney Shows His Priorities

COMMENTARY: Steve Miller
Las Vegas Tribune
July 10, 2002

Prosecutors with the Clark County District Attorney's office are about to expend tens-of-thousands of taxpayer's dollars to take to trial a man charged with allegedly stalking and trying to extort casino mogul Steve Wynn.

This taxpayer funded folly is happening while the same DA has continuously refused to prosecute persons accused of robbing, beating, and possibly killing patrons at a politically connected topless bar.

Donald Eugene Phillips claimed to be Wynn's long-lost brother and allegedly wrote Wynn numerous letters threatening to kill him or expose their "relationship" if Wynn didn't pay him $50 million. Phillips alleges he and Wynn have the same father who left them $100 million to divide in 1963.

The magnitude of the Wynn case should be insignificant compared to the robberies and beatings at the topless bar - requested prosecutions that are being ignored by the same DA who is going all-out for Wynn. Keep in mind that Phillips never got his hands on Wynn to rob or beat him as happened to the hapless patrons of the topless bar.

Las Vegas Metro PD has prepared two robbery and assault cases against the Crazy Horse Too bar that are waiting for filing by the same DA's office that is slobbering all over Wynn's case. One assault case has been waiting for prosecution for over a year!

On October 4, 2001, Metro PD 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 - a lack of response that troubles dedicated street cops.

Meanwhile, the Clark County Grand Jury has indicted Donald Phillips because they believed he was lying about Wynn being his brother. So what - when tourists continue to be robbed and beaten on Industrial Road!

Evidently the District Attorney was too distracted kissing Mr. Wynn's behind to read a September 20, 2002, police report that stated, "As plaintiff was exiting the doorway of the Crazy Horse, the bouncer came up and grabbed him from behind, twisted his neck and forced him violently to the ground. Plaintiff was in severe pain and could not move his legs."

That plaintiff was Kirk Henry, a Kansas tourist that walked into the Crazy Horse on his own two feet, and several hours later was rolled out on a gurney - a quadriplegic for the rest of his life.

Of course, Kirk Henry is not Steve Wynn.

Detectives spent about two hours searching the Industrial Road bar following Henry's beating and left with credit card receipts, personnel information and a few security camera videotapes, said Lt. John Alamshaw of Metro's robbery unit. Even after Metro conducted a raid and gathered incriminating evidence, Stewart Bell - our District Attorney - did nothing.

Rick Rizzolo, the purported owner of the Crazy Horse, claims to donate between $75,000 and $100,000 per year in campaign contributions to candidates for judge, Sheriff, DA, and other offices. This boast, if true, makes him a bigger contributor than Wynn. However, Wynn is no slouch in this department either. Wynn is famous for his monetary and in-kind donations of polling, direct mail, and personal phone calls to his suppliers for financial support to his chosen candidates come election time.

Outgoing District Attorney Stewart Bell is currently running for a seat on the Clark County District Court. That takes lots of money - so its not surprising that he turned his back when Scott David Fau was found beaten to death next to railroad tracks behind Rizzolo's topless joint on Aug. 4, 1995. A lawsuit in that case claims the bar permitted its employees to beat Fau to death after he was ejected. Such an incident should warrant a look-see by a District Attorney, but not here!

Of course, Scott Fau was also not Steve Wynn.

Or how about the case of Kenneth Kirkpatrick? Kirkpatrick told police he and several friends went to the Crazy Horse on May 24, 2001, for a bachelor party. Kirkpatrick and his friends had a disagreement regarding the amount of the bill and asked for the manager. According to a police report, Kirkpatrick said bar bouncers threatened him and he was forced to sign a charge on his Visa card for $220 and that "the bouncers were shoving (him) around." The report then states that bar employees knocked him to the ground and punched and kicked him in the face and back of the head. Police submitted the case to prosecutors who obtained warrants for four Crazy Horse Too employees. Joseph Melfi, Peter Pachio, Phillip Salemi and Mark Tenzer were charged with robbery, battery and conspiracy to commit robbery and coercion.

After the warrants were issued, the District Attorney once again ignored Metro's request for prosecution - while the same DA is now going to the mat for Wynn! What gives? Wasn't Kirkpatrick's fate worse than Steve Wynn allegedly being extorted out of some money?

Of course, Kenneth Kirkpatrick is not Steve Wynn either.

Others who may soon have the responsibility as DA of choosing which cases merit prosecution are also making the Star Chamber rounds gathering political donations. For example, David Roger has already collected $50,000 through Rizzolo.

If Roger is elected our next DA, do you actually expect him to grant Metro's repeated requests for prosecution of his biggest campaign contributor? Is this the type of law enforcement our town deserves? Of course not.

Justice should not be for sale, but when a comparison can so easily be made between four cases; one that is all talk and no action; and three that involved way too much action, then it should be easy to come to the same conclusion I did: our District Attorney's office has been seriously compromised.

Steve Miller is a former Las Vegas City Councilman. In 1991, the readers of the Review Journal voted him the "Most Effective Public Official" in Southern Nevada. Visit his website at: