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December 22, 2014

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Club kingpin Mike Galam is out as Crazy Horse Too sits dark

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John Katsilometes

The shuttered Crazy Horse Too gentlemen’s club on Industrial Road, as seen Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014.

Updated Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 | 2:13 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

The shuttered Crazy Horse Too gentlemen's club on Industrial Road, as seen Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014.

Click to enlarge photo

The shuttered Crazy Horse Too gentlemen's club on Industrial Road, as seen Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014.

Um, maybe it’s the location? Maybe the parcel on which Crazy Horse Too is simply cursed?

Not likely, but that enclave of debauchery is once more the site of a business closing — specifically, Crazy Horse Too. This is the gentlemen’s club snapped up by Los Angeles nightclub overlord Mike Galam and reopened in May 2013.

Galam had been fighting off efforts by rival topless club Crazy Horse III to use the club’s original name, and, in the most recent courtroom development in February, he was permitted to use the name.

But business has not been blossoming in the manner envisioned by Galam, whose club was mocked by competitors as “Crazy Horse Two” because (as they joked) only two dancers were working at any given time. The club is no longer open, as a sign has been taped to the door at the entrance reading “closed until further notice.” On Thursday night, save for one gentleman in a tank top strolling the property, the club was devoid of activity. The final night of business was Aug. 22, as city officials arrived that night and ordered the doors shut, acting because the business was operating under an expired liquor license. By midday Aug. 23, trucks had arrived to haul away hundreds of bottles of booze stockpiled at the club.

About a week before the city took action at the club, Galam posted on Facebook that he was stepping aside to cede Crazy Horse Too operations to business partner Craig Franze, founder of the concierge company Zexzoo who has conducted business with Spearmint Rhino gentlemen’s club (it was inaccurately stated in the first version of this column that Franze was a manager of the club). With Franze as the connection, Zexzoo furnished the Rhino with bottle service until that partnership was severed in mid-August.

As Galam has noted, this attempt at juggling of ownership and management is pending approval by the city of Las Vegas. Franze reportedly joined the Crazy Horse Too operation in June.

In a phone conversation on Sunday afternoon, a day after this column originally posted, Galam said the club fell into mismanagement after the death of his longtime girlfriend, Theresa Lloyd Anderson, in April in Summerlin. Anderson and Galam were parents to three children, and Galam has since moved back to Los Angeles to enroll the kids in school. He said the club's troubles mounted in the weeks after Anderson's death, as he focused more on his family than operating the business.

But those who have worked with Galam say the club was already a fortress of turmoil even before April, having amassed 18 open violations of its liquor and business license, including five arrests for prostitution on the property on March 13. Sources familiar with the club say it was because of concern over gaining a permanent liquor license that Galam has attempted to turn over ownership to the club to his father, Victor; his sister, Jackie Barnes; and Franze. The club had been using a temporary license since it re-opened last year. Also lifted was the Crazy Horse Too cabaret license, which permits the business from operating as a topless club. Though Galam says the club could be open within two weeks, it might be months before the new ownership lineup, headed by Franze, secures proper licensing to return to a full, topless operation. The cabaret license requires a full background check, including financial and criminal records, and that process can take up to 90 days to complete.

Galam stresses that he is totally out of the business, throwing confidence behind Franze and his long business history in Las Vegas. Galam strode into the Las Vegas market with a reputation as a successful club operator in Los Angeles, where he owns Bare Elegance Gentlemen's Club near Los Angeles International Airport and another Bare Elegance in the San Fernando Valley, But as he prepped to open business in Las Vegas, Galam was met with resistance from Crazy Horse III over the name of the club, finally earning the right to return Crazy Horse Too to the building after calling it The Horse for several months.

Opened in 1984, Crazy Horse Too has earned an infamous reputation through the tenure of Rick Rizzolo, who ran the club for years but was ordered off the property in 2006 after pleading guilty to tax-evasion charges. Rizzolo was involved in a lengthy, often farcical dispute with neighbor “Buffalo” Jim Barrier, who operated Buffalo Jim’s Auto & Marine repair shop when he wasn’t promoting small-scale wrestling events in town.

The two battled over territory on the small parcel on Industrial Road just east of the Interstate 15 on-ramp. Barrier consistently complained that Rizzolo was trying to run him off the property so Rizzolo could expand Crazy Horse Too’s parking lot. Barrier even challenged Rizzolo to a televised, ticketed wrestling match to settle the dispute.

In 2001, under Rizzolo’s watch, a Crazy Horse Too bouncer manhandled a visitor from Kansas City, Kan., named Kirk Henry, breaking Henry’s neck and rendering him a quadriplegic. Henry was awarded a $10 million settlement, which Rizzolo reportedly never paid, as the club operator spent a year and a day behind bars as part of his tax-evasion plea agreement. Just last month, Rizzolo was taken into custody again by federal agents on tax-evasion charges and has pleaded not guilty in this latest effort by the federal government to claim money it is owed by Rizzolo.

The club sat dormant for years after Rizzolo vacated before it was rescued, seemingly, by Galam. But Crazy Horse Too is locked up, again, and the club king from Los Angeles who fought to restore that famous moniker seems to have left the Las Vegas stage for good.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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