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More Drama for Rick’s Cabaret: Hiring a Hood as General Manager Isn’t Helping Things

This week Rick’s got dragged into a lawsuit involving a vehicular manslaughter case. Now this:

Las Vegas- A former Crazy Horse Too shift manager who served time in prison after a federal racketeering probe at the topless club is back in the business in a big way.

Vincent “Vinny” Faraci, 53, was hired last week as general manager of a larger, high-profile strip club, Rick’s Cabaret, formerly called Scores and before that, Jaguars.

Since his hiring, employees said, several supervisors have been fired in a management shake-up at the posh 25,000-square-foot club, which has six stages, marble floors, a mezzanine, high-flying trapeze acts, a piano bar, a steak house and an intimate VIP salon with fireplaces.

Rick’s Cabaret International, a publicly traded company based in Houston, purchased the palatial club in September for $21 million and is waiting for Metro Police to complete a routine background investigation of the company so that it can receive its permanent liquor license and adult dancing permit from Clark County. Records show the company is operating the club with temporary licenses.

Hiring Faraci, with all of his baggage, in the middle of the licensing investigation is being viewed by some within law enforcement and the strip club business as a gutsy move.

Faraci is the son of a man whom law enforcers have identified as a member of the Bonanno crime family in New York. Until his retirement from the Crazy Horse Too in February 2005, Faraci was one of the right-hand men to the former owner of that club, Rick Rizzolo, the chief target of the federal probe.

The FBI and IRS spent a decade investigating Rizzolo’s alleged ties to the mob, his cash business practices and a series of patron beatings at Crazy Horse Too. In June 2006, Rizzolo and 15 of his ranking employees, including Faraci, struck deals with the government to plead guilty to failing to report their share of dancers’ tips to the IRS. Both Rizzolo and Faraci spent several months in prison in 2007, and Rizzolo was banned from getting back into the topless club business. Faraci was not.

He returned to the industry several months ago, when, with the help of lawyers David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, he obtained a key employee license from the county to work at the smaller Eden Gentlemen’s Club.

“He’s on good terms with the county as far as his licensing is concerned,” Schonfeld said, adding that his client won approval after a Metro Police background investigation.

But according to county spokesman Dan Kulin, the county’s Business License Department had recommended denying Faraci a license. His attorneys, Kulin said, appealed to a county hearing officer, who overturned the denial.

Eric Langan, president and chief executive of Rick’s Cabaret International, which operates 19 upscale clubs across the country, said he’s aware of Faraci’s background and is “optimistically cautious” about bringing him on board.

“So far, Vinny’s done all the right things,” Langan said. “The girls love him, and he’s great with the customers.”

Langan said his company talked with Metro Police and had a long discussion with Faraci about his past before hiring him.

“He was looking for a home, and we’re hoping it will work out with us,” he said. “I think he’s gotten a bum rap.”

Chesnoff added, “He’s done everything he’s been asked to do. He paid his taxes and did his time.”

Langan said he’s not sure whether the company will seek a key employee license for Faraci because it has a regional manager in Las Vegas who oversees him. Faraci, he said, is only responsible for dealing with the dancers and other employees and is not involved in the accounting end of the club.

Efforts to obtain more information and records from Metro Police and the county about Faraci’s licensing efforts were unsuccessful this week.


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