Actor Joe Pesci, right, who won an Oscar for his supporting role in the 1990 mob classic “Goodfellas,” is apparently going into refined cahoots with Las Vegas convicted racketeer Rick Rizzolo, left, planning to slice up the payola coming from opening up several pizza joints called “Pesci’s Pizza Parlors” in Las Vegas, with several others in a foreign country.
Tough-guy actor Pesci is keeping the business dealings close to the cuff, though, disavowing any connection with Rizzolo, simply saying his longtime friend and personal assistant Tommy DeVito – and story source – “was confused.”
Pesci quickly switched gears, saying he is partnering with Las Vegas businessmen Sig Rogich, a prominent public relations that advised the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and Elias Ghanem II, who works for Wynn Resorts in the executive training program. Ghanem’s dad, Dr. Elias Ghanem, was known as the “physican to the stars,” serving celebrities including Elvis Presley, Liberace, Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby, Ann-Margret, and Wayne Newton.
Currently finalizing the new business paperwork, they plan to be in business in four or five months, according to longtime Pesci associate Tommy DeVito, who has lived in Las Vegas since 1970.
DeVito, 80, and Pesci, 66, have been guitar-playing pals since they were 11-years-old and living in New Jersery. DeVito, center, went on to form the Frankie Valli-led Four Seasons and was the group’s leading guitarist until a falling out with the group over his mounting gambling debts.
Pesci is a producer of the “Jersey Boys,” a musical based on the lives of the Four Seasons. A spinoff of the Broadway hit has been playing in Las Vegas for a year at The Palazzo.
Pesci and DeVito are such close friends that Pesci called DeVito a couple of months before the filming began on Martin Scorcese’s “Casino” to say he was taking the name Tom DeVito for his character, a mob thug based on Las Vegas hit man Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro.
Rick Rizzolo, 50, received notoriety during the Las Vegas “G-Sting” federal trial, causing former Justice Department Organized Strike Force prosecutor Stan Hunteroton to exclaim to the court: “Not since the reign of Anthony Spilotro and his associates has there been a more infamous hoodlum than Rick Rizzolo.”
Rizzolo was among 17 defendants, including Las Vegas city officials, later found guilty on a related charge. He served 11 months of a sentence of one year and one day before his release last year. Rizzolo was also ordered to sell the Las Vegas topless cabaret Crazy Horse Too business and placed under three years of supervised release and fined $250,000.
‘Dying’ to taste their pizza? Maybe they could open up a pizza parlor in the planned Las Vegas Mob Museum?