A tale of fists and two tough guys


It’s Friday and time for a street story straight from the Boulevard.

The Review-Journal’s obituary pages this week noted the passing of longtime local court bailiff Seymour “Sy” Freedman, a tough old guy who in addition to being a World War II veteran and former New York City cop was also known as a close friend and collector for legendary Las Vegas loan shark Jasper Speciale. Freedman occasionally collected campaign contributions for local politicians, too.

Speciale, whose savings and loan was named the Tower of Pizza, was a mob-connected guy who was pursued by law enforcement for years. Salty Sy was his overly protective pal.

How protective?

Now begins our story.

The byline of the Review-Journal’s bulldog federal court reporter Jeff German is well-known to readers. He has broken countless stories, won a pile of awards and was a longtime columnist at the Las Vegas Sun.

But not even most avid readers of German’s work will remember back when he was writing hard-hitting material on Speciale’s man Freedman, whose buddies didn’t like what they read and retaliated by flattening the tires of the reporter’s car and smashing its windshield.

German was no shrinking violet. He confronted ex-boxer Freedman, who decided not to follow the Marquess of Queensberry Rules.

Freedman threw a drink in German’s face and then sucker-punched him. (How many politicians and working-class crooks have wanted to do that over the years?)

German did precisely the right thing. He brushed himself off and kept on reporting on the mob in Las Vegas.

STRIP TEASE: Sheriff Doug Gillespie and other top members of Southern Nevada law enforcement meet monthly with corporate casino security chiefs. It is known as a collegial gathering at which information on a variety of security-themed subjects is shared.

Frankly, some of those security bosses should apologize to the sheriff for failing to maintain a handle on the proliferation of pimps enjoying first-class treatment at the resorts.

It’s no secret that certain casino nightclubs have gained reputations as places that cater to the pandering crowd.

FEATHERED FRIENDS: In all her feathered finery, the showgirl remains one of the great iconic images in Las Vegas history.

Now Lisa Gioia-Acres has written an attractive book about the very Vegas phenomenon. She will sign copies of “Showgirls of Las Vegas” at 4 p.m. April 6 at the Nevada State Museum at 309 South Valley View Blvd.

Expect some of the great dancers from Vegas past to drop by.

OSCAR TIME: Southern Nevada advertising man Tom Letizia scored major victories representing the wildly successful campaigns of Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman. Now Letizia is representing another Oscar: El Paso, Texas, mayoral candidate Oscar Leesa.

DRONE PROTEST: Ever so quietly, the peace activists associated with the Nevada Desert Experience staged a protest Wednesday outside Creech Air Force Base near Indian Springs. Eight protesters were cited. Among them: the Rev. Louis Vitale. The group has been protesting the use of drone aircraft technology, an issue that only now is gaining mainstream media attention.

ON THE BOULEVARD: A cleanup crew has been working behind the controversial and shuttered Crazy Horse Too. The long-troubled Industrial Road topless club is on its way to reopening. ... More CLS Transportation limo drivers now getting work at Royalty Limos. CLS is owned by Charlie Horky, currently under federal indictment. Royalty is owned by Olympic Garden boss Pete Eliades. ... Striking cabdrivers looked tired as they assembled Wednesday morning for a protest outside U.S. District Court. They seem to be having trouble attracting media attention lately. I will bet that they could expose the symbiotic relationship between certain casino insiders and local prostitution services.

Have an item for Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to jsmith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295.