By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
"I wish everyone would just leave the poor dead man alone," he says. "He was a well-respected employee who was qualified to do his job. For whatever reason, he wanted his death to appear like a homicide. But he certainly wasn't very skilled in making it look that way."
As the year ends, the creators of illusion see brighter prospects ahead. Millard and Bird are optimistic that Cabaret Royale's legal woes are minor setbacks to Salah's dream of a worldwide topless network.
The next step, Millard says, is producing "premium cable broadcasts. And a myriad of media-oriented ventures...If and when we get into media activity, it will be based on the club network. They're big plans, but we are going to do it."
These are exciting times for Cabaret Royale and the inestimably ambitious Izzedin. In the past few months alone, the Dallas topless enterprise has played host to two British television crews, a German broadcast group, and a Finnish film crew.
"We are actively pursuing projects from major U.S. cities to the Far East," Millard adds. "What we are trying to do is take a less than acceptable business and make it into one that has gained acceptance."
Things are so hectic, Millard can scarcely afford to take time out to quash rumors that Cabaret Royale is going bust.
Cabaret Royale and the Izzedin family will continue forging ahead, he says--while the Labor Department pursues its $11 million case, while Lindsey's lawyer connects the dots among Izzedin's numerous corporations, and while the bankruptcy court sifts through a labyrinth of Izzedin corporations for hidden assets.
Meanwhile, Leila Izzedin remains behind closed doors, politely shunning requests for interviews. Fuoad Izzedin, known as The Professor, occasionally emerges from self-imposed obscurity to strengthen the notion that Salah is not the network's leader. And Salah Izzedin remains out of reach, reportedly shuttling from country to country in search of exotic club locales and rich investors excited by Cabaret Royale's high concept.
Only Playboy has ever had it so good.