Hit & Run

Nevada Assembly Candidate Dennis Hof Loses Brothel License

Love Ranch, a brothel owned by Nevada Assembly candidate Dennis Hof, loses their brothel license.

|

Wikimedia Commons

The Love Ranch, one of the seven legal brothels owned by Nevada Assembly candidate Dennis Hof, lost its brothel license last week.

According to the Nye County Licensing and Liquor Board, Hof failed to apply for renewal and pay fees on time. This is the first time in the board's 10-year history that a brothel license has been permanently revoked.

Hof has been running afoul of county rules a lot, authorities say. In February 2018, the Love Ranch's license was suspended after Hof failed to obtain permission before modifying several mobile homes on site. The brothel was eventually reopened in April.

Hof claimed back in February that this was political retribution for his challenging state Assemblyman James Oscarson in the Republican primary. "They're out of hand. It's the same stuff they're doing to Donald Trump," he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. They're using government power to put me out of business and discredit me."

In 2017, Hof had failed to pay county fees and complete necessary paperwork but was not penalized then.

This past April, citizens of Lyon and Nye counties, both of which contains brothels owned by Hof, drafted ballot referendums to ban brothels in their counties. Voters in Lyon County will see this on their ballots in November, while Nye county voters won't likely see a brothel vote on their ballots until 2020.

Hof argues that such measures won't eliminate prostitution, as crusaders claim, but simply lead to more dangerous working conditions for those involved. "The brothels are a bit like Walmart and church: Nobody forces you to go, but when you need something, you know where they're at," said Hof to the Las Vegas Review. "Live and let live. Don't try to impose your views on other people."

Regardless, Hof has said he plans to sell the brothels in both Lyon and Nye Counties so he can focus on his political aspirations without being trapped by a system that he believes is out to get him. In June, he beat three-time incumbent Oscarson in the GOP primary and will now face Democratic candidate Lesia Romanov in November.

But some women who work at the Love Ranch are optimistic that they will be back in business soon. "Dennis has told us to keep a good attitude," said Sonja Bandolik, an employee at Love Ranch. "He's got deep pockets. If it's humanly possible, he's going to make this happen."

Others have fled to northern Nevada to work at another brothel owned by Hof. And workers at other brothels Hof owns have been coming to his defense on social media.

In order for Love Ranch to reopen, Hof must file a new brothel application and be approved by the Nye County Licensing and Liquor Board.