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Hof files lawsuit against Nye County officials in wake of business closures

The battle between Nevada businessman Dennis Hof and Nye County now has yet another lawsuit in the mix, with Hof filing a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief as well as damages following the forced closure of two of his businesses.

“Nye County’s legal counsel is currently reviewing Mr. Hof’s fourth lawsuit and will respond accordingly,” Nye County Public Information Officer Arnold Knightly stated when reached for comment. “The county has ongoing issues and concerns regarding his business in Crystal, which led to his privilege license not being renewed. We will vigorously defend the board’s decision.”

On Aug. 7, the Nye County Liquor and Licensing Board declined to renew Hof’s brothel and liquor licenses. The liquor and licensing board is made up of the five sitting Nye County commissioners and the Nye County sheriff. Commissioners Lorinda Wichman, Dan Schinhofen and Butch Borasky voted in favor of not renewing Hof’s licenses, while John Koenig and Donna Cox voted against and Sheriff Sharon Wehrly abstained, resulting in a vote of 3-2-1. The associated establishments, the Love Ranch South brothel and Crystal Watering Hole, were consequently shut down.

During the Aug. 7 meeting, Wichman outlined numerous reasons for her desire to not renew Hof’s licenses. She cited violations of county code addressed at previous show cause hearings, Hof’s failure to submit the renewal paperwork by the deadline and testimony Hof made at a February hearing that she declared she knew to be untrue.

Hof, on the other hand, asserted that the county was simply trying to get back at him and to undermine his bid for election. Hof is aspiring to political office, running as the Republican nominee in the race for Nevada District 36 Assemblyman against Democrat Lesia Romanov.

He immediately pledged to fight back against the license revocations and three days after the August 7 meeting, he filed his newest federal lawsuit. The document has been filed with the United State District Court of Nevada under Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-01492-GMN-NJK. Hof is being represented by Randazza Legal Group. The suit names Nye County, the licensing board and Schinhofen and Borasky, in their personal and official capacities.

“We think that the Nye County government seems to have a problem understanding what due process means,” attorney Marc Randazza stated of the situation. “And if it’s going to take another federal lawsuit to help instruct them on that, that is what we will have to do.”

The lawsuit alleges violations of Hof’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as rights laid down in the Nevada Constitution. The fact that Schinhofen and Borasky, who Hof has other suits filed against, did not disclose this information prior to voting, as well as the lack of notice to Hof or opportunity provided to him to speak on the matter, violated his due process rights, the lawsuit contends. The action taken was retaliation against Hof’s other lawsuits and therefore, violated Hof’s First Amendment rights, the lawsuit claims.

Hof said he was anticipating that the case would be heard within the next week and Randazza confirmed that was their hope.

This lawsuit is the fourth filed by Hof against Nye County or its officials in less than a year.

The first was filed in late December 2017 after commissioner Borasky made comments from the dais regarding a fear for his life and naming Hof, along with Nye County Republican Central Committee Chairman Joe Burdzinski and Don Cox as people for authorities to speak to if something should happen to him. The second came in February as a result of a sign reading “Lovers at Play,” which the county required Hof to censor. Both of these lawsuits are still pending.

The third lawsuit was filed in June in response to the county’s seizure of a trailer-mounted political sign located on Homestead Road in Pahrump. That suit was quickly taken up by a federal judge as an emergency action. The judge, determining a lack of adequate due process, ruled that the county must immediately return Hof’s sign.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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