The suspension of Love Ranch owner Dennis Hof’s brothel license will stand, Nye County officials announced late Monday evening and it is no surprise that Hof is furious over the situation.
The license had been in question since Tuesday of last week when the Nye County Commission, sitting as the Liquor and Licensing Board, held a disciplinary hearing for alleged code violations at the Love Ranch.
The board demanded Hof provide them with documentation showing the buildings being utilized as the brothel were compliant with fire and building codes.
While Hof did produce a Certificate of Compliance from 2010 issued by Charles Abbott and Associates inspectors, Nye County Planning Director Darrell Lacy apparently decided it did not satisfy the county’s requirements due to modifications allegedly made to the buildings after 2010.
“Planning has evidence of new installations, alterations and/or changes of occupancy since 2010, none of which were permitted or approved with a Manufactured Home Division install sticker or certificate of compliance with the fire code,” Lacy stated in a letter to Hof. There were no specifics on exactly what had been installed, altered or had seen a change of occupancy.
Hof, on the other hand, has declared that the there were no modifications made to the buildings used as the brothel, which are partially modular home and partially stick-built. He also asserted that he believes the matter is not one of public safety at all, repeatedly stating that he feels several Nye County officials are attempting to cause him embarrassment due to the fact that he is running for Nevada Assembly District 36 this year.
“It’s all political motivation. I believe all this is because I dare to run for Assembly. I have been harassed ever since I announced I was getting involved in politics,” Hof said in an interview. He remarked that his business is now losing money and roughly 25 people are out of a job due to the closure of the Love Ranch brothel.
“The Love Ranch Brothel in Crystal, Nevada surrendered its privilege license in the early morning hours of February 25, 2018, during normal business hours,” a news release from the Nye County Sheriff’s Office detailed. “The closure came after a vote by the county commission February 20 and after subsequent meetings held on Feb. 21 and 22 failed to produce reconciliation.”
According to the release, Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly was notified to close the brothel on Friday, Feb 23 but held off until she could clarify the situation with legal counsel, as she had recused herself from the issue and not been present when the vote at Hof’s disciplinary hearing was taken.
“There was confusion about the applicability of the laws and conflicting information given by Nye County Director of Planning Darrell Lacy,” the news release stated. “Lorinda Wichman claimed that she was advised by the planning department that the fire marshal did advise the county of code violations. Sheriff Wehrly was present for a phone call to the state fire marshal, who stated that he did not advise the Nye County Planning Department that the Love Ranch was not in compliance with fire code. Sheriff Wehrly worked, at the fire marshal’s request, to negotiate a meeting with all parties involved.”
It was then decided by several Nye County officials, including Wehrly, commission chairman John Koenig, Nye County District Attorney Angela Bello and Nye County Manager Tim Sutton, to postpone retrieval of the license until after the meeting with the Nevada state fire marshal could be had, the release stated.
However, according to the information, Nye County Commissioner Lorinda Wichman had disagreed with the proposal to wait and, “…instructed Sheriff Wehrly to immediately close the brothel without waiting to hear the results of the fire marshal’s meeting on Monday. She indicated that this was an emergency life safety and health issue and, as such, could not wait until Monday for action to be taken.”
Wehrly then complied and sent deputies to retrieve the license and all prostitute work cards.
After Monday’s meeting
Regardless, the meeting with the Nevada state fire marshal took place Monday, Feb. 26 at approximately 2 p.m. What was discussed in that meeting has not been made public.
Nye County Public Information Officer Arnold Knightly would only say that the meeting resulted in the decision to keep the license suspension in place. When asked for details, Knightly responded, “It was a closed meeting with legal counsel. No further comment forthcoming.”
In order to have the license suspension lifted, Hof will have to bring his buildings into complete compliance with county and state codes and laws. To come into compliance, the county said Hof will need to obtain permits for all modifications made to the buildings and a current Certificate of Compliance for fire codes.
The restaurant, bar and lounge area at the Love Ranch remain open, as does Hof’s other Nye County brothel, the Alien Cathouse.
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @pvtimes