Nevada businessman and Assembly District 36 Republican nominee Dennis Hof has had two of his business licenses yanked and the Love Ranch brothel and Crystal Watering Hole have now been shut down.
The closures came after the Nye County Liquor and Licensing Board, comprised of the five county commissioners and Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly, voted 3-2-1 in favor of not renewing the brothel and liquor licenses associated with those establishments. Commissioners Lorinda Wichman, Dan Schinhofen and Butch Borasky supported the action while John Koenig and Donna Cox voted against, with Wehrly abstaining.
Hof was obviously angry over the situation, decrying the action as what he felt to be yet another politically-motivated attack on himself.
“This is all designed to embarrass me some more so I won’t get elected,” Hof stated in a brief interview following the decision.
Commissioner Wichman, as chairwoman of the liquor and licensing board, started off the item during the commission’s Tuesday, August 7 meeting. She began by asking for Hof’s licenses to be reviewed separately from others that were also up for renewal.
“We have had situations with this individual and this establishment,” Wichman said of Hof’s Love Ranch brothel, citing a series of reported violations established by previous show cause hearings. “Our Nye County code… says that the applicant will provide a renewal form 30 days prior to the expiration date,” she continued. “Failure shall result in an automatic revocation. As I understand it, this was not applied for this year until well beyond that date.”
For these reasons, Wichman proclaimed she would not be able to support renewing the brothel license and asked the board for a motion.
Cox interjected to explain that Hof was not in attendance that morning because of a medical appointment and as such, she would prefer if the matter were tabled until the commission’s next meeting. “So they will have a chance to come and speak for themselves on this. I don’t believe it is fair to take action at this time …”
Wichman replied that she understood Cox’s concerns but that the item was not a show cause hearing and therefore, did not require Hof’s presence. She then added another to her list of reasons she did not believe Hof’s licenses should be renewed, stating, “Untrue statements of material fact would also disqualify him for renewal. At the show cause hearing in February 2018, he not only misled this board but he also provided false testimony when I was holding the proof in my hand.”
Cox was not budged and forged ahead with a motion to table the item until August 21 but that motion died for lack of a second.
Wichman then turned to liquor and licensing board vice chair Koenig, and asked him to take over the board so she could take action herself. “I will make a motion to not renew this license, based on everything I have just read,” she said. Schinhofen and Borasky both quickly offered seconds and Koenig called for the vote. Wichman, Schinhofen and Borasky offered “a yes” while Koenig and Cox voted against.
Koenig then called out the result of the vote as 3-2 but Wichman contradicted him, stating it was 4-2. In apparent confusion, Koenig clarified with Wehrly, “What was your vote Sharon?” Wehrly answered “nay” meaning she was voting against the motion, which would result in a 3-3 deadlock.
Brief discussion between the commissioners to clarify the vote was interrupted by Wehrly. “Can we talk for just a second before we go ahead with this?” Wehrly requested. “I’d like to have a break.”
Koenig returned the chairmanship to Wichman, who told Wehrly that she did not believe it was an appropriate time to take a break. Wichman then pressed, “Do I understand your vote correctly, sheriff?”
At that time, Wehrly decided that although she had already lodged her vote, she wanted to abstain because of the lawsuit Hof had filed against her, which resulted in the final vote of 3-2-1. The item for Hof’s liquor license at Crystal Watering Hole met with the exact same vote, 3-2-1 in favor of not renewing.
Nye County Sheriff’s Office personnel were sent out the retrieve the licenses in question, as well as all work cards associated with the businesses. Though Hof’s representatives demanded a warrant for the seizure, once the warrant was obtained, the licenses were handed over without incident.
Hof has declared that he will fight back against the county, vowing to file an appeal. He stated that he felt there were inconsistencies with the reasons given for his licenses being taken and he did not understand how he could have been expected to make his renewal request and fee payments by the cited deadline, as he claimed he had not received the notice in a timely manner. In conclusion, Hof also said he felt it was wrong of Schinhofen and Borasky to have voted on the item at all.
“Because of the two federal lawsuits against Schinhofen and the one federal lawsuit against Borasky, they should have recused themselves, like Sharon did because of the lawsuit against her,” Hof said with agitation. “All three of them, every time something goes on the agenda about me, they do their little speech, they stand up and leave the room, they recuse themselves. They didn’t do it this time because they are wreaking havoc. This is Schinhofen’s and Borasky’s way of saying, ‘(expletive)-you Hof, we didn’t get elected because of you.’ And that is really the reason why.”
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org