BEATTY — Mack Moore, 86, said this will be the third time he’s retired, but this time it’s for good.
The oldest proprietor in Nevada of the oldest profession, Moore, the owner of Angel’s Ladies Brothel, plans to retire Aug. 13. He had plans to close June 30, but said the five working girls he’s permitted agreed to pay their $125 license fees for the quarter starting July 1.
Sheriff Tony DeMeo said no one else has applied for the brothel license, meaning there will be one less set of blinking lights on Highway 95.
“What else can you do when you’re 86 but watch all these girls walk in and wish you were 25,” Moore said. “Business is just picking up. But when you get to be my age, you don’t have long to go.”
Moore retired from the funeral home business in Oregon in 1985, bought what was then Fran’s Star Ranch in 1997 and renamed it Angel’s Ladies after his wife of almost 25 years. They sold it in 2006 to Jonathon King for $2.14 million, which was supposed to include a $750,000 down payment, but Moore said King backed out after making a few $4,000 per month payments and the brothel license expired Sept. 30, 2007. Moore reopened the brothel after going through another time-consuming, expensive brothel application process.
In his latest attempt to sell the property, Moore sold Angel’s Ladies in September 2007 to Joe Rosenberry, of Oregon City, Ore., for $1.8 million. Moore claims Rosenberry paid $800,000 and signed a $1 million promissory note that was supposed to be paid in full within five years. But by September 2012, Moore said Rosenberry still had an unpaid balance of $457,000. In front of a court mediator May 13, a settlement was reached where Moore agreed to a new $150,000 promissory note to pay the remainder, which includes the buildings and 80 acres, with half, $75,000, due up front and the remaining $75,000 due in two years. But Moore said he hasn’t seen that $75,000 up-front payment yet.
Moore was called on the carpet in February for not reporting the brothel sale to the Nye County Licensing and Liquor Board. Nye County commissioners were set to schedule a date for a show-cause hearing to revoke Moore’s license, but District Attorney Brian Kunzi wanted to draw up a protocol for filing requests for show-cause hearings and the matter wasn’t reconsidered.
“I like what the district attorney did. If anyone is accused of something, that person needs to know what they’re accused of and they had to know who the accuser is. Because if you go to a show-cause hearing you don’t know damn well what they’re going to bring up,” Moore said. “Someone thought I sold this as a brothel, I sold this pure land and these buildings, that’s all I sold. That’s what the contract said.”
In a letter to commissioners by his attorney, Moore said he took back the business after Rosenberry abandoned the property, tolerated drug use, took prostitutes out of state and left the property vandalized.
Angels Ladies has a sign at the entrance that says, “no bar, no alcohol, no drunks, no illegal drugs, no pot smoking, no addicts. If you want to have fun, pleasure and good sex, ring bell.” A number of customers ask about the bar. But there isn’t one for two reasons, he said.
“My wife Angel, her son, a drunk killed him. She just didn’t want alcohol at all and the other is the license for a bar in a brothel is more expensive than the brothel license,” Moore said.
Angel’s Ladies attracts some passing-by business from motorists attracted by a plane crash and an old, weathered sign. The story about the plane is that the pilot of the Beechcraft C-45 became distracted by the girls standing outside when he was flying in and clipped a pole on the landing strip. Unlike some country brothels, where girls use CB radios to entice passing truck drivers to come in for a shower and a massage, Moore said the CB radio reception doesn’t go far in his area. The aging owner instead got on board with new technology, the Internet.
“We took this over in ‘97 and Fran only had one girl and there’s a man came through and he wanted one of the girls. He said listen you need a website. I said I don’t know anything about websites. He said I’m a web builder. He said if you let me have that girl all night long, I will build you a web page and he built that web page and hell we have had more girls than we knew what to do with. But then hell we would get to three quarters or a million dollars a year in sales, a truck driver would come in here and he had no problem pulling out $500, $600, $700,” Moore said.
The recession hurt business, he said, and while the Internet helped build up his business, technology later became a curse, with Global Positioning System (GPS) devices on trucks that track where the drivers go and the explosion in social media.
“The girls found out they could write their own web page. Anyone could fly into Las Vegas, and they know what to do, they can have a girl in their room and for them to drive 250 miles round-trip to come out here it’s a lot faster than that,” Moore said.
Moore said it’s been a good mind-opening experience running a brothel, adding some girls were being beat up by their pimps. He said three girls that beat a bad drug habit still write and call them maw and paw. One working girl, Jennifer, had a customer who wanted to marry her, which went on for six months.
“Finally she said I will marry him but I want Mack to give me away because my dad is an alcoholic, my mother’s a drug addict. So we went to Reno and she got married and I walked her down the aisle and gave her away. Now she’s got her real estate license, she’s back in North Carolina,” Moore said.
Moore was in trouble once before, when then-Sheriff Wade Lieseke Jr. filed charges for Angel’s Ladies providing out-call services at Beatty hotels, but Moore said the Nevada Supreme Court found there was no evidence he broke the law. The latest snafu with the county didn’t lead to his retirement, Moore said.
“We’ve got that $228,000 motor-home with only 27,000 miles on it. Angel thinks we should be going down the road, stopping at different places,” he said.