Wednesday, April 16, 1997 | 6:40 a.m.
CARSON CITY -- Maybe it's the orgy room. Or perhaps it's the fine French cuisine.
Whatever the reason, phone calls are flooding into Taxation Committee Chairman Bob Price's office from people wondering how they can be included on an April 22 tour of the Mustang Ranch brothel near Reno. Price says legislators, lobbyists and the general public are invited.
"Everybody and his brother has called and wanted to get in on it," said Price, D-North Las Vegas.
Calls began coming in after a story about the tour in the SUN on Friday also ran in other newspapers statewide.
Price's secretary, Carol Thomsen, took at least one call every 10 minutes on Monday. "She was going wacko," he said.
Price said the tour is a "fact-finding" mission to teach legislators and others about an industry that he says generates at least 30 percent of the tax money in some counties.
He said those who take the tour will be fed as good a meal as they could get at Adele's, an upscale restaurant in Carson City popular among legislators and lobbyists. The Mustang Ranch is paying for the food.
The tour also includes a visit to the orgy and Jacuzzi rooms and to the living quarters.
George Flint, a lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Owner's Association, said the tour gives legislators a better understanding of the industry. Thirty-four legal brothels operate in Nevada. They are outlawed in Carson City and in Clark and Washoe counties.
"If I could take every Nevadan through there, 99 percent would be apostles," he said.
Price, who has worked to improve working conditions, conducted a tour two years ago for about 50 people. Women who don't work in brothels usually aren't allowed inside.
This year, there is room on the bus for about 65 people, but 90 are already signed up.
At least 16 legislators have said they will go.
Assemblywoman Vonne Chowning, D-North Las Vegas, is on the list, but she's not sure she'll go.
"I hate the (brothel) business," she said. "It's demeaning to women. But as long as it's there, the health conditions should be the best it can be."
In past sessions, bills have been introduced to outlaw prostitution, but none has surfaced so far this year.