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October 17, 2017

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Brothel owner Dennis Hof faces ‘serious’ code violations

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Max Whittaker / The New York Times

Dennis Hof, left, owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, with Cami Parker, a worker at the ranch, during a campaign stop of presidential candidate Ron Paul in Reno, Feb. 2, 2012. Officials say Hof may have violated rules at one of his brothels.

Famed brothel owner Dennis Hof is facing several violations at one of his Nye County brothels.

The Nye County Commission will schedule a show cause hearing today on two code violations involving six prostitutes at the Area 51 Death Valley Cathouse brothel in Amargosa Valley.

According to an affidavit, when a Nye County district attorney investigator conducted a brothel check on Feb. 11, six of the 12 working women on duty had expired work cards and were not current on their medical clearance.

“A show cause hearing is (scheduled) when we believe they are not following the rules,” Nye County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen said. “Those are kind of serious charges … He (Hof) allowed them to work without being registered. Then the ones who didn’t get medically checked, that’s really bad.”

Nye County code 9.20.150 requires every prostitute working in a brothel must have a medical examination performed every seven days. Nye County code 9.20.140 states every prostitute must register with the Nye County Sheriff's Office on a quarterly basis.

Of the potential violations brought against brothels, these are as serious as the county has seen, according to Schinhofen. Hof’s licenses could be suspended or he could be ordered to pay fines if he is found to be in violation.

Hof said the ordeal is just a misunderstanding, and he said he believes that he can prove his case if need be.

“I have the utmost respect for Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly and the sheriff's department, but I don't think this officer knew what (he was) doing,” Hof said.

Hof said that he had the cards of all the girls who work at the brothel in a drawer, and not all of them were actually there working at the time of the inspection.

“You have to have a work card for every girl who is working and the medical clearance. What it takes, depending on the house, is two or three times that many girls to keep them working. So, that Alien house is a five-girl house. So that means we need 10-15 girls in the system.”

The brothel had six girls permitted that week because it can have up to five girls working at a time, with one girl covering the others’ days off.

“So there’s always five girls working,” Hof said. “So there were six other cards in there who are in the system but were not working.”

The Alien 51 Death Valley Cathouse paid first-quarter (Jan. 1-March 30) fees totaling $1,875 for up to five prostitutes to be working at a given time, according to Nye County records.

Hof said that the investigator with the Nye County's District Attorney's Office never asked for all of the prostitutes to come out, to compare the cards with who was actually there working, despite the affidavit stating, “all 12 prostitutes indicated they were working.”

“For some reason, this officer assumed they were working. They didn't call and say, 'Dennis what’s going on here?' They didn’t ask the cashier, they didn’t ask for the girls to come out and put these cards up to their face, so they just didn’t understand.”

Despite the alleged violations, his track record in the industry speaks for itself, Hof said.

“I’ve been doing this for 27 years, Hof said. “My house in Northern Nevada has 15-30 girls at all times and we never mess up, never once.”

When questioned if there could be a misunderstanding, Schinhofen said he wasn’t sure.

“We’ll find out at the meeting because the officer will be there to testify,” Schinhofen said. “It will be a he-said she-said thing, I guess. But we’ll see.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the show cause hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, May 2. The Nye County Commission on Tuesday set the hearing for May 17. | (May 3, 2017)