LAS VEGAS >> Nevada’s most famous legal pimp can re-open his brothel near Las Vegas after county officials ordered it closed, a judge ruled today.
Dennis Hof, who starred in the HBO adult reality series “Cathouse,” and is a Republican candidate for a state legislative seat, sued officials in Nye County after they shuttered his Love Ranch brothel earlier this month.
The bordello near Pahrump, about an hour away from Las Vegas, is one of several that Hof owns.
County officials said Hof had failed to renew his licenses and pay fees for the brothel, where NBA player Lamar Odom was found unconscious in 2015.
Judge Richard Boulware on Monday noted other brothels in the county that were similarly late paying renewal fees were not punished, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
Boulware also noted votes by two county commissioners to yank Hof’s license could have been in retaliation for separate lawsuits he has filed against them.
The judge ruled Hof could reopen his brothel Tuesday.
Hof estimated he lost $100,000 in the three-week closure, which follows a similar dispute earlier this year when his license was temporally suspended over permits for renovations. He maintains the disputes with the county are politically-motivated.
“It’s right over might,” Hof said. “The county did bad things to me; they took away my business, affecting 40 peoples’ families and the judge saw right through it. It’s political retribution.”
County spokesman Arnold Knightly says officials will look at revamping its licensing process — including the way that brothels are notified about their expired fees.
Hof’s regulatory problems come as a coalition of religious groups and anti-sex trafficking activists have pushed to overturn a law allowing brothels to operate. Voters in Lyon County, where Hof has four brothels, will consider the issue in November. A similar effort failed in Nye County.
Hof, who has billed himself as “The Trump of Pahrump,” has upended local politics after ousting an incumbent GOP lawmaker in a primary this summer.
Brothels, which are illegal in the counties that contain Las Vegas and Reno, harken back to Nevada’s days as a mining territory about 150 years ago. Brothels were illegal but tolerated in some areas until 1971, when the Mustang Ranch near Reno became the first legal brothel. It led to a movement that allowed counties with populations of 700,000 people or fewer to decide whether to legalize prostitution in licensed facilities. Outside of bordellos, prostitution is illegal.
About 20 brothels operate in Nevada, mostly in rural areas. The state doesn’t publicize how many are open, and most owners keep a much lower profile than Hof.