Nevada Brothel Owner's License Suspension Upheld After CP Conviction

Tod Hunter
VIRGINIA CITY, Nev. — Northern Nevada brothel owner David Burgess, who was convicted by a federal jury in Wyoming for possessing and transporting child pornography, has failed in an effort to get his brothel license back. Burgess owns the Old Bridge Ranch, east of Reno.

A panel made up of Storey County's three commissioners and sheriff had suspended Burgess' brothel license May 9, three weeks after he was convicted of the child pornography charges. The same panel voted Friday to uphold the suspension of Burgess' brothel, liquor and escort licenses.

Burgess, 55, faces from five to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 when he is sentenced on July 7.

At a public hearing Friday, Burgess' lawyer, Marc Picker, accused the county of unfairness for providing 200 pages of documents only one minute before the hearing began.

Picker noted that a judge had not certified Burgess' guilty verdict, and under federal law, a conviction doesn't exist until that point. He also accused commission Chairman Greg "Bum" Hess, Commissioner Bob Kershaw and county special counsel Mark Gunderson of having conflicts of interest.

Picker said Hess has business ties to Burgess' chief competitor in the brothel business, Lance Gilman, owner of the Wild Horse and Mustang II brothels, also east of Reno. Picker also said that Kershaw's son worked for Gilman and Gunderson had represented Gilman in a previous case involving Burgess.

Gunderson said the hearing was about Burgess and his actions, and that Burgess violated a county ordinance that bars anyone convicted of a felony from holding a brothel license.

Picker told reporters he plans to ask a judge to overturn the board's ruling.