Chicken Ranch Sale Ends Up in Court as County Holds Up Deal

PAHRUMP, Nev. — A deal to sell the Chicken Ranch has gone sour and is headed to federal court. But the culprit for the deal gone bad isn’t the buyer or seller; this time it’s the government.

Plans to sell a famed brothel in Pahrump, Nev., have been held up by Nye County officials, who are requiring that the buyer be a resident of Nevada.

The 17-bed Chicken Ranch, about 65 miles west of Las Vegas, has become a home away from home for numerous adult starlets who charge an unofficial $100-$400. Like most legal brothels in the state, the house receives 50 percent of that money.

In a suit filed at U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, TCR Holdings claims it deposited $150,000 to buy the Chicken Ranch in 2006.

But before the sale could be finalized, TCR's owner, Bruce Kahn, was required to appear before the Nye County Licensing Board. Once there, the board denied Kahn's application to run the brothel because he was not a resident of Nevada. Kahn lives in Texas.

TCR, which claims its constitutional rights were violated, says it lost at least $80,000 because it had to forfeit its deposit per the terms of the escrow agreement.

Adult industry attorney Clyde DeWitt, who represents TCR, calls foul, claiming there are a number of cases to back up the one he will be arguing.

“Well, the U.S. Supreme Court squarely held that New Hampshire could not impose residency there as a condition for application for admission to practice law,” DeWitt told XBIZ. “Our position is that the rule applies no less to the licensing involved here.

“There [also] is a Nevada Supreme Court case on brothel licensing that very much parallels ours, where the licensee succeeded,” he said. “It will be interesting to learn in discovery what went on behind closed doors there.”

So far, Nye County officials are tight-lipped about why the residency requirement has been forced upon brothel suitors. Nye District Attorney Bob Beckett did not respond to several inquiries posed by XBIZ.

The complaint seeks injunctive relief and damages.