TONOPAH, Nev. — Brothel owner Dennis Hof has been granted a temporary restraining order against Nye County after officials removed a political billboard from his private property, citing code violations.
The injunctive relief came just several days before Hof, who operates three of Nye County’s five brothels, faces an election for the Republican primary for Assembly District 36’s seat.
According to industry attorney Allan Gelbard, who represents Hof, the Nye County officials who ordered the political billboard taken down should have thought through their plan better.
Hof, Gelbard told XBIZ, “is facing a corrupt city government that has taken to paying dirty. Last Friday afternoon, after normal business hours, they unlawfully removed a political billboard from his private property and, with the election happening this Tuesday, assumed they had a winning hand.”
Gelbard went on to say that the county officials responsible for the sign’s removal “underestimated” Hof and his Nevada attorney, Marc Randazza.
Randazza’s firm worked through Friday night, drafting a federal complaint against the county and several officials and requesting an emergency hearing and TRO against the county.
“The court heard the emergency TRO request Saturday and ruled from the bench granting a TRO and ordering the county to return the sign by 8 a.m. the following morning,” Gelbard said.
In an order issued Saturday night, U.S. District Judge Richard F. Boulware II wrote that Hof’s “expressive content of the sign … is directly related to the elections and could potentially influence prospective voters in the current election cycle.”
“There is no dispute that [Hof] was deprived of his property by the confiscation of the sign,” Boulware noted in his order for injunctive relief.
According to Randazza, via Facebook, he received an emergency hearing before the federal judge at 8 p.m. on Saturday; by 10:30 p.m. his motion was granted.
“Client went out there at 7:45 a.m. [on Sunday] and it was already back where it belonged,” Randazza said.
Hof has thrown his hat into the ring for the Assembly seat at a time in which the existence of brothels in the state is under attack.
A coalition of groups — religious and anti-sex trafficking — have launched referendums to ban brothels in two of the seven Nevada counties where they’re legally operating.
Hof is challenging incumbent Assemblyman James Oscarson in a Republican primary on Tuesday.
Hof said the state’s citizens are “rough-and-tumble, live-and-let-live” in nature and “it’s awful that people would come in and try to change that culture, that they want to inflict their moral values on the rest of us.”