TONOPAH, Nev. — Dennis Hof, who operates seven legal brothels in Nevada, has waged another legal battle against Nye County and its leaders after his Love Ranch cat house was shut down by the sheriff.
Last week, the Nye County Board of Commissioners, 3-2, voted to refuse to renew Hof’s license for his Love Ranch brothel because he failed to apply for renewal and pay fees on time. In effect, the board permanently revoked his license.
Immediately after the meeting, the sheriff enforced an order by the board to shut down the brothel, which Hof has operated for eight years.
Three days later, Hof, a Nevada Assembly candidate, filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages, an injunction, attorney’s fees and court costs.
He tapped adult industry attorney Marc Randazza to litigate the case.
Hof, in his suit against Nye County and several board commissioners, said that the defendants unlawfully and maliciously shut down his business in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
Hof said that he’s been deprived of his due process rights, that the county created conditions that caused his renewal to be late and that some commissioners failure to recuse themselves was fundamentally unfair to him.
He also stated that he’s been the subject of retaliation for his public criticism toward some board members, as well as several legal challenges, including one in which the board threatened to censor several brothel billboards.
Hof currently has two civil rights lawsuits in federal court pending against the county and various officials, including the sheriff and board member Dan Schinhofen. He also has a defamation case pending against board member Andrew Borasky.
Hof is seeking a temporary restraining order that would effectively allow him to keep the Love Ranch brothel up and running. A hearing is scheduled at U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro’s courtroom on Friday, Aug. 24, to help determine the fate of a proposed TRO.
“When defendants refused to renew plaintiffs’ brothel license on Aug. 7, they did not do so because plaintiffs violated any statute or provision of the Nye County code,” according to the motion for a TRO.
“Rather, they shuttered plaintiffs’ business as retaliation for a defamation lawsuit plaintiffs filed against County Commissioner Andrew ‘Butch’ Borasky and two civil rights suits plaintiffs filed against Nye County, the Nye County Board of County Commissioners and county Commissioner Dan Schinhofen.”
In court filings, Randazza has asked for early discovery in the case to help determine the defendants’ rationale for closing Hof’s brothel in Nye County, located about an hour-and-a-half drive from Las Vegas.
Randazza, in court papers, said that the county deviated from the manner in which it typically accepts business license renewal applications from brothels in order to unlawfully deprive Hof and his employees of their livelihoods.
In court filings, Hof’s attorney said that since the brothel license was revoked workers have become stressed and are panicking about whether they will lose not only their livelihood, but their home and their adopted family and friends.
“A successful brothel like the Love Ranch relies heavily, in fact almost exclusively, on the unique personalities of the prostitutes who work there,” a brief said. “Love Ranch has spent eight years developing a staff that works well together and who customers enjoy visiting.
"But the business is competitive. Other brothels constantly try to hire workers away. If the brothel closes for more than a short time, workers will leave for other businesses. Once that occurs it will take years to rebuild a proper staff.”