Mustang Ranch owner victorious in county race
RENO — Lance Gilman is a thriving businessman with dozens of employees. That those workers include a good many prostitutes didn't faze the people of a rural Nevada county who elected him as a Storey County commissioner by a wide margin.
The Mustang Ranch brothel owner is the first such owner to win election to public office in Nevada since prostitution was legalized here in 1971, Nevada historian Guy Rocha said. And he's believed to be the first to do so in the state's 148-year history “He's in rare company,” Rocha said. “Of course, it's going to be rare because the business of selling sex for money is illegal in every jurisdiction in the United States except in rural Nevada.”
About two dozen brothels legally operate in 10 of Nevada's 17 counties. Prostitution is illegal in the counties that include Las Vegas and Reno, the state's population centers.
Gilman, 68, a self-described “dye-in-the-wool Republican who loves American values,” said he encountered few objections to his Mustang Ranch ownership during his campaign in the county of 4,000. He won with 62 percent of the vote on Nov. 6.
His claims that his bordello, along Interstate 80 about 10 miles east of Reno, has contributed more than $5 million to the county's budget during the past decade. It has 44 full-time employees, and 30 to 80 working girls, depending on the season.
Gilman attributes his victory to his entrepreneurial experience. Mustang Ranch is only a small part of his business empire, which includes business parks, a Harley-Davidson dealership and master planned communities in California and Nevada.
Mustang Ranch became the state's first legal brothel — and most infamous — under former owner Joe Conforte. Heavyweight boxer Oscar Bonavena was slain there in 1976.
The cathouse operated until 1999 when the federal government seized it after guilty verdicts against its parent companies and manager in a federal fraud and racketeering trial. Conforte is now a fugitive in Brazil.
Gilman bought the gaudy pink stucco buildings that once housed the bordello in 2003 and moved them a short distance next to his Wild Horse brothel. He assumed ownership of the Mustang Ranch trademark when he bought the buildings from the government.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bethel trio of siblings celebrate 150 years of marriage
- Class of ‘74 returning for last dance at Kittanning High School
- Public will get glimpse of building
- Pirates can’t overcome long rain delay, Indians in interleague setback
- Russian winger Plotnikov could join Penguins in August
- Workforce to shrink as baby boomers retire, birth rates fall
- New Penguin Kessel’s shot is what makes him special
- MLB notebook: Yankees to donate $150K to charity for A-Rod’s 3,000th hit ball
- Man with Donora roots promoted to Air Force colonel
- Youngwood man’s crash knocks out power in Monessen
- Pirates notebook: Taillon headed for surgery, Richard traded