An attempt to stop development of a brothel in northern Storey County was rejected Friday by District Court Judge William Maddox.
Real estate development company DP Partners had complained the location of a brothel, Wild Horse Canyon Ranch and Spa being built near Tahoe Reno Industrial Center in northern Storey County, would hurt business.
"We are frustrated and disappointed, but not surprised, by Judge Maddox's ruling which upholds the Storey County Commission's conscious refusal to comply with numerous provisions of their own ordinances," said DP attorneys Gary Duhon and Leif Reid, in a prepared statement. "We will appeal immediately."
With an appeal, the motion for a temporary restraining order, application for preliminary injunction and petition for writ of mandate will move to the Nevada Supreme Court.
Storey County, Commissioners Greg "Bum" Hess, Bob Kershaw and Chuck Haynes, Sheriff Pat Whitten, Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, brothel owner/developer Lance Gilman and the Storey County licensing board were named in the lawsuit.
In his arguments, Reid charged Storey commissioners with numerous open meeting law violations, zoning and brothel ordinance violations.
Maddox, however, ruled he had no reason to overturn the Storey board's decision.
"This court is not a super member of the Storey County Board of Commissioners or the Storey County Licensing Board with unlimited veto power over the decisions made by those two bodies," Maddox wrote. "The Storey County Licensing Board has broad discretionary powers to grant or deny applications for licenses to operate a brothel in Storey County. Unless their exercise of their discretion is found by this court to be arbitrary, capricious and entirely lacking in evidentiary support, this court cannot and should not disturb their decisions."
Hess said Gilman and the commissioners expected this type of scrutiny and made every effort to make sure all regulations were followed, to ensure the project was as "low profile" as possible.
Haynes underscored that comment, saying there was little doubt among commissioners that protocols were followed.
"I hope this sends a signal to those who would choose to change Nevada, Storey County and our way of life," he said.
"We've always been confident that our actions were legal, and to fight that action is both vicious and ludicrous," Gilman said. "I think it's very unfortunate that this kind of opposition was generated on a legal business. I realize that some have a certain emotional response to the industry, but this is a legal business in Storey County.
"We followed the ordinances to the letter of the law and it's fundamentally wrong to challenge that. If this business can be challenged, any business in our country, state or nation can be challenged, and that's wrong."
Gilman said plans are being processed so the building permit can be finalized. The brothel should be completed July 1.
Arguing that construction of the brothel is a breach of the agreement with Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, DP also filed a petition to compel arbitration in this matter Feb. 4, but that petition was denied in a hearing on Feb. 12.
Storey County officials face another legal challenge, pending in federal court.
Kal Kan Foods Inc. and Roybridge Investments Limited, both located near the brothel in northern Storey County, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Jan. 16 against Storey County and its board of commissioners.
Charging licensure process was "arbitrary and capricious," they're asking the court to void the license for the brothel.