A temporary restraining order against Lance Gilman, owner of the historic Mustang Ranch Brothel buildings, was lifted following a short hearing at the Storey County Courthouse on Friday.
Washoe District Court Judge Peter Breen agreed to lift an order stopping the removal of the buildings from Bureau of Land Management land to Gilman's Wild Horse Canyon Ranch and Spa. The new brothel is located about 5 miles east of the Mustang's historic location.
Gilman purchased the Mustang, its logo and name from the Bureau in October for $145,100. DP Operating Partnership, one of the major landowners at Tahoe Reno Industrial Center located nearby, asked Breen to stop the Mustang move earlier this month.
DP spokesman Aaron Paris cited hazardous materials concerns. Foundations, water and sewer infrastructures must be provided and Gilman's failure to apply for the proper permits were a concern.
"What we ask, is that if they're going to start the process, they do it correctly," he said.
Arguing for the brothel, Attorney Chris MacKenzie said those issues should be addressed at Tuesday's Storey County Commission meeting.
During a break in the proceedings, attorneys came to an agreement. Attorneys for the DP and Storey County will receive any application filed by Gilman, in addition to any notifications of Storey County Commission meetings where applications will be considered.
"With that, we will vacate the temporary restraining order," said William Horton, attorney for DP.
Gilman said he's been in the real estate business since 1978 and has never been subjected to this kind of legal scrutiny. He likens the process to legal proctology.
The hearing came on the heels of Thursday's Supreme Court decision dismissing a number of DP complaints, including the allegation that the brothel's location violated the zoning ordinance, and Storey County officials violated open meeting laws when considering Gilman's brothel license approval.
The Supreme Court agreed, however, that the county failed to comply with the brothel application ordinance when Gilman failed to produce the required audited financial statement.
The matter has been remanded to District Court Judge William Maddox. The brothel could lose its license, but in the meantime, rumors of the Wild Horse's immediate closing have been greatly exaggerated.
"I'm waiting for the attorneys and judges to hash this out," said Wild Horse manager Susan Austin. "In the meantime, I'm open for business."
Attorney Mark Gunderson said the brothel ordinance's audit provision was designed for larger businesses, not individuals and the ordinance has been modified since this problem arose.
"Now, the ordinance requires a financial statement prepared by a certified public accountant," he said.
Since first proposed to Storey County commissioners in December 2000, a litany of court cases have followed the Wild Horse and DP has participated in most of them. In addition to the charges previously mentioned, DP contends the business image of Tahoe Reno Industrial Park is tarnished by the presence of a brothel.
The latest legal maneuver was part of the company's ongoing effort to close Gilman's brothel, which is in a canyon about a mile from the western edge of the industrial park, an Associated Press story said.
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