License granted to Mustang Ranch
November 30, 2004
Sex will be for sale once again inside the building formerly known as the World Famous Mustang Ranch, Nevada’s first legal bordello.
The Storey County Commission on Tuesday granted a brothel license to Wild Horse Adult Resort & Spa owner Lance Gilman to operate a second brothel in the old Mustang Ranch buildings – but didn’t decide who owns the Mustang Ranch name.
The new brothel, off Interstate 80 east of Reno, will open at the end of January with up to 30 prostitutes, Wild Horse madam Susan Austin said.
“Originally there were 50 rooms in the Mustang Ranch, but we’ll open with 20 and the parlor,” she said. “It’ll be first class. The Mustang Ranch will be better than what it was originally when we get it all done.”
Most of the attendees at the special commission meeting in the district courthouse were lawyers, there to argue the case for who actually owns the “World Famous Mustang Ranch” name.
Gilman bought the Mustang Ranch property and its name on eBay for $145,000 from the Bureau of Land Management. The old brothel was carried in pieces by truck and helicopter to its new home beside the Wild Horse.
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Commissioner Greg “Bum” Hess abstained from voting because he has a business relationship with Gilman and his company, Cash Processing Services LLC. Chairman Bob Kershaw was absent from the meeting.
Storey County Sheriff Pat Whitten said he was “more than comfortable” with granting a brothel license to Gilman. Commission Vice Chairman John Flanagan voted with Whitten to approve the license. The sheriff gave a glowing review of the Wild Horse and Gilman’s management.
“The Wild Horse is one of the shining examples of how a business can be run – not just a brothel but a business,” he said.
Whitten praised Gilman and Austin’s management, the existing brothel’s drug screening policy and in-house security.
“Based upon a personal site visit conducted by myself on Nov. 18, 2004, the proposed facility, which is adjacent to his Wild Horse operation, seems most suitable for the purposes of conducting a brothel business,” he said.
Despite his abstention, Commissioner Hess weighed in on the issue that has attracted the attention of many who are banking on the name-recognition star power of the Mustang Ranch.
“We definitely don’t want the Mustang name to leave Storey County,” he said. “It’s been here forever.”
But whether the cat house can keep that notorious name is a legal battle the commission was hesitant to decide with one member absent and another abstaining.
Oscar Williams, owner of Ambient Entertainment of Reno, told the board he had the rights to the registered Mustang Ranch trademark for clothing and other merchandise. Williams said he objected to Gilman’s use of the name because it’ll affect his business.
Lara Pearson, attorney for Old Bridge Ranch brothel owner David Burgess, also objected to Gilman’s use of the name. She said after the meeting that her client has had use of the Mustang Ranch name since August 2000, and he has been operating his own Mustang Ranch brothel, also in Storey County, since April 2003. Burgess has a lawsuit filed against Gilman.
Whitten said during the meeting that he leaned in the direction of giving the name to Gilman and Burgess both. Vice chairman Flanagan said he favored the board not deciding on anything concerning the name. They tabled the discussion until their Tuesday meeting.
Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.