Decision on brothel expected early next week

VIRGINIA CITY -- A decision is expected early next week on efforts to stop construction of a brothel in Storey County.

Citing time constraints, Carson City District Court Judge William Maddox delayed the decision following a hearing in Storey County District Court that began Tuesday and ended about noon Wednesday.

Officials at DP Partners say the brothel will hurt business and are seeking to halt construction of the Wild Horse Canyon Ranch and Spa, to be located near DP's 143-acre real estate development in northern Storey County's Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center.

The Reno-based company filed a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction Feb. 1 in Storey County's First Judicial District Court.

Attorney Leif Reid listed a score of allegations centered on violations of Storey County ordinances during the licensing process. He said DP officials were not given an opportunity to object to licensure at a meeting of the Licensing Board and the license was not on the meeting's agenda, both violations of Nevada's Open Meeting Law.

Representing brothel owner Lance Gilman, attorney Mark Gunderson criticized DP representative Alfredo Alonzo, who testified Wednesday and alleges he was not allowed to speak during the licensure meeting.

"These are not professional politicians. They come from a variety of backgrounds," Gunderson said. "You were attending a hearing on a matter you thought was important, but you entered no objection at any time to the Licensure Board. You determined they were not following procedure, yet you never interrupted."

Reid fired a barrage of allegations at Storey officials. Sheriff Pat Whitten's investigation was inadequate, the audit required by Storey County's ordinances was not conducted and the area is not zoned for brothels, he said

Storey County attorney Chris Mackenzie said these allegations do not address the real issue.

"Even if we assumed every allegation was true, there is no nexus between the deficiencies DP claims and damages they assert," he said. "This is a manifest abuse of law.

"Storey County has made the determination that the brothel is appropriate," he said. "The licensing board has the sole authority to grant, make, alter and rescind all regulations. There may have been some problems with the process, but the county substantially complied with regulations."

On Tuesday, Roger William Norman, an owner and partner in the industrial center, filed a declaration in support of the injunctive relief.

"My concern lies solely in the potential negative impact that the operation of a brothel in such close proximity to TRI Center will have on the further development and operation of TRI Center and its lessors, as well as the potential negative impact on the neighboring landowners," he wrote.

Norman's son Roger William Norman Jr. and Lance Gilman are partners in the center.


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