Hard Times for Nevada's Legal Brothels

Hof told the Legal Post that his Nevada operations, even without a tax on live entertainment, are already paying $500,000 in taxes, making him the biggest taxpayer in his county.

David Neidorf, president of Deep Springs College, questioned how bad off the brothel industry really is -- at least in his corner of the state, 200 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

(Deep Springs College's student body of 26 men occupy and run a cattle ranch the size of New York's Manhattan island. All 26 have the academic credentials to have gotten into Harvard, Yale or Stanford. Why they're attending a cattle college in the middle of nowhere is the subject for another story.)

Neidorf regularly has to drive the desolate wastes between Deep Springs, Nev., and Las Vegas.

"All I know is what I see from the road on my three-hour stretch of U.S. 95," he told ABC News. "Eight years ago, we had four brothels."

Back then, he said, two of the four, the Cottontail and Angel's Ladies, were closed, and the other two, Shady Lady and Nevada Joe's, were just hanging on.

"Today we've got five, with only one of them out of business," Niedorf said.

Of the five, one is fresh-built and entirely new:

"Bikini's, on the south side of Beatty, has nude dancing and is always packed when I drive by," Niedorf said. "So, between Goldfield and Las Vegas, business is thriving."

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In closing, back to Mr. Flint for a minute: How in the world did he manage to be both an ordained minister and a brothel booster?

Being a minister, he said, is what first got him into lobbying. In 1961, he bought Chapel of the Bells in Reno, which provides quickie (including drive-through) weddings.

"I realized soon after opening the chapel that the legislature did not look with favor on the quickie marriage business," he said. "So, I got involved in the legislative process."

He became a lobbyist, and now, at age 79, ranks as the longest-serving lobbyist in Nevada.

"I am dean of the lobbying corps," he said with bemused pride.

In the mid '80s, the Nevada Brothel Association turned to him to represent them.

As for the seeming incongruity of a retired minister representing brothels, he said, simply, "Who was Jesus' best friend? Mary Magdalene."

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