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Brothel owner Dennis Hof as seen at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch outside of Carson City on May 17, 2018. Photo by John Byrne

A federal judge has ruled in favor of brothel owner Dennis Hof in his quest to regain his license to operate a brothel in Nye County.

Judge Richard Boulware granted Hof preliminary injunctive relief on Monday, which means Hof’s liquor and brothel licenses, as well as employee work cards, will be reinstated, according to Nye County spokesman Arnold Knightly. Nye County commissioners had voted 3-2 on Aug. 7 to revoke licenses at the Love Ranch South, citing fees that were submitted late; Hof subsequently sued.

“WE WON  THE LOVE RANCH  VEGAS REOPENS TONORROW [sic] MORNING,” Hof tweeted on Monday afternoon.

In voting to revoke the Love Ranch license earlier this month, Commissioner Lorinda Wichman pointed to violations from Oct. 2016, May 2017 and July 2017 that she said apparently hadn’t been resolved. She also said fees were not paid until July 27, which was late — renewal applications are supposed to be submitted no later than 30 days before the expiration of a license.

“We have the duty as this board to see that this chapter is faithfully enforced,” Wichman said at the meeting. “With these violations and some with no resolution that I can see, there is no option in my mind and no way I can give a vote for this.”

Wichman and Commissioner Dan Schinhofen also accused Hof of providing false testimony at a hearing in February.

Hof has argued that the renewal forms weren’t sent to him in time and alleges in his federal lawsuit that two of the commissioners — Schinhofen and Butch Borasky — voted for revocation as retaliation for lawsuits Hof has filed against them.

Eighteen people were licensed to work at the Love Ranch, including 11 prostitutes and seven other staffers. Love Ranch South is the only brothel Hof still has in Nye County.

“Many customers travel from around the world to specifically visit the Love Ranch. If the brothel closes for even a short period of time, the workers will have no choice but to leave their homes and find other work,” Hof’s lawsuit said in arguing for a speedy reopening. “It could take years to rebuild the staff if the brothel re-opens too far in the future.”

According to the Las Vegas Sun, Boulware noted that commissioners Schinhofen and Borasky had recused themselves from a vote about Hof’s license earlier this year on the advice of the county’s lawyer.

Boulware barred the two commissioners from voting on matters related to Hof and his brothel as the lawsuit moves forward, although he emphasized that the commission could still regulate brothels, including Hof’s, in the event of future violations, according to the Sun.

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