- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Nevada’s best-known legal brothel owner is being accused of violating regulations at a property he owns near a southern Nevada desert crossroads outside Las Vegas.

Dennis Hof, holder of licenses for seven of the 21 legal brothels in the state, denied in an interview Tuesday that employees working at his Area 51 Death Valley Cathouse did not have proper sheriff’s work authorization and weekly medical examination documents when a Nye County officer visited in February.

Commission Chairman Dan Schinhofen said Hof could be fined or lose his license for the property in Amargosa Valley, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Las Vegas.

“These are the rules. He knew what he was supposed to do, and he didn’t do it,” Schinhofen said. “The girls didn’t have (work) cards. One didn’t have a medical inspection. He has a chance to rebut the report. He can call witnesses.”

Hof said the allegations are the result of a misunderstanding by an inexperienced inspector or political payback for his unsuccessful run as a Libertarian last year against Republican state Assemblyman James Oscarson.

“If they thought there was something wrong, the officer should have said, ‘Get Dennis on the phone.’ It would have been resolved in five minutes,” Hof told The Associated Press. “This is politically motivated. They tried to burn me when I ran for office, too.”

Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly and a sergeant-spokesman for the agency did not immediately respond Wednesday to telephone and email messages seeking comment.

Hof has three brothel licenses in Nye County, where he currently operates two brothels. He also owns four brothels in Lyon County in northern Nevada. His Moonlite BunnyRanch near Carson City was the subject of a HBO cable TV called “CatHouse.”

Legal brothels currently operate in seven of Nevada’s 17 counties.

Prostitution is not legal in Clark and Washoe counties, or the state’s biggest cities, Las Vegas and Reno. Oversight is strict, and a Nevada State Health Division spokeswoman said there are no documented cases of HIV transmission in a legal brothel in the state.

Hof said he has a roster of about 12 employee prostitutes for the Area 51 Death Valley Cathouse, but only five work at any given time. Some who aren’t working from week to week don’t have current medical clearance, he said, but each active employee has the three-month sheriff’s work card and weekly medical clearance.

“We’ll go to the show-cause hearing. We’ll pull up the reports and the log sheets. It’ll show that we had the right amount of girls in the house at all times,” he said.

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