September 22, 2016 – by Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof, running for a Nevada Assembly seat in rural Nye County, said Thursday on Nevada Newsmakers that he didn’t know former NBA basketball player Lamar Odom had cocaine when visited Hof’s Love Ranch brothel late last year in a multi-day visit where Odom nearly killed himself.
Odom’s near death at Hof’s brothel last October became an international story, partly because of his ties to estranged wife Khloe Kardashian, a reality TV star.
Hof, running as a Libertarian in District 36, also criticized Las Vegas’ casino industry, saying it allows illegal prostitution at its properties and called himself “the Donald Trump of Nevada.”
“Donald Trump is huge in my district and I’m the Donald Trump of Nevada — except I am a smoother talker than he is and I think a nicer guy,” Hof said.
As for Odom, Hof said his staff told him not to bring any drugs to the Love Ranch South brothel near Pahrump.
“We told Lamar, my staff did, don’t bring any drugs,” Hof said. “He promised and said, ‘I’ve been partying for a week. I want to dry out, sleep, relax and party with the girls.’ So we don’t know. The first day, I’m watching him every 12 hours. Is he sleeping, is he eating, is he having fun?”
Hof has stated in the past that his brothels have a zero tolerance for drugs. Odom was found unconscious at the brothel and was taken to a Las Vegas hospital where he eventually came out of a coma.
Odom took cocaine and as many as 10 sexual-performance supplement pills at the brothel, according to a 911 call released by the Nye County Sheriff’s Department.
“He obviously had it (cocaine) with him,” Hof said. “What set him off was a call about the Kardashians airing a show he didn’t like. But my staff, that I know of, have never said anything about knowing he had that at all because we would have thrown him out in a minute. We were watching real close.”
Hof was also critical of the Las Vegas casino industry for condoning illegal prostitution within its properties.
“The casinos don’t run that business (illegal prostitution) off at all,” Hof said. “They don’t want the customers leaving their casinos to go to my places (legal brothels). They want it done right in house and they look the other way. They look the other way.”
Emails to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority asking for comment were not immediately returned.
“Go into any casino after midnight and there are more working girls there, everywhere,” Hof said. “It is disgusting that Clark County doesn’t do something about it and if I get into the Assembly, I will push that issue; no different than Catherine Cortez Masto pushing the sex trafficking issue. It is out of hand in Nevada.”
Hof said he would be able to work with female lawmakers who have reservations about his prostitution business, if elected to the Legislature.
Some women elected to the Legislature showed a distaste for Hof when he came to Carson City in 2009 to testify about taxing the brothels under the entertainment tax and in 2011 when then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called for the end of Nevada’s legal prostitution industry.
“My TV show (HBO’s Cathouse), 75 percent of the demographic is women,” Hof said. “In Nevada, our robocalls, where we were very effective, came back with 72 percent of the voters saying they would not have a problem with a guy who owns a brothel being in the Legislature.
“Women are smart,” Hof also said. “They understand that if you don’t have it (legal prostitution) the way Nevada has it, there is going to be sex trafficking everywhere. You don’t see any sex trafficking in Lyon or Nye Counties (where Hof owns brothels). You see it in Clark County, where all the pimps and working girls are, which by the way are supported by the casinos.”
Hof stressed his business interests are not limited to brothels and that he would bring a businessman’s mindset to governing Nevada if elected.
“I’m known for my brothels of course, and my TV show,” Hof said. “But I also own gas stations, truck stops, restaurants, bars and apartment complexes.
“I am a businessman and I know what it take to run a business and the State of Nevada is a business, it just has a lot more zeros at the end budget than mine and I think I can run a business better than those career politicians in Carson City.”
Watch this edition of the Nevada Newsmakers here.