Nevada Brothel Owner Elected to Public Office, First in State's History

A brothel owner in Nevada was recently elected to serve as the county commissioner. He's the first person from such a profession to be elected to office in the state's 148-year history.

Lance Gilman, the owner and operator of the Mustang Ranch, faced little local opposition and says that his critics should understand that he is a business owner just like anyone else.

Gilman, 68, states that he is a "dye-in-the-wool Republican who loves American values" and that his business is treated like any other in the eyes of most people.

"To 99 percent of the voters, they view it as just a business," Gilman told The Associated Press. "It's a prosperous business that's helped the county."

Gilman maintains that his business, which is located about 10 miles east of Reno, is good for the local economy. He employs 44 full-time workers and anywhere from 30 to 80 working girls at any given time.

He also claims that his business has provided over $5 million to the county's budget over the past decade, mainly through taxes.

Gilman is thought to be the first brothel owner to be elected to public office since prostitution was legalized in Nevada in 1971, according to Nevada historian Guy Rocha.

"He's in rare company," Rocha told KWTX. "Of course, it's going to be rare because the business of selling sex for money is illegal in every jurisdiction in the United States except in rural Nevada."

Prostitution is illegal in the most populous counties of Nevada including Las Vegas and Reno, but presently there are about two dozen brothels that are operating in 10 of Nevada's 17 counties.

Gilman cites his entrepreneurial prowess for his success and feels that being a brothel owner is just a small part of his experience in business.

"People want to focus on the brothel issue ... (but) I've had a wonderful 43-year record of business success that I bring to the commission," Gilman told AP.