Lance Gillman is a staunch Republican, and a brothel owner who became the Storey County Commissioner in Nevada, this election and stumped many of his critics. Possibly, Gillman, 68, is the first brothel owner in Nevada’s history to be elected to public office and that too by a huge margin. And while you might think it shocking that his Mustang Ranch brothel sells sex for money, just keep in mind that he purchased the Mustang Ranch brothel brand and business from the federal government.
The married father of four children and nine grandchildren attributes his win to his experiences as an entrepreneur. While Mustang Ranch is the most talked about part of his business empire, his bigger projects include business parks, master planned communities in California and Nevada and a Harley-Davidson dealership.
Mustang Ranch was the first legal brothel of Nevada, and also became the most notorious under its previous owner Joe Conforte. In 1976, Mustang Ranch hit the news for the slaying of heavyweight boxer Oscar Bonavena. The business was seized by the federal government in a federal fraud and racketeering trial. In 2003, Gilman bought the business with its properties from the federal government and set up shop.
Under the Mustang Ranch brand, today, Gilman operates two brothels, two restaurants and a nightclub. Gilman is of the opinion that it is better to legalize prostitution than suffer the mess illegal prostitution is causing across the country. He says his brothels pay significant taxes and being legal, the women workers are regularly checked by doctors.
To emphasize his point, Gilman visibly demonstrates that his operation creates jobs – it employs 44 full-time employees, and 30-80 working girls – and over the past decade has also paid more than $5 million to the county budget. In other places, that money goes to the mafia or other channels of corruption. Talking on his brothels, Gilman told the Associated Press, “It’s a prosperous business that’s helped the county.”
Gilman, the new Storey County Commissioner, takes a sensible approach to the business of prostitution. He told AP, “I use the term caregivers for our industry … The public has no idea, but so many of the men we deal with are damaged or widowed or in need of kindness. The industry is so much more about providing care and human nurturing than anything else.”