Brothel Owner To Take Swing at Golf

As soon as a retired policeman and former Las Vegas car dealer bought Sheri’s Ranch, a brothel outside the town of Pahrump, he started making glorious plans that will give the operation a higher profile. Such a change is not too welcomed by Nye County officials, who would prefer that such enterprises, legal in 10 of Nevada’s 17 counties, remain out of the public eye.

But immediately after Chuck Lee acquired the ranch in January 2001, he began improving the sports bar at the ranch, the first of many upcoming upgrades. He expanded the offices and is now building a new swimming pool. Next up is a much bigger project: an 18-hole golf course, casino and steakhouse, along with equestrian facilities, tennis courts and a beauty salon for the prostitutes. Lee is using 310 acres behind the brothel for this destination-style resort; work is set to begin on the course in 2002. Even though the new recreational amenities are far from complete, Lee has already renamed his place the Resort at Sheri’s Ranch.

Nye County Commission chairman Jeff Taguchi, whose county is home to the towns of Beatty and Pahrump and most of the brothels in the county, is concerned about the effects Lee’s project will have on public perceptions. “It’s a different approach to the oldest profession that may cause some difficulty with the public,” Taguchi told the Jacksonville (Illinois) Journal Courier. “Pahrump could possibly be known as a brothel mecca as opposed to a family suburb.”

Lee hopes his destination resort becomes just that. “We’ll probably be the only gentlemen’s club in the state with an 18-hole golf course,” the 60-year-old boasts. “It’s going to be very nice.” One of Lee’s employees, ‘Destyny,” a prostitute who’s been working in Nevada brothels for 13 years, added, “It’s going to change the whole face of the business.”

Nye County officials are stuck between a rock and hard place. Recent attempts to permanently close local brothels have failed. The county’s seven so-called “houses of ill repute” pay registration and licensing fees that add about $168,000 to the county’s ambulance and health funds each year. If not for the brothels, the ambulance operation would be in “financial peril,” according to Gene Etcheverry, the county’s budget and fiscal director.

Because of his business’s value to the community, Lee’s grand new plans will probably proceed unchecked. While many golf developers are often forced to jump through myriad legal, environmental and financial hoops in bringing their projects to fruition, Chuck Lee’s task will be much simpler. He only needs to convince Pahrumpians that golf – and sex – will only enhance the tourist attractions in this Nye County hub.