• U.S.

Auctions: Stripped Bare

1 minute read

More than a thousand bargain hunters and curiosity seekers showed up under a bright orange-and-white tent 10 miles outside Reno last week to watch the ultimate strip show at the legendary Mustang Ranch. The Internal Revenue Service put the 330-acre establishment, Nevada’s oldest legal bordello, on the auction block when its previous owners failed to pay $13 million in back taxes. Going, going, gone — for $1.5 million — was the 104-room hot-sheet palace itself (actually two pink stucco buildings with a guard tower). Also gaveled off, for about $500,000 more, were such appointments as couches, lamps, nude paintings and condoms.

Flamboyant ex-owner Joe Conforte denied having secretly placed the winning bid, entered by a lawyer who is the brother of Conforte’s attorney. Among those who had expressed interest in the property were a nursing home and a halfway house. Whoever winds up with the Mustang may lack one key element: the special use permit that allowed it to operate as a brothel. Storey County yanked the license last month and may not give it back.

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