Brothel owner featured in HBO series was pronounced dead after birthday party
Dennis Hof, a pimp who gained notoriety for an HBO series about his brothel business and who fashioned himself as a Donald Trump-style Republican candidate for the Nevada state legislature, was found dead hours after his 72nd birthday party, authorities said Tuesday.
Guests at the party included the porn star Ron Jeremy, the controversial sheriff and Trump ally Joe Arpaio and the anti-tax activist Grover Norquist.
Besides the HBO series, Cathouse, the flamboyant Hof wrote a book titled The Art of the Pimp, a play on Trumps book The Art of the Deal.
He was pronounced dead in his private residence at his Love Ranch brothel west of Las Vegas, the Nye county sheriff, Sharon Wehrly, said.
Jeremy told the Associated Press he and a woman had found Hofs body after Hof failed to meet them. Hofs eyes were not full and his skin felt cold, said Jeremy, adding: He was totally stiff. And Im saying, Honey, we really have a problem here.
A group that included sheriffs employees and several women watched several hours later as Hofs body was removed on a stretcher beneath a red shroud, past lawn furniture, Grecian-style statues and signs advertising the bordello as Always Open, Always Tasty, No sex required.
He was sitting on a stool talking with people when I left about 10, Wehrly said of Hof, who she said celebrated at another party at the weekend in northern Nevada. I guess thats partying at 72.
The sheriff said there was no preliminary indication of foul play but her office was investigating. An autopsy will be conducted by the Clark county coroner in Las Vegas. Wehrly said results of the medical examination could take six weeks.
Hof, who turned 72 on Sunday, was the Republican candidate in a heavily Republican state legislative district. He had said his party would be attended by and Arpaio, the former six-term sheriff of metropolitan Phoenix.
Boy, thats shocking, Arpaio said of Hofs death.
The former sheriff, known nationally for his positions on illegal immigration and for being the recipient of a pardon from Trump, said Hof was in good spirits when he left the party around 10pm on Monday.
Arpaio, who lost a Senate GOP primary in Arizona in August, said he had taken part in some of Hofs campaign efforts and was asked by Hof to speak at the party. The lawman said he delivered his comments to the crowd, wished Hof well and ate birthday cake.
The thing I liked about him: he was with Trump and was for the second amendment and lower taxes, Arpaio said in a telephone interview before boarding a plane to Phoenix.
Ahead of the birthday celebration, Hof teased on Twitter that the rapper and reality television star Flavor Flav would be there. Flavor Flavs Flavor of Love reality TV series ran about a decade ago, about the same time as Cathouse. Flavor Flavs lawyer, Kristina Wildeveld, said on Tuesday her client did not attend.
Hof owned a handful of brothels in Nevada, the only state that allows them to legally operate. His Love Ranch brothel outside Pahrump is where the NBA player Lamar Odom was found unconscious in 2015. The brothel was temporarily shuttered twice this year by regulators who said Hof failed to renew licenses and get proper permits for renovations.
About 20 brothels operate in Nevada, mostly in rural areas. In addition to his legislative campaign, Hof fought a push to outlaw brothels and had problems with local regulators in the two counties where he ran licensed bordellos.
He had also been accused of sexual assault on at least four occasions. The Nevada department of public safety has said it was investigating an allegation made in September but has released few details. Hof had denied any wrongdoing.
Wayne Thorley, deputy Nevada secretary of state for elections, said Hofs name will remain on the November ballot. Thorley said ballots with Hofs name had already been mailed to voters but signs would be posted at polling places notifying voters of his death. If Hof wins in the heavily GOP assembly district, officials will nominate another Republican to fill the vacancy, Thorley said.
Hof was running against the Democratic Las Vegas educator Lesia Romanov. He ran for the state legislature in 2016 as a Libertarian but lost the race. This year, he ran as a Republican and earned backing from Trumps associate Roger Stone and the tax-cut activist Norquist.
He upended Nevada politics this summer when he ousted an incumbent Republican lawmaker in a primary, celebrating at an election night party with the former Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss. He said the anti-brothel push and regulatory problems hes faced this year were political retribution.
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