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Fleiss Bordello Saga Continues

WWW- Standing on a desolate stretch of property dotted with sagebrush and litter 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas, former Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss surveys the sexual frontier. She’s sketching out her vision for Heidi’s Stud Farm, the country’s first legal brothel serving female customers. This pleasure palace will be shaped like a castle, with a marble-floored great room, a spa, a sex-toy shop and secluded bungalows where 20 Casanovas will spend quality time with the clientele (at $250 an hour).

But Fleiss may not be welcome in these parts. As a convicted felon-she served time in prison in the late ’90s on charges stemming from her high-priced call-girl operation in L.A.-Fleiss may find it difficult to get a license. And some owners of the state’s legal bordellos (where rates range from several hundred to several thousand dol-lars, depending on the activities) worry that Fleiss’s business could give Nevada’s religious conservatives ammunition to get prostitution outlawed altogether.

“Heidi Fleiss scares the hell out of me,” says George Flint, lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Association, which represents some of the state’s 26 legal houses of ill repute, most of them dressed-up doublewides with names like the Chicken Ranch and the Cherry Patch. “Our industry is not so firm, so to speak, that we need to flirt with some secondary activity that could bring down the whole house of cards.” Because the brothel laws all refer to prostitutes as “she” and require cervical STD tests for sex workers, Fleiss would need to get the statutes reworded to cover her studs. Richard Ziser, president of the conservative group Nevada Concerned Citizens, warns: “She may bring enough publicity to cause a problem for the industry.”

It takes a tough hide to be a Nevada madam, and Fleiss, 39, certainly has one. “What I want to do is only good for the brothel industry here. I’m Heidi Fleiss. I know this business better than anyone in the world.” If Nevada lawmakers try to run her back across the state line, Fleiss says she’s primed for a legal fight, on grounds that the state’s existing laws discriminate against men. “What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander,” she says. Even when her business partner, a prominent Nevada brothel owner, backed out last month, Fleiss vowed to forge ahead. She’s vague about the funding for her $1.5 million sexual fantasyland, but she says she has other investors. And she just landed a six-figure deal with HBO to let a film crew document the brothel’s birth.

More than 1,000 would-be lotharios have already contacted Fleiss seeking employment. She hasn’t formalized an application process, but she says she won’t be testing the merchandise. “I just have to get a feeling that women would like the guy, that he would treat her the way she wants to be treated,” she says. She’s already picked her first bachelor: former soap-opera star Lester James Brandt, 37, [pictured] whom she met last month at a Los Angeles storage facility while she was loading up her moving van to head to Nevada. “I’ve been following the guide to how to be an actor all this time. But I never got the big break,” Brandt says. “Then I met Heidi and I thought, ‘I’m gonna try something different’.”

Will Brandt and his brethren have the stamina for this kind of work? “With female prostitutes, they can see five, 10, even more clients in a day,” says Debbie Rivenburgh, manager of the Chicken Ranch in Pahrump, Nev. “I don’t know how men could keep up with that”-even with Viagra. Others wonder if the clientele exists for such a brothel-especially one that’s an hour-and-a-half ride from the Las Vegas Strip. “What self-respecting woman would drive that far for sex when it’s so easy to find here in Vegas?” asks Jessica Martini, 28, of Houston, standing in line last week to buy tickets to “Thunder From Down Under,” a male-stripper revue. But Fleiss says she can create an exotic, unique experience: perfect for bachelorette parties or for women wanting uncomplicated, STD-free hookups. “I have heard from very wealthy, very beautiful women who say they’ll be first in line,” Fleiss says.

For the time being, Fleiss plans to cater to women only (shall we call the johns janes, and the cathouse a doghouse?). But she says she may target the gay market next. She could be forced to: Nevada lawmaker David Parks, who is gay, plans to ask for a legal opinion this month on whether Fleiss would be violating the state’s anti-bias law by letting only women hire her studs. “You gotta take these things one step at a time,” Fleiss says. “These things don’t happen overnight.” Well, some things do.

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