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George Flint: industry-hired lobbyist for Nevada’s legal brothels

RENO, Nev. — Nevada Brothel Owners Association Director George Flint has been the mouthpiece of Nevada’s legal prostitution industry for the past 20 years. Not surprisingly, Flint, 69, is well-versed in the Bible. His parents were fundamentalist ministers in Wyoming, and he attended Eugene Bible College and became an Assemblies of God minister in Oregon.

Tired of being the always-broke father of four young children, Flint moved to Reno in 1962 to open the Chapel of the Bells wedding chapel. Flint became politically active almost immediately, lobbying legislators on behalf of the wedding chapel industry. A banker friend who purchased the Kit Kat Ranch in Moundhouse, just east of Carson City, suggested he also lobby for brothels.

That’s what he has done since 1985, showing up nearly every day during legislative sessions to serve as the industry-hired lobbyist for Nevada’s legal brothels.

“We live in a world where we have no choice whether we want prostitution,” Flint said. “The only choice is how we want it, controlled or uncontrolled.”

State law permits legal prostitution with county commission approval in rural counties. Ten counties have licensed brothels, and Nevada has 26 legal brothels that employ about 300 prostitutes. No other state has legal prostitution.

“It’s become a normal special interest group like the bankers or gaming,” Flint said of prostitution. “I think part of the reason for its acceptance is the way I approach lobbying. I don’t haul girls into the building. It has been very gradual. I now have the same access to individual legislators as everyone else.”

This year Flint proposed the brothel industry pay the new 10 percent live entertainment tax, like strip clubs, bars and any other business that provides entertainment for patrons. By imposing a $20 to $40 charge on brothel admissions, Flint estimated, the industry would contribute $2 million a year to state coffers. Only in the last days of the legislative session did the brothel tax die.

Flint remains open to a tax increase. In exchange, he wants the Legislature to repeal an old law that prevents advertising by brothels. Even if the Legislature does not lift the ban, Flint believes it soon will be successfully challenged in the courts.

Sen. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, the primary legislator behind the tax on strip clubs, intends to support the brothel tax legislation in the 2005 session.

“I would certainly vote for it,” she said. “But the reason they want to be taxed is it legitimizes them even more. We have totally abandoned the family atmosphere in Nevada.”

Compared with the 300 legal prostitutes in all of Nevada, Flint estimates 10,000 illegal hookers work Las Vegas on most weekends. He also contends that 70 percent of the exotic dancers in high-end strip clubs sometimes turn tricks.

“There are private boxes on the ceilings in some of these clubs that cost $500 to use,” he said. “What do you think happens there?”

Las Vegas police Lt. Stan Olsen, the department’s legislative lobbyist, said Flint’s 10,000 figure is greatly exaggerated, though he said police do not have a specific figure on the number of prostitutes in Las Vegas. In an ideal world, Flint said, sex would not be separated from love or marriage.

But he says many men are too homely, too timid, too handicapped or too disfigured to attract the affections of any woman.

“Other than the urge to survive, the urge for sex in a normal man is the strongest urge he has to deal with,” Flint said. “I have come to the conclusion that legal and regulated prostitution is better than the alternative since it eliminates pimps and eliminates crimes on the client and on the woman.”



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