Mustang Brothel under reconstruction |

Mustang Brothel under reconstruction

Tahoe Daily Tribune Staff Reports

Accommodation on both sides

By Susie Vasquez

Tribune News Service

CARSON CITY – Lance Gilman purchased the historic Mustang Brothel, its logo and name from the Bureau of Land Management in October for $145,000. Now, he’s trying to put the pieces back together at Wild Horse Canyon Ranch and Spa, a new brothel he built a few miles east of the Mustang’s original location.

About half the buildings from the Mustang have already been moved to Wild Horse Canyon, and Storey County commissioners approved permits for construction of the foundations Tuesday.

The work will start today, Gilman said.

Barring any serious issues, like the weather, moving the buildings should be completed by late April, he said.

The buildings will be used for a brothel and museum, the latter to be housed in Joe Conforte’s quarters. Conforte was the original owner of the Mustang Ranch, which started in 1967. It was shut down by the federal government twice on charges leveled against Conforte for tax evasion. It was permanently closed in 2000. Conforte has since fled the country, is considered a fugitive and is believed to be living in South America.

“Their apartment was part of the brothel and it’s a very nice wing,” Gilman said. “We’ve received a lot of donations for the museum and we’re planning to do something nice to preserve history.”

Bureau officials have been accommodating, Gilman said, but he’s been pressured to remove the buildings from the Mustang property. Once that’s accomplished, he will take his time with the renovation.

“I’m going to enjoy this. I’m not going to rush,” he said.

The brothel will retain the Mustang’s original rustic, “wagon wheel” decor and brothel manager Susan Austin has found some French antiques for the museum, Gilman said.

“I can’t wait to see what she does with the Mustang,” he said.

A deal to settle a lawsuit filed by the Wild Horse’s neighbors and an agreement to limit the number of brothels between the Patrick and Tracy-Clark exits in north Storey County to two or three is being negotiated between Storey County, DP Partners and Gilman.

Storey Commission Chair Bob Kershaw called it a three-way memorandum of understanding.

In exchange for the limits, DP Partners agreed not to bring in legislation attacking brothels or seeking to move county boundary lines, the agreement states.

Gilman said the agreement forces him to scrap plans for another brothel, the Painted Pony, and sign restrictions could hurt his ability to advertise.

Storey County commissioners approved the measure Tuesday with one caveat, asking that the Wild Horse signs not be restricted to black-and-white, a provision of the agreement.

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