Nevada legal pimp, candidate, star of HBO series found dead

Nevada legal pimp, candidate, star of HBO series found dead
FILE - In this June 13, 2016, file photo, Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlite BunnyRanch, a legal brothel near Carson City, Nev., is pictured during an interview during a break in the trial of Denny Edward Phillips and Russell Lee Hogshooter in Oklahoma City. Nevada authorities said Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, that Hof, a legal pimp who has fashioned himself as a Donald Trump-style Republican candidate has died. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File) (Source: Sue Ogrocki)

PAHRUMP, Nev. (AP) — 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 state Legislature, was found dead hours after his extended-weekend 72nd birthday bash, authorities said Tuesday.

Hof was pronounced dead in his private residence at his Love Ranch brothel west of Las Vegas, Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said.

Ron Jeremy, a pornographic movie star who attended Hof's party on Monday night, told The Associated Press that he and a woman found Hof's body after Hof failed to meet them.

Hof's eyes "were not full" and his skin felt cold, said Jeremy. "He was totally stiff. And I'm saying 'Honey, we really have a problem here.'"

A group that included sheriff's employees and several women watched several hours later as Hof's body was removed on a stretcher beneath a red shroud, past lawn furniture, Grecian-style statutes and signs advertising the bordello as, "Always Open, Always Tasty, No sex required."

Authorities remove the body of Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof from the Love Ranch brothel, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. Hof, a legal pimp and Republican candidate. died Tuesday Nevada Authorities said. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Authorities remove the body of Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof from the Love Ranch brothel, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. Hof, a legal pimp and Republican candidate. died Tuesday Nevada Authorities said. (AP Photo/John Locher) (Source: John Locher)

Wehrly, who also serves as county coroner, said she saw Hof at his birthday party late Monday at a local casino-hotel reception room with more than 100 of his friends, including former Phoenix-area sheriff Joe Arpaio. Other birthday celebrations were held throughout the weekend, according to Chuck Muth, a campaign consultant to Hof.

"He was sitting on a stool talking with people when I left about 10," Wehrly said of Hof, who she said had celebrated at another party during the weekend in northern Nevada. "I guess that's partying at 72."

Authorities remove the body of Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof from the Love Ranch brothel, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. Hof, a legal pimp and Republican candidate. died Tuesday Nevada Authorities said. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Authorities remove the body of Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof from the Love Ranch brothel, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. Hof, a legal pimp and Republican candidate. died Tuesday Nevada Authorities said. (AP Photo/John Locher) (Source: John Locher)

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 GOP state legislative district.

Mourners walk out of the Love Ranch brothel, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. where Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof died. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Mourners walk out of the Love Ranch brothel, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. where Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof died. (AP Photo/John Locher) (Source: John Locher)

Arpaio, the former six-term sheriff of metropolitan Phoenix known nationally for his positions on illegal immigration, said Hof was in good spirits when Arpaio left the party around 10 p.m. Monday.

"Boy, that's shocking," Arpaio said of Hof's death.

FILE - In this June 12, 2018, file photo, Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof, second from right, celebrates with Heidi Fleiss, right, and others after winning the primary election in Pahrump, Nev. Hof, a legal pimp who has fashioned himself as a Donald Trump-style Republican candidate has died, Nevada authorities said Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (David Montero//Los Angeles Times via AP, File)
FILE - In this June 12, 2018, file photo, Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof, second from right, celebrates with Heidi Fleiss, right, and others after winning the primary election in Pahrump, Nev. Hof, a legal pimp who has fashioned himself as a Donald Trump-style Republican candidate has died, Nevada authorities said Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (David Montero//Los Angeles Times via AP, File) (Source: David Montero)

Arpaio, who lost a Senate GOP primary in Arizona in August, said he had taken part in some of Hof's 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.

FILE - In this March 25, 2007, file photo, Moonlite Bunnyranch brothel owner Dennis Hof poses with two of his "working girls" Brooke Taylor, left, and a woman working under the name "Airforce Amy", right, as firefighters burn down remains of the former Mustang Ranch 2 brothel east of Reno, Nev. Hof, a legal pimp who has fashioned himself as a Donald Trump-style Republican candidate has died, Nevada authorities said Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Debra Reid, file)
FILE - In this March 25, 2007, file photo, Moonlite Bunnyranch brothel owner Dennis Hof poses with two of his "working girls" Brooke Taylor, left, and a woman working under the name "Airforce Amy", right, as firefighters burn down remains of the former Mustang Ranch 2 brothel east of Reno, Nev. Hof, a legal pimp who has fashioned himself as a Donald Trump-style Republican candidate has died, Nevada authorities said Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Debra Reid, file) (Source: Debra Reid)

Ahead of the birthday celebration, Hof teased on Twitter that rapper and reality television star Flavor Flav would be there. Flavor Flav's "Flavor of Love" reality TV series ran about a decade ago, about the same time as Hof's HBO series "Cathouse."

Flavor Flav's lawyer, Kristina Wildeveld, said Tuesday her client did not attend.

FILE - In this June 26, 2008, file photo, owner Dennis Hof poses with some of his "working girls" in the parlor of his Moonlite BunnyRanch in Mound House, east of Carson City, Nev. Hof, a legal pimp who has fashioned himself as a Donald Trump-style Republican candidate has died, Nevada authorities said Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (Lisa J. Tolda/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, File)
FILE - In this June 26, 2008, file photo, owner Dennis Hof poses with some of his "working girls" in the parlor of his Moonlite BunnyRanch in Mound House, east of Carson City, Nev. Hof, a legal pimp who has fashioned himself as a Donald Trump-style Republican candidate has died, Nevada authorities said Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (Lisa J. Tolda/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, File) (Source: Lisa J. Tolda)

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 NBA player Lamar Odom was found unconscious in 2015.

The Love Ranch brothel is seen, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. Dennis Hof, a legal 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 state Legislature, was found dead hours after his 72nd birthday bash, authorities said Tuesday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
The Love Ranch brothel is seen, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. Dennis Hof, a legal 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 state Legislature, was found dead hours after his 72nd birthday bash, authorities said Tuesday. (AP Photo/John Locher) (Source: John Locher)

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.

The Love Ranch brothel is seen, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. Dennis Hof, a legal 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 state Legislature, was found dead hours after his 72nd birthday bash, authorities said Tuesday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
The Love Ranch brothel is seen, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. Dennis Hof, a legal 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 state Legislature, was found dead hours after his 72nd birthday bash, authorities said Tuesday. (AP Photo/John Locher) (Source: John Locher)

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.

Hof 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.

Ron Jeremy, right, and Heidi Fleiss walk out of the Love Ranch brothel, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. Dennis Hof, a legal pimp and Republican candidate has died at the brothel according to Nevada authorities. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Ron Jeremy, right, and Heidi Fleiss walk out of the Love Ranch brothel, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. Dennis Hof, a legal pimp and Republican candidate has died at the brothel according to Nevada authorities. (AP Photo/John Locher) (Source: John Locher)

Hof had denied any wrongdoing.

Besides "Cathouse," the flamboyant Hof wrote a book titled "The Art of the Pimp," a play on Trump's book "The Art of the Deal."

A sign advertises the Love Ranch outside of the brothel, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. Dennis Hof, a legal pimp and Republican candidate has died at the brothel according to Nevada authorities. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A sign advertises the Love Ranch outside of the brothel, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. Dennis Hof, a legal pimp and Republican candidate has died at the brothel according to Nevada authorities. (AP Photo/John Locher) (Source: John Locher)

Wayne Thorley, deputy Nevada secretary of state for elections, said Hof's name will remain on the November ballot. Thorley said ballots with Hof's name have already been mailed to voters but signs will 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.

Ron Jeremy, front right, and Heidi Fleiss, left, walk out of the Love Ranch brothel, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. Dennis Hof, a pimp who gained notoriety for an HBO series about his brothel business, was found dead hours after his 72nd birthday bash, authorities said Tuesday. Hof had said his party would be attended by porn star Jeremy. It wasn't immediately clear Tuesday if Jeremy attended. Hof upended Nevada politics this summer when he ousted an incumbent Republican lawmaker in a primary, celebrating at an election night party with "Hollywood Madam" Fleiss. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Ron Jeremy, front right, and Heidi Fleiss, left, walk out of the Love Ranch brothel, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev. Dennis Hof, a pimp who gained notoriety for an HBO series about his brothel business, was found dead hours after his 72nd birthday bash, authorities said Tuesday. Hof had said his party would be attended by porn star Jeremy. It wasn't immediately clear Tuesday if Jeremy attended. Hof upended Nevada politics this summer when he ousted an incumbent Republican lawmaker in a primary, celebrating at an election night party with "Hollywood Madam" Fleiss. (AP Photo/John Locher) (Source: John Locher)

Hof was running against Democratic Las Vegas educator Lesia Romanov.

Hof also ran for the state Legislature in 2016 as a Libertarian but lost the race.

Heidi Fleiss, right, embraces an unknown person outside of the Love Ranch brothel, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev., where Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof died. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Heidi Fleiss, right, embraces an unknown person outside of the Love Ranch brothel, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Pahrump, Nev., where Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof died. (AP Photo/John Locher) (Source: John Locher)

This year, he ran as a Republican and earned backing from Trump associate Roger Stone and tax-cut activist Grover Norquist, who attended one of Hof's parties.

He upended Nevada politics this summer when he ousted an incumbent Republican lawmaker in a primary, celebrating at an election night party with former "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss.

He said the anti-brothel push and regulatory problems he's faced this year were political retribution.

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Associated Press reporters Ken Ritter and Regina Garcia Cano in Las Vegas and Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix contributed to this report.