(Dennis Hof) – Nobody knows better than I that sex sells.
So I understand why the media likes to report on my business life as the owner of several legal brothels in Nevada. Editors are titillated by it. Reporters have visions of Pulitzers dancing in their heads. And publishers see dollar signs ringing up their cash registers.
I also understand why reporter Ramona Giwargis and the Las Vegas Review-Journal ran a new story on Thursday about a previously unknown police report alleging sexual “assault” against me – even though it was an incident from over a dozen years ago and the case was dismissed.
As a controversial political figure now, it goes with the territory.
Believe me, as someone who has been in the media for decades, I fully understand why this is considered a newsworthy story. However…
Glaring omissions in the story demonstrate a clear bias and contribute to the perception of much of the media as “fake news.”
And an aspect of this story, which I’ll get to later, demonstrates that the Republican Party establishment in this state is likely aiding-and-abetting this character assassination in an effort to keep me out of the Nevada Legislature.
Let’s get this out of the way first…
As I told the police officer who investigated this claim at the time back in 2007, I adamantly deny sexually assaulting anyone. In fact, even back then I told the officer – and this is in the police report, but not in the newspaper story – that I did not even remember the individual who leveled the accusations or if she even ever worked for us.
That’s even more true today.
When Ms. Giwargis sent me a copy of the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department report, we discovered that the name of the accuser and the individual’s gender had been blacked out – what they call “redacted.” However, from other details in the report it’s clear the individual was a female prostitute allegedly working for the Bunny Ranch II.
If I couldn’t remember who this woman was way back in 2007, I’m sure not going to remember her now, especially with her name hidden.
Now, according to the accusation in the redacted report, I supposedly entered the woman’s room sometime in 2005, with another working girl from the ranch named Christine, and had a sexual encounter with her against her will.
Again, it never happened.
In fact, in the police report of the investigation Christine specifically told the investigating officer that “she never saw Hof in any of the girls rooms” and “she never observed any of the girls get sexually assaulted.” She later confirmed this in a written statement, including the observation that “(Dennis) appeared to be a nice guy.”
So it’s not just me saying this “sexual assault” never happened; it’s the accuser’s own alleged witness.
Indeed, if you read the full report even the accuser denies it was an “assault” – although this, too, was omitted in the RJ story.
In a recorded interview, the investigating officer asked if I “used any threats, violence or force to have sex” with her. She said no. Yet this important piece of information was omitted from the RJ story.
In addition, as Ms. Giwargis reports, the incident allegedly occurred in 2005 “but the woman reported it two years later.” When the investigating officer asked why she “waited so long to report the incident,” the accuser said she was in “therapy” and was no longer in the prostitution business.
Apparently, according to the report, filing this false accusation was a way to “stand up for herself” as part of her treatment for whatever issues she was dealing with about her past life as a sex worker. This sort of thing is not unusual for individuals having regrets, remorse and feelings of guilt about their past – as the woman termed it – “lifestyle.”
Now here’s the kicker…
Also according to the investigating officer’s report, the woman said she “felt like this was more of a sexual harassment than an assault” but was instructed by an unnamed lawyer to report it as an “assault” – although this, too, was conveniently omitted from the RJ’s story.
As the report indicates, when questioned about the accusations I told the officer that “it sounded like” the woman “was setting up a civil suit.” At the time my HBO reality TV series, “Cathouse,” had taken off like a rocket and it wouldn’t have surprised me if someone was trying to capitalize on the show’s notoriety.
On April 18, 2007 the investigating officer informed the unnamed accuser that there was a lack of evidence and the alleged witness denied the incident ever took place. The unnamed accuser then said she “was satisfied with the results of the investigation” and the case was closed.
So back to the RJ story on the police report…
Despite the accuser herself telling the investigating officer that, at best, the incident represented sexual harassment, the newspaper blared this headline: “Report: Hof accused of ’05 rape.”
You see, even though the woman herself never claimed I raped her, the word “rape” sells more copies and is far more effective as “click bait” driving people to the newspaper’s website.
In the story itself, Ms. Gawargis stated that “Hof did not respond to requests for comment.”
This is simply not true.
Suzette Cole is my general manager overseeing all matters related to employment in my brothel operations and has been my “right hand” since 1993. If anyone would remember anything about this incident and the parties involved, it would be Suzette.
So Suzette, on my behalf and with my full authority, sent Ms. Gawargis our official response to her inquiry about the matter. Unfortunately, Ms. Giwargis and the RJ only published a small portion of our response – and only in the last paragraph of the story after all the salacious damage had already been done.
The part the reporter and newspaper ran was as follows…
“Based on the limited information we’ve received, this is a complaint about an alleged incident that occurred well over a decade ago which wasn’t reported by the accuser until well over a year after the alleged incident.”
For the record, here’s the full email that Suzette emailed to Ms. Giwargis…
My name is Suzette Cole. I am the general manager for Dennis Hof’s brothel operations in northern Nevada and was in that same position back in 2005 when the incident referenced in the Lyon County police report you forwarded to Dennis took place.
Based on the limited information we’ve received, this is a complaint about an alleged incident that occurred well over a decade ago which wasn’t reported by the accuser until well over a year after the alleged incident. And as the accuser’s identity has been hidden in the report we received, there is no way to determine if there were any extenuating circumstances regarding her possible employment that might be of relevance.
According to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department report that was reviewed, the case was closed in April 2007 due to a lack of evidence or corroborating testimony by a witness. In fact, according to the report the alleged witness to the incident denies witnessing the alleged incident. Mr. Hof also denied the incident took place at the time of the investigation, and continues to deny it now.
Thank you for reaching out to us.
Interesting how on a story so potentially harmful to both my reputation and my political campaign that the reporter and the newspaper would not only falsely claim that we did not respond to a request for comment but would intentionally refuse to publish the full response we sent to them.
Again, this sort of thing – at the very least, sins of omission – is why so many people consider so many in the media today to be purveyors of “fake news.”
Lastly, let’s talk about the Republican Assembly Caucus’ involvement in all of this…
Although I interviewed with the investigating officer over the allegations back in 2007, I had no idea that this report even existed until Ms. Giwargis asked for comment via email at 5:19 pm on Monday, June 25, 2018.
As we had not seen the report, we advised Ms. Giwargis that we couldn’t comment on it without reading it. Ms. Gawargis forwarded a copy at 9:47 am on Wednesday, June 27, 2018. Our response was sent to Ms. Giwargis, via email, at 5:41 pm later that same day.
But here’s the thing…
On Thursday evening, June 14, 2018, members of the Republican Assembly Caucus held a conference call in which they voted, in a split vote, not to endorse me in the general election despite the fact that I’d won the GOP primary race two days earlier.
During that call, Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner – a vocal supporter of my primary opponent, Assemblyman James Oscarson – reportedly informed the group that there existed another complaint filed against me which had been “sealed.”
But as Ms. Giwargis explained in her story, Ms. Krasner was wrong. The case hadn’t been “sealed.”
Back in April the Lyon County District Attorney’s office denied releasing the report to the RJ, citing “an obligation to protect the victim’s identity.” But after the RJ’s attorney “fought for a redacted copy,” the redacted version was released this week.
So certain members of the Republican Assembly Caucus knew about the existence of this report long before I even knew it existed. For all I know, it was caucus leaders, in an effort to kill my Republican primary campaign against Oscarson, who fed the story to the press in the first place.
Remember, it’s not paranoia when they’re really out to get you.
With this new, highly-biased story out I know the GOP establishment hopes I’ll do what Republicans usually do in such a situation: Quit.
Ain’t gonna happen. The accusations are false. They’re politically motivated. And they’ve been thoroughly investigated by law enforcement authorities and have been dismissed.
So, sorry fellas, I’m NOT going to quit.
Instead, I’m more determined than ever to win this seat in November and represent the voters of Assembly District 36. I don’t care what the Republican Party establishment wants. I’m not running to represent the lobbyists and special interests.
I’m the people’s choice and I’m going to fight like hell for you – no matter how much dirt and sleaze is thrown at me – to clean up the Carson City “swamp” and make Nevada NEVADA again.