CARLIN -- With echoes of the Wells brothel "wars" in the background and an application for a second brothel in Carlin on the table, Carlin City Council decided Wednesday to look at ways to protect the city from extra costs in case of any "war."
Charlie Kendrick, who has owned Sharon's brothel in Carlin for 14 years, brought up the cost question and proposed that each brothel post a $7,500 bond that Police Chief Bill Bauer likened to a "peace bond."
Kendrick said during a break in the meeting that he was concerned about a brothel war and "wants a fair shot" from the city. "I don't want any problems."
He asked to be put on the agenda to offer the peace bond proposal because the two women seeking a license to operate the Dovetail Ranch brothel in Carlin, Melba Jordan and Marie Cutler, worked for one of the Wells brothels when the two Wells brothels locked horns a couple of years ago.
At that time, the Hacienda brothel built a "shack" on the road from U.S. Highway 93 to both brothels and diverted truck traffic to the Hacienda, which angered Donna's.
According to news stories from the time, the city considered temporarily closing both brothels to keep someone from getting hurt as the battle escalated.
Jordan said she was manager of Donna's, but she was in the hospital when the "war" broke out, and she blamed the brothel owners for the feud.
She also said in the meeting break she doesn't expect any war with Kendrick, and that she and Cutler have met with him and agreed to alternate CB radio hours. The brothels talk with truckers on the CB radios to entice them to visit.
Cutler, who was a bartender at Donna's, also said in the break that the brothel philosophy is that customers "shop" at brothels, including the competition.
The owner of Donna's Ranch in Wells and a brothel in Battle Mountain as well, Jeff Arnold, said from the audience in the packed Carlin City Hall that the "war" cost his brothel roughly $20,000 in legal fees, cost the Hacienda even more and cost the City of Wells $18,000.
The $18,000 tab also led Wells City Council to charge $4,000 a year service fees from the brothels to cover the extra costs of patrolling and legal costs from any future wars and to offset the $18,000 costs.
Carlin City Council approved a second brothel in the city last year, when Dovetail was licensed to Michael and Pamela Tangreen, who operated it about nine months and now plan to lease it to Jordan and Cutler.
Michael Tangreen said the lease is for $600 per month, and he and his wife have already done facility improvements. The lease also includes an option to purchase Dovetail for $400,000, with a down payment of $70,000 and 15 years of payments.
Tangreen also said he thought it was unfair to compare Carlin and Wells over the potential for a brothel battle since the Wells fight was over access, and there is no access problem in Carlin.
"It's apples and oranges," he said.
Sharon's and Dovetail are located on the Carlin-Eureka Highway across the highway from one another.
The council also decided Wednesday night to postpone action on the brothel application until Jordan and Cutler present financial statements from a certified public accountant in light of questions about large amounts of cash.
Bauer said the women passed his investigation, but he was concerned about the cash and its origin.
"When there is cold, hard cash and no way to trace it, I become skeptical," he said.
Arnold told the councilmen they should be aware that starting a brothel takes a lot of money, and the winter is a slow time of year, so the question of whether the applicants have the money to operate is important.
"Who else is involved?" he asked, suggesting a silent partner.
Jordan said they have the money, saved from their work.
"I am aware of the struggle of starting a brothel in the winter, but we built that into the lease," Michael Tangreen said. "So I don't think start-up money is the issue. I feel people are being accused of wrongdoing."
Councilman Marie Bingham told the women the council wasn't trying to discourage new business in Carlin, and she said the committee should be "expedient" in working out details regarding a bond or other protection for the city.
Councilman Ruth Hart said the committee could continue working after the license is granted because the two issues call for separate action.
Regarding the bond proposal, Bauer said City Attorney Bob Goicoechea told him the city could legally require such a bond, but he had technical questions about how a bond would work and suggested the council look at alternatives.
Bauer said the bonds are "not a bad idea," but he felt the council should set up a committee that would include the brothel owners to look at the issues.
The chief also reminded the council that it has the "A-bomb" ability to revoke a brothel license that can be used as a tool to keep brothels in line.
Arnold, who is president of the Nevada Brothel Association, disagreed that using revocation of a license was a good tool, because of the potential of lawsuits the city couldn't afford to fight.
Hart said she favored a service fee over a bond and volunteered to serve on the committee, which also will include Bingham, Bauer, City Manager Bill Kohbarger, Kendrick, Jordan, Cutler and Michael Tangreen.
Bill Sutherland, who owns the City Club bar, questioned whether the idea of a peace bond would "trickle down" to the local saloons.
From an economic standpoint, Mayor Linda Bingaman said in answer to a question from the audience that brothels pay a $1,200 yearly fee for their license, as well as paying taxes.