ELKO – Mona’s Ranch could soon have its suspended brothel license restored and a new owner.
Elko City Council will be asked at its Aug. 14 meeting to consider approving applications for a house of prostitution license and retail liquor license from Louis Goldberg, who was general manager of Mona’s Ranch and hopes to buy Mona’s.
The council suspended Mona’s brothel license on Feb. 27 for 180 days after an employee was charged with drug trafficking and drugs were found in his room at the brothel. The suspension expires Aug. 27, and Goldberg is seeking the new licenses in his name.
Mona’s is still owned by Kim Watson and Soon Yee Scott of Las Vegas, who acquired the brothel license in 2014, but Goldberg’s application states that the brothel is under contract.
Police Chief Ben Reed states in a letter to Mayor Chris Johnson and the council that an extensive background check on Goldberg found no evidence he is “involved in organized crime, human trafficking, drug use or other felonious activities.”
The letter in the agenda packet also says his financial status “appears sufficient to support the business.”
In his application, Goldberg states he will be in Elko at the Mona location on Third Street full time 15 days of each month. He maintains addresses in California, according to Reed’s letter. Goldberg also manages Inez’s D&D brothel in Elko.
Along with Goldberg’s applications, Anna L. Brown filed an application to operate Mona’s Ranch as head manager. She lives in Elko and was a bartender/manager at Mona’s when the license was suspended. She won’t be an owner but could have future ownership or partner benefits in the future, according to the application.
Reed wrote that Brown has no criminal history, and there is no evidence she is involved in felonious activities.
When the council suspended the brothel license in February, the action followed a lengthy public hearing and talk of revoking the license. The motion to suspend also called for the owners to come up with a business plan by the end of 180 days. That plan should show how the brothel would prevent drugs on site.
At the hearing, Mona’s Ranch attorney Tony Liker contended that the owners and brothel management weren’t aware of any drugs at Mona’s and the brothel shouldn’t be closed.
As part of the defense, he also tried to show that the arrested employee, Peter Alberro, was a bartender and maintenance man but not management, while Reed testified that under city code bartenders are considered managers.
Goldberg said at that meeting all the workers had gone through drug testing, and there would be more stringent drug testing in the future. He also said the brothel would do background checks on top of those done by the Elko Police Department, and there would be no locked rooms.
Alberro’s room was locked when police arrived for a search.
Mona co-owner Watson said at the February meeting Goldberg “had no idea there was a problem at Mona’s,” and she begged the council to give him a second chance.
Mona’s liquor license wasn’t suspended, but after the council action, a handwritten sign on the door stated “All Girls At Inez’s.”