City Releases Private Investigator’s Report on Strip Clubs

City Attorney Karl Hall. Image: Bob Conrad.
City Attorney Karl Hall. Image: Bob Conrad.

NOTE: This article reports on explicit adult, sexual, and drug activities and may not be suitable for everyone.

The City of Reno released today the investigation it commissioned from a private investigator to document potential illegal activities at area strip clubs and other adult businesses.

Despite City Attorney Karl Hall’s insistence that the report is confidential under attorney-client privilege, a point that open-government advocates and the news media say is a violation of Nevada’s Public Records Act, City Manager Sabra Newby said the report has been released “to promote public trust and accountability.”

It was only when Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus mentioned the private investigation at the last city council meeting that it was revealed that Hall had commissioned the investigation. He refused to comment on the report at that meeting, and Reno Police Chief Jason Soto said he was unaware of Hall’s investigation.

Newby said:

“The City is committed to governmental transparency at all levels. In the interest of full transparency, I have decided to waive the attorney-client work-product privilege on the adult businesses report prepared for the City Attorney’s Office in anticipation of future litigation.

“As City Manager, I feel it is important that the public and media have access to the report at this time, given that the City Council is considering new laws that may impact how adult businesses operate, and where they will be permitted within the City of Reno.”

The City did not indicate how much is cost to hire Elite Investigations to infiltrate strip clubs and conduct undercover surveillance. The company visited seven strip clubs and adult businesses, as well as surrounding neighborhoods, and reviewed the clubs’ social media feedback, which were mostly reviews on Yelp. Surveillance was conducted in early 2017. The report was given to the city in late July.

A handful of establishments had negative findings, including alleged acts of prostitution and drug use.

The following was documented at Wild Orchid:

wild orchid

This was observed at Fantasy Girls:

fantasy girlsThe Spice House on Fourth Street also had alleged illegal activity.

spice house

Newby said that the report was being referred to city code enforcement and the Reno Police Department. The report appears to confirm what critics of the strip clubs have been saying — that the clubs promote illegal activity and should be removed from downtown.

Others, however, including employees of the clubs, have defended the operations.

“I work at Fantasy Girls and we do not tolerate any ‘soliciting,'” said Shaylynn Ellis. “If we find out one of our dancers is offering ‘extra services’ she is fired, whether we find out when it happens at the club or find their ads posted to Backpage.

“The ONLY reason city council is doing this is because of the Ponderosa and Orchid not looking the way they want Midtown to look.  They say our businesses aren’t ‘family friendly’ and that’s what they are trying to turn Reno into. By that logic you need to remove all pawn shops, bars, casinos, etc. as well.”

Download the report here: Adult_Business_Ordinance_Investigation

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About Bob Conrad 823 Articles
Bob Conrad is proprietor and co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company (disclosure: client work includes projects funded by grants through UNR) and is an adjunct faculty member at Truckee Meadows Community College. He is a contributor to Reno Public Radio.

6 Comments

  1. “By that logic you need to remove all pawn shops, bars, casinos, etc. as well.” Is a Valid point. The clubs are not following the rules and need to. So fine them, they clean it up, pass recheck, then check them every year. Repeated violations result in shut down. Simple!

  2. Fact is crystal meth in it’s final form is practically oderless, even when being smoked (except if you burn it,that’s if you get it too hot then it will stink bad) but most people who smoke it don’t burn it, because that’s uncool,and will result you Getting cut off, so this investigator walking by women’s rest room and sayin he smelled meth is something that will not stand up in court,

  3. Fact is crystal meth in it’s final form is practically oderless, even when being smoked (except if you burn it,that’s if you get it too hot then it will stink bad) but most people who smoke it don’t burn it, because that’s uncool,and will result you Getting cut off, so this investigator walking by women’s rest room and sayin he smelled meth is something that will not stand up in court,

  4. In the name of ‘governmental transparency’ at what cost to the city was the investigation? I wonder what they thought they were going to find?

  5. Back in the 90s, my boss took me and some co-workers to a titty-bar near Long Beach. The girls were all just like kindly country girls one might meet over in Elko or Ely; except they had no tops on. After the initial shock of having someone’s 44 DDs staring at you wore off, it was just a bar with very very expensive drinks and girls who you were not allowed to touch, but were otherwise just a bunch of farm girls who had moved to the big city to make some money pole dancing.

    There really isn’t much to those titty bars. Just a bunch of topless women trying to get men to pay to watch them dance while drinking grossly over-priced drinks.

    After that one time and I never went again. I just thought the whole scene to be rather stupid, especially since my girlfriend was way better looking and was a far better, “dancer.”

    City Council could have just sent me an email and I could have told them what goes on in those places. From what others have told me, things are little different today compared to the one experience that I had decades ago.

    It is typical of this hen-house Council that they waste the People’s money on such nonsense. I hope that everyone votes against the incumbents for the next two election cycles until we rid our City of the corrupt and incompetent people who currently soil our Reno City Council. First they tarnish the reputation of the best City Manager that we ever had, now they try to sully the reputations of legitimate local businessmen with this private eye baloney. How did we ever get such a Rogues Gallery of fools?

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