VIRGINIA CITY — Northern Nevada brothel owner David Burgess, who was convicted by a federal jury in Wyoming for possessing and transporting child pornography, has failed in an effort to win his license back.
A panel made up of Storey County’s three commissioners and sheriff voted Friday to uphold the suspension of Burgess’ brothel, liquor and escort licenses for the Old Bridge Ranch east of Reno.
The same panel suspended Burgess’ brothel license May 9, three weeks after he was convicted of the child pornography charges. Sheriff Jim Miller then suspended Burgess’ liquor and escort licenses.
The 55-year-old Burgess faces from five to 30 years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine when he’s sentenced July 7.
At a contentious public hearing Friday, Burgess’ lawyer, Marc Picker, accused the county of unfairness for providing 200 pages of documents only one minute before the hearing began.
Picker noted that a judge had not certified the guilty verdict, and under federal law, a conviction doesn’t exist until that point. He also accused commission Chairman Greg “Bum” Hess, Commissioner Bob Kershaw and county special counsel Mark Gunderson of having conflicts of interest.
Picker said Hess has business ties to Burgess’ chief competitor in the brothel business, Lance Gilman, owner of the Wild Horse and Mustang II brothels, also east of Reno.
Kershaw’s son worked for Gilman and Gunderson had represented Gilman in a previous case involving Burgess, he said.
Picker plans to ask a judge to overturn the board’s ruling.
Gunderson said the hearing was about Burgess and his actions, not anyone’s involvement with Gilman. All documents were part of the previous record and Picker had access to it, he added.
Gunderson said Burgess violated a county ordinance that bars anyone convicted of a felony from holding a brothel license.