PAHRUMP — The Hollywood Madam has holes in her shirt.

They start at the sleeves of the billowy top she wears over her wiry frame. They creep up her shoulders and across her neckline, marking the spots where the beaks of curious parrots have punched through the fabric.

Heidi Fleiss may be opening a Pahrump laundromat called Dirty Laundry, and she still talks about launching a brothel for women, but lately her life in Nevada is for the birds.

Fleiss now keeps 25 parrots in and around the two-bedroom house she has been renting on the north side of Pahrump since December 2005.

Most of her exotic birds are macaws measuring up to three feet from crown to tail, with piercing squawks and beaks strong enough to crush your knuckle.

"I love my macaws," says Fleiss, whose infamous call-girl ring once served some of Hollywood’s elite. "Come on, macaws are the pimpin’ birds."

Eight parrots came from a woman next door who kept hundreds of exotic birds in her tiny trailer until her death last year.

Fleiss adopted six more birds from a parrot rescue operation in Los Angeles.

Several of her parrots came from homes where they were abused.

Before that, Fleiss never even had a pet.

"I didn’t want to be a freaky bird person," she says.

As if on cue, a scarlet macaw named Gina comes charging out of the bedroom, her claws ticking across the floor with startling speed as she races toward the feet of a visitor.

Fleiss snags Gina at the last second, lifting the excited flash of red feathers into the air to perch on her arm.

The parrot immediately starts showing off, rainbow wings outstretched, as her pupils shrink and dilate in a gesture bird owners know as the moment before someone gets bit.

"I taught her to say stupid things like ‘movie star’ and ‘big shot,’" Fleiss says as Gina strikes a pose. "You’ll never see anything as beautiful as this. You’ll never see a sunset or anything as beautiful as this."

Even Fleiss’ decision to open a laundromat in Pahrump can be traced back to her birds.

Fleiss says she threw herself into the idea after the death of another beloved macaw named Dalton.

"I had to force myself to do something," she says. "Nothing in my 41 years — nothing — ever affected me like this."

The result is Dirty Laundry, a 1,000-square-foot operation tucked into Pahrump’s busiest shopping center.

Fleiss will host a grand opening party there at 1 p.m. today. After that, the coin-op laundromat will be open 24 hours a day and offer fluff-and-fold services for 65 cents a pound.

Fleiss says she has poured more than $200,000 into the business, much of it to buy 13 washers and 14 dryers at about $6,000 a piece.

She wanted the place to have a certain flair, so she had the walls and floor covered with the nameplates from old slots and video poker machines.

The restroom floor is decorated with a collage of broken tile and mirrored glass, just like the floors of her house in Pahrump.

Fleiss says people might see her at the laundromat from time to time, but she won’t be a permanent fixture there.

"I’m not going to be the attendant on duty," she says.

Fleiss has no idea how her business will be received in Nye County’s largest community. She just hopes it will last at least as long as her 5-year lease.

Kari Frilot, chief executive officer for the Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce, wouldn’t offer a prediction. She wouldn’t even address Dirty Laundry by name.

Instead, Frilot issued a statement declaring generically that "new businesses drive increased revenue and competition and contribute to economic development."

Fleiss says she has already been approached by a New York investor who is ready to open two more Dirty Laundry locations, but she isn’t ready for that yet.

She wants to see what happens in Pahrump first.

"I still have to build a brothel," she says.

Fleiss ran her high-priced ring of call girls to the stars in the early 1990s. Then she got busted, put on trial and turned into an even bigger celebrity than some of her clients, all on her way to the slammer.

She made headlines again in late 2005 when she moved to Nye County and announced plans to open Heidi’s Stud Farm in the tiny town of Crystal, about 20 miles north of Pahrump.

The 20-man operation would be Nevada’s first legal bordello catering exclusively to female customers. First, though, the concept requires approval from the Nye County Liquor and Licensing Board, which includes the sheriff and the five-member County Commission.

Fleiss has yet to submit an application, but she says she plans to within the next three months.

Fleiss says she still gets e-mails from men who want to work in the brothel and women eager to spend some money there. "I have at least 400 women who are ready to buy a membership."

To go with her stud farm, Fleiss eventually hopes to establish a commercial wind farm. All she needs are several massive General Electric turbines and a stiff Nevada breeze.

"That’s my future," she says. "If I get my wind project going, I’ll never have to work again."

Fleiss insists her decision to open the laundromat had nothing to do with her plans for the brothel. She doesn’t feel the need to convince anyone that she is a legitimate businesswoman.

"I don’t have anything to prove. I qualify for that (brothel) license," she says. "My life is an open book. There are a few things that are private, but they’re not skeletons."

Fleiss and her brother, Jesse, bought 60 acres of vacant land for the brothel in Crystal in 2005. She plans to build a house for herself and a guest house for her father on about three acres of the property.

No blueprints have been drawn up, but Fleiss says her place in Crystal will have a master bathroom almost as large as her entire house in Pahrump. "I’m not going to do a Hearst Castle, but it’s going to be nice."

The house also will include a three-story, auditorium-style enclosure for her birds. "I’m going to build them a structure as close to their natural habitat as I can in Crystal, Nevada."

A hint of what that might look like can be found on Fleiss’ back porch in Pahrump. She has transformed that space into an air-conditioned sun room filled with perches, plants, ropes and toys.

Water gurgles in a plastic pond filled with goldfish.

"It’s like a Beverly Hills for them," she says of her birds.

They also have the run of the rest of the house. There are birds on the doors and the furniture and the floor, birds climbing around on the cages of other birds.

In the guest bathroom, an African grey parrot perches on a shelf across from the toilet and talks visitors through their business with an encouraging "hello."

A few of the parrots are learning Spanish from Fleiss’ housekeeper. Others came with cuss words and other insults already in their vocabulary. Groucho the macaw recently called the UPS guy a "pervert."

Her pets have gnawed on some of her artwork and destroyed a $5,000 set of bed linen. There are holes in most of the clothes in her closet, thanks to a macaw who spends much of the day in there.

Lately, Fleiss admits her relationship with the birds has come at the expense of human interaction.

"I spend as much time with them as I can," she says.

The unabashed L.A. party girl estimates she spends at least five nights a week at her place in Pahrump. She keeps a perch next to her bed, and Gina sometimes sleeps under the covers with her.

Occasionally, Fleiss can be seen playing $3 blackjack at one of the local casinos.

"Once I put the birds to bed, I sneak out," she says.

Her name and number are listed in the local phone book. She keeps 25,000 extra copies of "Pandering," her self-published 2003 memoir, in storage trailers parked next to the house.

To at least one of her friends, it almost looks like nesting.

"I go back a long ways with Heidi," says Dennis Hof, outspoken owner of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch brothel near Carson City. "I never thought I’d see her settle down and have a family. She’s got a family of birds.

"Heidi loves Pahrump. She loves her life," Hof said.

Fleiss even traded in her Porsche convertible, her speeding-ticket magnet on wheels, for a bright blue off-road vehicle.

"It’s a big change for me, all of it," Fleiss says. "I love going out into the desert. I collect rocks. I’ve changed."

Watch Las Vegas police wild pursuit through busy Las Vegas streets
An intense chase near Downtown Las Vegas ends after gunfire is exchanged as the suspect flees on busy streets and ends up near an elementary school. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Man shot strolling through park
A man was hospitalized early Tuesday morning after being shot while walking in a central Las Vegas park. Las Vegas police say the man and a woman were in Molasky Park just after midnight when the man was shot. The pair ran to a nearby supermarket where a security guard called for help. The man was hospitalized and as of 3 a.m. was in stable condition. Police have yet to identify the shooter and no suspects are in custody.
Police investigating shooting at east valley apartment complex
No one was injured late Monday night after someone fired shots at a vehicle at an east valley apartment complex. Police responded just before midnight to the Hamptons Apartments, 3070 S. Nellis Blvd. Someone fired shots at a vehicle that was leaving the complex, and struck the vehicle. Another bullet struck a nearby apartment building. The shooter or shooters remain at-large.
Hundreds Attend Slides, Rides and Rock and Roll in North Las Vegas
Hundreds attended the inaugural slides, rides and rock and roll event in North Las Vegas Saturday. The event featured a car show, water slide park and live music. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
It's All Rainbows At The Center's New Cafe
The Gay and Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) introduced its new coffeeshop, Little Rainbow Cafe, in June. Rainbows are everywhere, even in the lattes and toast, and employees wear t-shirts with the quote "Be a rainbow in someone's cloud." Owner Ben Sabouri said the concept is "built around the idea of, you know, be kind and treat everybody the same." (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get a Rainbow Latte at the The Center's Little Rainbow Cafe
The Center, a community center for the LGBTQ community of Southern Nevada, has a new cafe. Little Rainbow Cafe serves up a pride-inspired signature "Rainbow Latte." (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pedestrian killed trying to cross Sahara
A pedestrian was killed Friday trying to cross Sahara Avenue near Maryland Parkway about 5 a.m. A sedan struck the pedestrian while the person was outside the crosswalk between Maryland Parkway and Pardee Place, according to Las Vegas police. Police also said the driver of the sedan remained at the site of the crash. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene. This is the 75th fatal crash that Las Vegas police have investigated in 2018.
Man shot multiple times
Las Vegas police are investigating after a man was shot multiple times early Friday morning. The shooting was called in about 3:20 a.m. at the Harbor Island Apartments, 370 E. Harmon Ave., near Koval Lane. The man was hospitalized and is expected to survive, but police are still searching for the shooter.
Former Military Police Corps Officer Celebrates 100th Birthday
Summerlin resident Gene Stephens, who served as a military policeman in WWII and escorted then-Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and President Roosevelt during the war, turned 100 on July 13, 2018. He credits his longevity to living a normal life, exercising regularly and eating three square meals a day. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Motorcyclist suffers serious injuries
A motorcycle rider was seriously injured Tuesday night after a crash on Charleston Boulevard. The crash was reported just before 10 p.m. near Durango Drive, according to Las Vegas police. The motorcyclist was hospitalized with unknown injuries but is expected to survive. Las Vegas police are investigating the cause of the accident.
CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara Has Lunch With Students
New Clark County School District superintendent Jesus Jara continued his listening tour by having lunch with students at Red Rock Elementary School as part of the district's summer lunch program. In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, children under the age of 18 can find a free lunch at 104 different locations across the valley through the summer months. Jara highlighted the free program and the importance of eating healthy during his visit. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Timeline Leading Up to Scott Dozier's Execution
Scott Dozier is set to be executed by lethal injection the night of July 11 at Ely State Prison. Dozier was convicted of the April 2002 killing of 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller and was given the death penalty in Oct. 2007. In 2016 Dozier asked in a letter to District Judge Jennifer Togliatti requesting that he “be put to death.” A three-drug cocktail of midazolam, a sedative; the painkiller fentanyl; and cisatracurium, a paralytic, is expected to end his life. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Program Helps Mothers Battling Addiction
Jennifer Stanert has battled drug addiction on and off for the last 21 years. It caused her to lose custody of one of her children, Alec, after she gave birth while high. A new program at Dignity Health St. Rose Dominican Hospitals aims to connect mothers like Stanert with community resources and provide case management services while still pregnant to get connected to lactation and parenting classes, group peer support and education on neonatal abstinence syndrome. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Felon caught with guns in Mandalay Bay room 3 years before Las Vegas shooting
A felon was caught with guns in a Mandalay Bay hotel room three years before the October 1st mass shooting. Six weapons were found inside Kye Aaron Dunbar’s 24th floor room in November 2014. Four were semi-automatic. One was a scoped rifle pointing toward the Strip, according to court documents. Dunbar was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for unlawful possession. The case just came to light in a lawsuit accusing Mandalay Bay of negligence in connection with the Oct. 1st shooting.
Illegal fireworks in the Las Vegas area garner complaints
Clark County received nearly 25,000 complaints over the Independence Day holiday on a new illegal fireworks site. Reports from the site led to at least 10 illegal fireworks busts across the valley overnight. As of Thursday morning, the county is still compiling the total number of citations issued.
House fire displaces 2 people
Two people were displaced after a house fire early Thursday morning. The fire, at 963 Temple Drive in east Las Vegas, was reported just after midnight, according to a battalion chief from the Clark County Fire Department. Crews from the North Las Vegas and Las Vegas fire departments also were called in to help. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
"Red White and Boom" July 4 Fireworks at the Stratosphere
Full video of the Fourth of July "Red White and Boom" fireworks show at the Stratosphere as seen from the 8th floor Elation Pool. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
July 4th fireworks at the Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite
July 4th fireworks at the Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite. (7-04-18) (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Crowds Enjoy Fireworks at the Stratosphere
Revelers enjoyed watching fireworks displays from the Stratosphere's 8th floor Elation pool on July 4. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pedestrian killed in Henderson
A pedestrian trying to cross St. Rose Parkway at Bermuda was hit by a vehicle on Tuesday night and later died. The crash was reported around 11:30 p.m. Las Vegas police responded initially, but handed over the investigation to Henderson police once it was determined the accident happened in their jurisdiction. Las Vegas police did respond to a report of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle on the Strip. The person, who was hit by a BMW near Fashion Show mall, suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries.
USPS owes $3.5 million for using Vegas Statue of Liberty on stamp
The United States Postal Service has been ordered to pay $3.5 million to a sculptor after using the Las Vegas replica of the Statue of Liberty in a stamp. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Officer Brent Horlacher shoots at Jessie Murillo
Las Vegas police video of an officer-involved shooting on June 29, 2018. Officer Brent Horlacher, 28, fired a single shot at suspect Jessie Murillo. Murillo was not injured. The radio audio is of the officer who fired the gun and the body camera video is from a different officer. Radio audio excerpts are added to the video and are not the precise times the audio was spoken.
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
UNLV professor cautions dangers of distracted walking
An alarming number of adults do not cross the street safely according to a study conducted by professor Tim Bungum of the School of Community Health Sciences at the UNLV. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas-Review Journal) @brokejournalist
Car left in remote desert 21 years is recovered for late owner's children
Showboat casino blackjack dealer Mark Blackburn died outside of White Hills, Ariz. 21 years ago. His 1980 Datsun B310 wagon remained in the remote desert until a network of volunteers recovered the car for his children. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Resort on Mount Charleston Sold for $4.8 million
North Carolina couple and hoteliers Deanna and Colin Crossman have purchased the Resort on Mount Charleston for $4.8 million. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Traffic stop turns into officer-involved shooting
Las Vegas police are investigating after an officer fired a shot at a suspect fleeing a traffic stop early Friday morning. The officer tried to pull over a black Dodge Durango with license plates that belonged to a different vehicle. The driver took off northbound on Lamb Boulevard and at one point crossed into the southbound lanes. A man got out of the car and fled on foot. During the chase, the officer saw something in the man’s hand and fired a single shot, police said. The man wasn’t injured and was later taken into custody. Police could not confirm if the man had a weapon when he was arrested. This is the 9th officer involved shooting of 2018. Per police policy, the identity of the officer will be released after 48 hours. 01:05
5 Dead in Shooting at Capital Gazette Newspaper in Maryland
5 Dead in Shooting at Capital Gazette Newspaper in Maryland Five people have been killed and two have been injured in a "targeted attack" at the newspaper, which is owned by the Baltimore Sun. Anne Arundel County deputy police chief Bill Krampf said the suspected gunman entered the building with a shotgun and walked through the lower level of the building, where the newspaper is housed. According to Krampf, the suspect "possibly" had a connection to the paper through social media. The suspect was identified as Jarrod Warren Ramos. Ramos filed a defamation claim in 2012 against the paper but the case was dismissed. He is currently in custody. President Trump was briefed on the events.
Clark County Fire inspects fireworks booths
Clark County Fire Prevention Inspector Amanda Wildermuth talks about inspecting fireworks booths to keep everyone safe on Fourth of July. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like