The Ely Times
A local brothel has closed down until further notice. The closure of the Stardust Ranch occurred Sunday, April 28. The decision was made by the owners counsel, Allen Buttell.
Reasons for closing were not disclosed, although a prostitute working at the Stardust Ranch recently died on the premises.
Ashley Weger, 32, was found deceased at the Stardust Ranch on April 6. The White Pine County Sheriff’s Department received a call at 6:03 p.m. from the Stardust Ranch.
Deputies responded to the call where deputies located Weger deceased inside her room. She was pronounced dead by a coroner who responded to the scene.
Sheriff Scott Henriod reported that there was no indication of foul play. Weger’s body has been sent to the Clark County Coroner’s Office to determine her cause of death. The autopsy could take 6-8 weeks.
Gary Lee Michalson has owned the business since April of 2015. In the past 5 years, 50 business licenses for prostitutes who worked out of the location were issued.
Michalson also owns Sure Bet Entertainment in Las Vegas.
City Attorney Chuck Odgers reported that on Thursday, April 25, he learned of alleged criminal activity occurring at the Stardust.
Odgers said, “It was my intent to issue a cease and desist order based on the applicable city code.”
The manager at the time, Christy Boksa, was at the City Hall building when Odgers informed Boksa that he was going to be issuing a cease and desist. The mayor had been informed in addition to the city clerk.
The following day, Allen Buttell, counsel for Michalson, arrived at City Hall. “Buttell and I discussed the concerns the sheriff’s office conveyed to me. The attorney wanted to know what he could do to ensure the Stardust stayed open until the city council could meet to review the allegations.
“I indicated I was unable to allow him to remain open without the mayor’s authorization.”
A meeting was held on Saturday at 10 a.m. at City Hall with the Stardust’s representatives, manager Christy Boksa, Sheriff Henriod, Mayor Melody VanCamp and Odgers.
VanCamp was not in favor of keeping the business open after a plan from the owner was laid out. After discussion with VanCamp, Odgers and Henriod, VanCamp agreed to allow the Stardust to stay open provided all the conditions were met.
The conditions included having a security guard on site while the Stardust was open, not allowing the manager to work in the back, make sure all employees contracted were properly licensed and removing anyone who appeared to be using drugs or attempting to buy or sell drugs.
It was during the Saturday meeting that the city became aware of a death at the Stardust. Unattended deaths are handled by the Sheriff’s Office.
But on Sunday morning, the Stardust was closed down. “Law enforcement was present and supervised the staff packing their belongings and leaving,” Odgers said.
Boksa, former manager at the Stardust, explained how she began working for the Stardust back in January. She reportedly worked from January to April.
“They offered me the job as manager,” she said. “When I told them I would take the position as a manager, I told them it was a meth house, and if I wanted to stay there it needed to be clean …
“After the police left, we cleaned out the house, we found 3 grams of heroin, 2 grams of methamphetamine, needles, pipes, and the cops said they couldn’t search the house. One girl admitted to using the heroin, and after the cops left she continued to shooting up.”
At the time of Weger’s death, four other women worked at the Stardust. Boksa said Weger had been at the ranch for abou five weeks.
“She had chlamydia when she came to us,” Boksa said. “We spent $600 getting her a bar card, licensed, getting her medically cleared … I don’t know how she died ultimately, I believe she died from an overdose.”
Since Weger had an STD, they encouraged her to get a bar card so she could still make money, and after two weeks, she was able to work, she only booked one date, according to Boksa.
The evening Weger was found, Boksa noted that Weger had been in bed all day, she was sick, she had several health problems,noting the last time she saw her was midnight.
“It appeared to me, she had rolled out of her bed, and fell in front of the door. Several staff were pushing the door back and forth to try to open it without luck.
“They placed a mirror under the door, and all we could see was her arm, which was blue. The cops arrived, they tried to get in the door, but had to go through the window.”
Boksa also said she hadn’t been paid for all of her dates or services. “Staff are paid half for their services. But if you have a credit card date, and not a cash date, I haven’t seen any of those profits. And those were the higher calls. A $1,000 call a $800 call and never saw a dime of it.”
Buttell was contacted for comment. It was explained that the Stardust was voluntarily closed by Buttell after discovering inappropriate conduct occurring at the business.
No hearing date or agenda item has been discussed, or scheduled. At this time the Stardust will remain closed.