By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Fleiss, too, has reached similar conclusions, though what she plans on doing with them remains to be seen. In earlier statements to the press, she told CNN that the building would cost about $1.5 million and be designed to resemble the White House. Perhaps because there would be no end to the Bush jokes, perhaps for other reasons, she has since changed her mind. Her plans now include everything from a spa to peepshow rooms. To design those rooms, she told me, she had hired World Trade Center architect Daniel Libeskind, and they were in “preliminary phases.” Whatever those phases are, when I reached Libeskind’s office, no one there had any idea what I was talking about, nor, they said, had they been in contact with Fleiss.
Still, the notion of a hot-’n’-heavy market for studs on a farm was mostly supposition. We checked into the Hard Rock for further reconnaissance. The plan was to ask a hundred different women if they would be willing to pay to play. I chose the Hard Rock primarily because it caters to a fratster crowd: frat boys with hipster haircuts. I figured the women running around with these guys might be of the more adventurous type. Clearly, these were not my ideal demographic, but how’d you feel about asking an overweight paraplegic if she fancied a fun-filled trip to Fleiss Land?
There were a number of problems with this plan. The first being that wandering around the casinos asking gals if they’d like to pay for sex seemed a sure-fire way to get thrown out of the casinos. We decided to go the discreet route by dropping 30 bucks each to spend the evening at Body English, the Hard Rock’s nightclub, and do our field-testing there.
“Do I want to pay for sex, you fucking asshole?” was how my discretion was first met. She was somewhere around 35, going on chubby. Maybe she took it personally? I decided to ask only hot girls. Asking hot girls didn’t go all that much better. We further amended our plan. We would ask only 10 women and factor up. Sure, it was lame, but I did the math. There are 36.7 million visitors a year to Sin City. If even 1 percent of those were randy enough to gamble on a sure thing, then the Madam was making bank.
We got no drinks thrown at us, three flat-out yeses, one “Yes, if I wasn’t married,” one “Are there girls there? I’d rather pay to be with a girl,” one “I’d try it once just out of curiosity,” one soft no, two hard noes, and one that sounded a lot like the Lord’s Prayer. Factored up, that’s roughly 40 percent in our poor man’s focus group who were in favor, though — as market researchers are quick to point out — there’s a huge difference between what people say they’re going to do and what they actually do. According to Fleiss, the local L.A. television station KTLA conducted a considerably more rigorous and egalitarian poll of their own over five days and got numbers significantly higher than ours, reporting that on one day 88 percent of women asked wanted to check out her stud farm.
I wanted to check out the stud farm as well, even if it wasn’t yet built, even if it was nothing more than cactuses, simply because I had come this far. Unfortunately, when I finally got Fleiss on the phone, she informed me that there was another change of plans. When we first spoke, she had told me that her plan was to do polls of her own, to do months more hard research, to make sure all her ducks were in a row. Maybe the KTLA poll was what she’d been waiting for; maybe she’d just grown tired of waiting. Either way, she told me she had decided it was time to submit her brothel application, something that would demand considerable focus (and something that still hasn’t been done as of press time). When I asked if we could still come visit, she said she was too busy, plans change, it’s a fluid situation, there’s a lot at stake. Then she told me she was leaving in the morning to drive back to L.A. with the HBO crew to pick up her truck.
I mentioned that both myself and the photographer had spent a week of our lives trying to take a couple of pictures and get a quick tour of the property, and if she was willing to do that first, we would be happy to drive her back to L.A. to get her truck. She told me if I wanted to see the property, I should just drive to Crystal, walk into the Crystal Springs Bar and ask for directions.
“Everyone knows where it is,” she said. “I’ll call ahead and let them know you’re coming.”
“Why did I waste all this time if you’re just going to flake on me?”
It was about that time she decided to go X-Files on us.
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