Editor’s note: This post has been altered from its original version to correct an error.
Remember that one time that U.S. Sen. Harry Reid called for an end to legal brothels in Nevada? Neither did I, until an appearance this morning on KNPR’s interview program State of Nevada.
On that show, longtime brothel lobbyist George Flint said — for the first time ever — that somebody from Reid’s majority leader office called him in March 2011 to apologize for Reid’s February 2011 speech before the Nevada Legislature, in which Reid said legal prostitution was an impediment to economic development in Nevada.
But Reid’s spokeswoman today denied an apology had been offered for Reid’s remarks, which were met with silence two years ago from a legislative chamber that included working girls and brothel owners who’d been tipped off that Reid intended to attack their industry.
“We never apologized,” said Kristen Orthman, Reid’s spokeswoman. “We didn’t apologize because there’s nothing to apologize for.”
Reid, Orthman said, still believes Nevada should outlaw prostitution in all of its counties. (Currently, it’s legal in most places in the state outside population centers such as Reno and Las Vegas.)
But Flint in an interview this afternoon stuck to his story. He said a woman whom he identified as “Adele” called from Reid’s majority leader office, which is housed in a different location than the senator’s official staff. She said Reid was recovering at the time from a fall that dislocated his shoulder, and was busy on the Senate floor, but instructed her to call to reaffirm Reid’s longstanding friendship and tell Flint that the senator didn’t want Flint to hold the speech against Reid.
According to Reuters, Reid’s injury was in May 2011, about three months after his speech.
“I took it as an apology,” said Flint, who confirmed that he and Reid have been friends for years. He recounted an incident in which Reid recalled a $500 contribution to Reid’s campaign for lieutenant governor, a donation the senator remembered years afterwards. Orthman also said that Reid maintains a good relationship with Flint, who has represented the legal brothel industry in Nevada since 1985.
Flint has recently called for legalizing prostitution throughout Nevada, but has acknowledged he faces an uphill climb. He says he’s preparing to do a poll to gauge public mood on the issue before moving forward.