Published July 02, 2007
PAHRUMP, Nev. – She once ran one of the world's most successful call-girl rings. Her "little black book" bulged with names of the biggest high-rollers on the planet, including Arab sheiks, politicians and movie industry moguls, financiers and actors. That was then.
Now, Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss is laundering once again, but this time it's not the truckloads of cash she earned running her sex empire. No, this time she's laundering, well … laundry, affectionately naming her "mom and pop" venture Dirty Laundry.
You'll find it in this one-horse, dusty desert town about an hour outside Las Vegas.
"Something made me do a laundromat," Fleiss told FOXNews.com. "I need to work, I love to work and someone said a laundromat, so a laundromat it is."
Dirty Laundry opened its doors on Sunday to a crowd of well-wishers, amused onlookers and just plain folks hauling loads of dirty clothes.
The slim, raven-haired former "peddler of prostitutes" served cake and beverages inside her 24-hour, state-of-the-art, energy-efficient laundromat, centered smack dab in the middle of the town's only mall.
For the clever and business-minded Fleiss, it's a world away from wheeling and dealing leggy, gorgeous, high-priced call girls, but this is where the notorious former madam has settled with her 36 parrots and macaws.
It's a little creepy traveling Highway 160 to Pahrump. This is Death Valley, 109 degrees in the shade, if you can find any. It's the Wild, Wild West for real, a long way from the Hollywood fast lane and $10,000-a-night hookers.
Fleiss originally laid her stake down in the desert with plans to open a legal brothel, where the customers are women. She calls it a stud ranch. She's still working on the proper operating licenses to operate the brothel in a nearby town, and she promises the stud ranch will be up and running someday.
Heidi says the brothel plans have been put on hold due to a slight complication.
"One brothel owner here has been arrested for allegedly bribing a public official, and I happen to have introduced him to the public official, so that has delayed the stud farm. But it will happen within eight months."
The locals — mostly men — are skeptical about the potential success of a "stud ranch." A highly unscientific survey that included a highway patrolman, bartender and merchant suggests people don't believe women will patronize such a service. But try telling that to Fleiss.
"I already have enough women ready to buy memberships to show it's income-producing," she said. "There's plenty of supply and demand. There's plenty of men who have applied and they are all beautiful and I can't wait to interview them."
Brothels and laundromats aren't enough to tire Fleiss out. She's also investing in commercial windmills that will be placed on some property she owns locally.
From Hollywood to the desert, leave it to Heidi Fleiss to kick up some dust.