VICKSBURG, Miss., April 16 (UPI) -- Linda Fondren, a candidate for mayor of Vicksburg, Miss., acknowledges she had been a prostitute and owned a legal brothel in Nevada three decades ago.
The admission came after she hedged on questions posed by The (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger about her ties to the Sagebrush Ranch, a legal brothel in rural Nevada she once owned with her husband, the newspaper reported Tuesday.
"These are rumors, and politics is really a business that people do whatever it takes to get things said about people instead of discussing the issues, what concerns people the most," Fondren said March 29.
Late last week, however, in television interviews, Fondren said she and her husband owned the brothel before selling it in 1992.
"I was a working girl in a legal brothel over 30 years ago," Fondren said. "It's true my husband was my client. My husband and I have been married for 28 years.
"I am who I am; this is my story. It is what makes me who I am."
Fondren, who runs Shape Up Vicksburg, an anti-obesity non-profit group, said her revelation was sparked by a news release sent by Dennis Hof, owner of a brothel who is featured on HBO's "Cathouse."
Hof, who says he knew the Fondrens, said Vicksburg voters should view Linda Fondren's experience in managing a successful small business as an asset.
"Our girls go on to careers in medicine, law and education, and they fund those educations with the money that they earn here at The Bunny Ranch," Hof, owner of the Bunny Ranch in Carson City, Nev., told the Mississippi Business Journal. "I couldn't be prouder of their accomplishments, and I sincerely believe that Linda Fondren's time working as a legal prostitute in Nevada has given her the necessary business acumen to be a very successful mayor."