LAS VEGAS (AP) — A tiny Nevada town that's home to one of the most powerful people in Congress is up for sale.
Verlie Doing — the woman who has owned a casino, a former brothel, and dozens of other properties for decades — said she's ready to hand over her stake in Searchlight, the town that reared Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"When you get to be 88 and work hard all your life — it's time for her to enjoy her time," said Fred Marik, the Las Vegas broker who listed the properties this week.
For $5 million, the winning buyer will get the Searchlight Nugget casino, which boasts old-fashioned, coin-operated slot machines so players can hear the clink-clink of their winnings.
The deal also includes the 21-room El Rey motel and a former brothel that's since been converted into housing for casino workers. In all, the collection of business and residential properties totals 41 acres.
Marik said Doing and the Democratic Reid may not share the same political views but are good neighbors. Reid often frequents the Nugget.
"I have known the Doing family forever. They have been so kind to me and my family," the senator said in a statement. "Nothing gets done in Searchlight without the Doings."
An estimated 9,000 people drive through the town each day, many on their way to nearby Lake Mojave. Searchlight has a museum that focuses on its mining history, but there aren't many signs that the town is home to the famous politico.
The economy ebbs and flows with mining. At its low point, Searchlight dwindled to about 50 people, while it counted 539 people in the 2010 Census, Marik said. Town residents are looking forward to a boost from a nearby gold mine that may open in coming weeks.
Marik said he's been fielding calls from around the country since the listing went public Monday. He's targeting people who see tourism potential in the dusty, Old West settlement that's an hour's drive from glitzy Las Vegas.
"It's not a place that's a bustling metropolis," Marik said of Searchlight. "It's just a very unique part of Americana."
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