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A St. George prostitution sting has netted nine would-be sex customers among them a prominent Las Vegas-based businessman, philanthropist and lobbyist.
Charles Christopher Brennan, founder of the short-term credit Dollar Loan Center chain, was arrested about 10 p.m. Thursday, along with eight other men. They were booked into Washington County's Purgatory Correctional Facility on a class B misdemeanor of patronizing a prostitute charges.
Jail records show Brennan, 42, was released after posting $587 bond. He did not immediately return a call requesting comment Friday.
St. George police spokesman Johnny Heppler said Brennan and the others arrested are alleged to have made arrangements through an Internet site and by telephone with a police decoy. He said that an average of $200 per suspect was offered for various sex acts.
"Our investigations division has been monitoring online activities relating to prostitution solicitation in the St. George area for some time," Heppler said Friday. "We brought in a decoy to act as a prostitute, posted ads on websites primarily used by people seeking [prostitutes]."
Brennan was among those who allegedly agreed to meet the decoy at a St. George area hotel. "This was not a place where we have had a [prostitution] problem, but a predetermined location set up by police themselves," Heppler said.
Brennan, who characterizes himself as a "serial entrepreneur," also founded Nevada's Clark County Collection Service and the online LoanShack.com site. He is known in Las Vegas for his charitable endeavors, among them the annual Holiday Food Drive and, last summer, leading efforts to rebuild a center for training the disabled when the facility burned down.
Brennan is active in state politics as a registered lobbyist with the Nevada Legislature. In September, he made headlines when the Federal Election Commission dismissed a complaint by a former employee that Brennan improperly made contributions to the unsuccessful 2008 re-election campaign of Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nevada.