The Reg Gets in the Swing
OC Register refuses to close down its own secret sex club
The Weekly can now reveal that The Orange County Register is operating an orgy palace in its offices.
"Dress-up play rooms, bondage dungeons, the desk of investigative reporter Tony Saavedra—we allow and welcome most every perversion imaginable," admitted Register publisher Terry Horne in an interview—after removing his ball gag.
"Terry Horne"—which, as many have long suspected, is actually his porn name (we're still digging on his true identity)—got the idea for this new revenue stream after years of Register layoffs, buyouts and hiring freezes left entire sections of the newsroom desolate. "This paper has always written stories about sex clubs in Orange County—so we could get them shut down, of course—so we knew that there was a market for adventurous couples," he said. "While our building isn't as empty as, say, the Orange County bureau of the Los Angeles Times,I figured we had enough space to fit a trapeze or two and create something that might make a profit. Hey, better this than another SqueezeOC."
He refused to disclose whether any Register reporters participate in the sexual shenanigans, but dropped this hint: "Sports stories aren't the only things we're swapping with LA's Daily News."
Rumors about a Register-run sex club have circled around Orange County for the past couple of months, and not just because of star columnist Frank Mickadeit's daily GOP man-crush. "Their coverage of developers always seemed like sloppy love letters, and the constant hiring of college-age reporters innocent in the ways of the world to replace older, more-experienced writers suggests Registereditors watch too much Brazzers," said Santa Ana police officer Xaoh Ami, referring to the infamous porn website. "And that Gordon Dillow—his panting admiration of men in uniform and their .45-caliber pocket pistols sort of speaks for itself."
Dillow, for his part, has denied any homosexual leanings, writing in his March 30 column that he was "a simple country boy, so I'm not sure exactly what [homoeroticism] means, but I think they're saying that I. that I'm a. Well, I think they're suggesting that I'm playing for the other team."
What finally tipped off Santa Ana authorities to the goings-on at the Register was a recent contest in which they asked readers to submit pictures of their kitties. "It was a thinly veiled casting call for every MILF in South County," Ami said.
The revelation of a sex club on Grand Avenue comes on the heels of a recent Register exposé involving Club Amnesty, a swingers' club in Orange that the Weekly profiled last month (see "Swing Shift," March 13). Apparently spurred by inquiries from a very, very naughty threesome of Register reporters, city staff determined owners Gary Nalder and Robin Wood were operating without a proper license and forced them to shut down immediately.
While Orange City Attorney David DeBerry said the city became aware of the club right after the Weekly's story ran, the Reg, in its story, also fingers itself (so to speak), stating: "The city began its inspections after inquiries from The Orange County Register." DeBerry told the Weekly that he can't remember whether the city began formally checking into Club Amnesty before or after the Register came calling.
DeBerry did confirm that a club like Club Amnesty, as long as it had filled out its application properly, didn't serve alcohol and was otherwise in compliance with city codes, would be legal in the city of Orange. (Club Amnesty allowed patrons to bring their own alcohol.) In a follow-up story, Nalder told the Reg that he and Wood plan to reopen the club elsewhere next year.
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The Register's sex club, meanwhile, is in violation of Santa Ana's municipal code, which doesn't allow such establishments within city limits. But it's not the first time Orange County's paper of record has broken Santa Ana ordinances. In September 2003, city officials forced the paper to remove a 250-square-foot banner that hung from its five-story offices just off Interstate 5 after receiving complaints from neighbors. "All the Register wanted to do was encourage readers, and potential readers, driving by its headquarters . to follow the admonition in its new advertising campaign," harrumphed an unsigned Sept. 17, 2003 editorial. "But this simple appeal . was too much for the bureaucrats at City Hall."
Horne vows to continue his own erotic enterprise. "This paper has adhered to the principles of libertarianism for over a century," he said, snapping on some ankle restraints and handcuffs as a clubgoer waited eagerly nearby, wearing a Dean Singleton mask. "We're not going to deviate from them just because of the bureaucrats at City Hall—or some 'alternative' weekly's insinuations of hypocrisy."
—BY OC WEEKLY STAFF (YEAH, WE GANG-BANGED THIS ONE)