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Mayoral candidate: 'I was a working girl in a legal brothel'

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In an exclusive interview Friday with WLBT and Fox40, Vicksburg Mayoral Candidate Linda Fondren revealed more about her past than ever before. In an exclusive interview Friday with WLBT and Fox40, Vicksburg Mayoral Candidate Linda Fondren revealed more about her past than ever before.
"I was a working girl in a legal brothel over 30 years ago. It's true, my husband was my client. My husband and I have been married for 28 years," Fondren said. "I was a working girl in a legal brothel over 30 years ago. It's true, my husband was my client. My husband and I have been married for 28 years," Fondren said.
VICKSBURG, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

In an exclusive interview Friday with WLBT and Fox40, Vicksburg Mayoral Candidate Linda Fondren revealed more about her past than ever before.

"I was a working girl in a legal brothel over 30 years ago. It's true, my husband was my client. My husband and I have been married for 28 years," Fondren said.

Previous reports linked Fondren and her husband Jim Fondren to the Nevada brothel Sagebrush Ranch. Fondren confirms they did own the ranch until it sold in 1992. She admits she never expected her past as a prostitute to stay a secret forever, but she left it out of previous discussions to keep from embarrassing her family.

"I knew it would surface because it was around. I just didn't think it would surface and I would be sitting here doing an interview with you today," Fondren said.

She said she isn't proud of what she did, but she doesn't have regrets.

"My story is exactly why I'm running for mayor because I want to give other people better choices than what I had," Fondren said. "I want people to understand you can turn your life around. I turned my life around and so it definitely can happen for others as well."

Fondren's admission came the same day the famous owner of a Nevada brothel came forward to say he knew the Fondrens from the brothel business. Dennis Hof, the owner of the Bunny Ranch, which is located next to Sagebrush Ranch, said he's endorsing Fondren for mayor and he's proud of her accomplishments.

Fondren says she doesn't know Hof well but has heard of him. She said his endorsement has prompted her to come clean.

Hof said that while some might think that Fondren's history would disqualify her from candidacy, he sees it as the opposite.

"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 said in an email to WLBT and Fox40. "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."

Hof said he hopes that Fondren could eventually take a statewide political office and advocate for Mississippi becoming the second state in the nation to legalize the brothel industry.

"What she did here was legal, safe, and well regulated. Nevada sets a progressive social example for the rest of the country by legalizing prostitution, and as the poorest state in the nation, Mississippi would be well advised to follow Nevada's lead and stimulate their economy in the process," Hof said.

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