The king of spin Featured

9:48am EDT July 22, 2002

If you thought President Bill Clinton cornered the market on top notch spin doctors, meet Stephen W. FitzGerald, president of Cleveland-based The FitzGerald Group Inc.

FitzGerald was invited by PRWeek to provide a PR-based solution to the following: Changing the image of Nevada’s famous brothel, the Mustang Ranch, which was forfeited to the federal government after the ranch’s corporate owner was convicted of fraud and racketeering. The Bureau of Land Management wants control of the ranch and its surrounding land to turn it into the National Horse & Burro Center, using its many rooms as a visitors’ center.

The question: How would you use PR to change the ranch’s image? FitzGerald’s response, which was published in October, included the following quip: “Converting a brothel to a horse-burro center certainly gives new meaning to ‘Ride ’em Cowboy.’”

He suggests inviting national, state and local organizations to tour the Mustang Ranch and submit proposals for its best uses.

“Grassroots mobilizations will naturally spring up to support the various proposals, resulting in higher media and public recognition for the ranch’s eventual occupants and their missions,” he says. “With all its facilities, there would be many health and human-service agencies and nonprofits that could benefit from using the ranch.

“As memories fade, the brothel becomes an interesting, but only historical, footnote.”