LAS VEGAS, Nevada—It wasn't supposed to end like this, as the result of an eviction and a lawsuit for rent that Ted McIlvenna, president of the San Francisco-based Institute for Advanced Study of Sexuality, says wasn't ever supposed to be paid by the Erotic Heritage Museum, which he founded in 2008 at "3275 Industrial Road in 2008 with property donated by Harry Mohney, owner of the Déjà Vu strip club empire."
But, as reported by the Las Vegas Weekly, "The museum, which has been dealing with staffing issues, disputes with the property owner and intermittent closures over the last few months, shut its doors Wednesday after being served with an eviction notice."
It has been a rough ride for a while. As AVN reported in late 2011, an audit by the IRS that rejected a $10 million appraisal of the museum's collection led to a lawsuit between Mohney and "Laura Henkel, the curator of the museum and the person picked by Mohney, reportedly at the suggestion of McIlvenna, to appraise his erotic collection in order to get a charitable deduction for the materials he planned to donate to Exodus for use in the museum." Exodus Trust is a San Francisco-based non-profit educational organization operated by McIlvenna.
The intervening years have not been any smoother, and now the museum, which was supposed to be a fixture in Vegas, is no more. Still, McIlvenna says he is hopeful that some of it will remain.
“What we’re trying to do now is leave the library in Las Vegas,” he says. “We’re hopeful we’ll be able to put something together with UNLV.”
According to the Weekly, the "library is massive, containing 5,000 books and thousands of magazines, technical journals, artifacts, films and pieces of reproduced and original art. (McIlvenna hopes to eventually digitize all the films to ensure they won’t be damaged by the Vegas heat.)"
Not all of the pieces may make it, however. “We’ve had a steady stream of people come by all day, and we’ve given them all an erotic art piece,” says McIlvenna. “We may not have been treated with dignity, but we’re going to leave with dignity.”
It would appear that giving those art pieces away to well-wishers is either a simple act of generosity or McIlvenna's inimitable way of saying to the city, "Sayonara, fuckers!"