A Nevada businessman who once cleared out his company’s warehouse to host a Trump rally in violation of state lockdown laws, has become the new host for the country’s biggest QAnon conference.
At the end of August, the “For God & Country Patriot Double Down” was left without a home, when Caesars in Las Vegas pulled the plug. Just days later, the organizers posted a video of themselves celebrating securing a new venue, but decided not to reveal the name in a bid to stop the public and the media pressuring the hotel to cancel the event.
But now VICE News can reveal that the new venue is the Ahern Hotel and Convention Center, a premises close to the Las Vegas Strip owned by Don Ahern, a multi-millionaire businessman who is the finance chairman of the Nevada Republican Party and one of the biggest supporters of former President Donald Trump.
The event is a follow-up to the “For God & County Patriot Roundup” conference that took place in Dallas at the end of May, attracting hundreds of attendees and some of the biggest stars in the QAnon firmament.
Next month’s event is set to be even larger and is set to feature the father-and-son duo of Jim and Ron Watkins, who facilitated the rise of QAnon on their website 8kun (formerly known as 8chan). The event will also feature several elected GOP figures, including sitting Arizona state lawmakers Rep. Mark Finchem and Sen. Sonny Borrelli.
That a prominent Republican financier and supporter of Trump is now hosting the country’s largest QAnon event is just the latest example of how QAnon conspiracies have taken hold in mainstream GOP politics.
The official website for the event says the location will be “announced prior to [the] event,” but the organizers have revealed the name of the venue to those who purchased tickets.
In the email about the venue, reviewed by VICE News, the organisers say they’ve booked all 203 rooms at the Ahern Hotel and secured a special rate of $149 for ticket holders.
The email also warns ticket holders that the hotel is only “semi-open” and that it might take some time for them to get through to reception.
The organizers, John Sabal (known online as “QAnon John”) and his partner Amy, also provide a brief biography of Ahern, calling him “an absolute patriot.” The email also describes Ahern as a “billionaire,” but that does not appear to be accurate.
Ahern came to national attention last year when he cleared out one of the huge warehouses used by his construction machinery rental company in Henderson, Nevada, to host an indoor Trump rally after the original venue canceled days before the rally, citing Nevada’s 50-person limit on indoor events.
Ahern’s almost entirely maskless event, held in open defiance of state regulations, attracted over 5,500 people and earned him a $3,000 fine.
But this was nothing new to Ahern, who had previously hosted a Trump re-election campaign event at his hotel, featuring Trump’s personal pastor Paula White. That event also breached COVID-19 lockdown regulations and earned the businessman a $10,000 fine.
The Ahern Hotel was previously called the Lucky Dragon, but that closed in 2018 just two years after it opened due to a lack of customers. Ahern purchased the hotel in 2019 at the knock-down price of $36 million and spent around $10 million on renovations.
The renovations included removing the gaming floor and replacing it with more convention space.
The Ahern Hotel did not immediately respond to VICE News’ questions about hosting the event.
Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.