A Nevada businessman who once cleared out his company’s warehouse to host a Trump rally in defiance of state lockdown laws has been named the new host of the country’s largest QAnon conference.
The “For God & Country Patriot Double Down” was left without a home at the end of August when Caesars in Las Vegas pulled the plug. Only a few days later, the organizers posted a video of themselves celebrating the acquisition of a new venue, but they chose not to reveal the name in order to prevent the public and media from pressuring the hotel to cancel the event.
According to VICE News, the new venue is the Ahern Hotel and Convention Center, a property near the Las Vegas Strip owned by Don Ahern, a multimillionaire businessman who is the finance chairman of the Nevada Republican Party and one of former President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters.
The gathering is a follow-up to the “For God & Country Patriot Roundup” conference, which took place in Dallas at the end of May and drew hundreds of attendees as well as some of the most prominent QAnon figures.
Next month’s event will be even bigger, with the father-and-son duo of Jim and Ron Watkins, who claim to have promoted the rise of QAnon on their website 8kun (formerly known as 8chan). Several elected Republicans will also be in attendance, including Arizona state legislators Rep. Mark Finchem and Sen. Sonny Borrelli.
The fact that a prominent Republican financier and Trump supporter is now hosting the country’s largest QAnon event is just the latest example of how QAnon conspiracies have infiltrated mainstream Republican politics.
The event’s official website states that the location will be “announced prior to [the] event,” but the organizers have revealed the venue’s name to those who have purchased tickets.
In an email about the venue the organizers state that they have reserved all 203 rooms at the Ahern Hotel at a special rate of $149 for ticket holders.
The email also warns ticket holders that the hotel is only “semi-open” and that getting through to reception may take some time.
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The organizers, John Sabal (a.k.a. “QAnon John”) and his partner Amy, also provide a brief biography of Ahern, describing him as a “absolute patriot.” The email also refers to Ahern as a “billionaire,” which does not appear to be correct.
Ahern gained national attention last year when he cleared out one of his construction machinery rental company’s huge warehouses 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.
QAnon John has had a difficult week. https://t.co/cFP6O3vyYH
— VICE (@VICE) September 6, 2021
Over 5,500 people attended Ahern’s almost entirely unmasked event, which he held in open defiance of state regulations, earning him a $3,000 fine.
Ahern, on the other hand, had previously hosted a Trump re-election campaign event at his hotel, which featured Trump’s personal pastor Paula White. This event also violated COVID-19 lockdown regulations, resulting in a $10,000 fine for the businessman.
The Ahern Hotel was previously known as the Lucky Dragon, but it closed in 2018 due to a lack of customers just two years after it opened. Ahern purchased the hotel for $36 million in 2019 and spent around $10 million on renovations.
The gaming floor was removed and replaced with more convention space as part of the renovations.
The City of Henderson took action against Xtreme Manufacturing, owned by Ahern, in September 2020 for violating COVID-19 directives during a Trump rally. The city fined them $3,000 and informed the company that they had violated their business license.
Ahern spoke briefly to the media about his decision to hold the rally despite the City of Henderson issuing a warning about potential penalties ahead of time.
“My goal was to continue the great American traditions of the right to assemble and to free speech,” said Ahern.
A brief prepared statement was read by Ahern. He likened Trump’s rally to people congregating at gaming tables, pool parties, and recent protests. However, according to the City of Henderson, an inspector discovered that the event violated six COVID-19 emergency directives.
This includes a crowd of more than 50 people.
According to the Nevada Republican Party’s chair, approximately 5,500 people attended.
Ahern only responded to one question, when 8 News Now asked him about the fine.
“We’re in some legal litigation, and we understand that certain agencies, cities, they’ve got a job to do,” said Ahern.
Ahern says he is “proud to be an American” and felt it was his patriotic duty to “do what is right for our country” by hosting the event in support of the former President.
He is no stranger to breaking state gathering rules on his properties. In August 2020, his hotel was fined for failing to follow COVID guidelines while hosting a “Evangelicals for Trump” event.
The City of Las Vegas also halted a pageant for violating the Governor’s COVID-19 directives.
The Henderson Xtreme Manufacturing location had 30 days to respond to the notice. Mr. Ahern stated that he “respects everyone’s position” on the warning prior to the event and the fine imposed.