Aging porn publisher Al Goldstein ponders a run for sheriff, bordellos, and his dwindling obscenity empire

At 7 p.m., three hours and several diet root beers after the conversation began, Goldstein announces he's tired. The night before we met, he had flown in from New York, where he'd spent the day taping 14 "Fuck You" segments for Midnight Blue. "So get the fuck out of here," he says.

Two days later I'm back on Goldstein's front doorstep, above which in hand-lettered script are the words "El amor abre todas las puertas" ("Love opens all doors," in Spanish.) As I ring the bell, a man in an old Chevrolet Monte Carlo pulls into Goldstein's driveway and joins me on the stoop. Al answers the door shirtless, in striped boxer shorts, and sporting a pendant of a nude woman on thick gold chain around his neck. He ushers both of us to the back porch, then disappears with the Monte Carlo driver inside the house. It only looked like a drug deal, Goldstein explains to me later. The man is a cigar maker who went out of business, and he's delivering 100 boxes of Orient Express Cigars, which retailed for $250 a box. Goldstein bought them in bulk for the fire-sale price of $30 per box. He paid cash.

A pornographer's home is his spacious, cluttered castle
A pornographer's home is his spacious, cluttered castle

And that gets us talking money.

What are you worth these days?

I used to be worth about $15 million. I may have a negative worth now. I have things to sell. I am selling my land in Bimini. I'm selling my wine collection; it's worth $200,000. I'm doing that to meet bills until the prostitution kicks off. I live much flashier than I am. As a writer I'm getting paid from Penthouse. I have a monthly column. I'm not rolling in dough. My value is my name and my company.

You're counting on the Rabbit Ranch for financial salvation. How does it work? How do you get into a business like this?

The opportunity just presented itself with people I met in Saint Martin. They showed me their offices in a hotel in Saint Martin, which has prostitution. It turns out they're bookies, and they have a big operation there because it's legal. They said, "Why don't we use your name or Screw's name for the prostitution?" I said sure. I get 15 percent for licensing my name. I'm not really a pimp; I'm not booking the girls. I know a little bit about prostitution only because I have been a john all my life. I have always paid for girls, either in marriage, for working girls, or for girlfriends. That's the way things are. Men pay.... The partners who are financing the thing, there's a guy named Jimmie, Italian guy, I don't know his last name. [It's Fusco, I learn in a later conversation with Jimmie.] There's his wife, his daughter, who is 22, and her boyfriend. We will have people greeting all the cruise ships giving out cards.... And the idea of being involved with prostitution, I would rather do that than be selling cigarettes. It's a legal business, and I'm excited about it.

If it doesn't work, there's always social security to fall back on.

I think my first check comes any day now. But you know, I love my life. And I love the fact that people think it is far more exciting than it is. I haven't gotten laid in two weeks. Why would I put an ad in New York magazine looking for a girlfriend? Because it's lonely here. I was going nuts last night. I'm here in this big house. So I went out to eat in a bar. If you don't meet a girl at work, it's very hard, I think, because women have a different agenda. And I have strikes against me. I'm 65; I'm fat. I'm a pornographer/ pimp, so I will scare off any "nice girls." And I used to date the porno girls and the dancers. They are so narcissistic. They make me look modest. I mean they are beautiful, great bodies, but they are stupid. So in my senior years, I am looking around.

Are you content with your life?

I would like more money so I get the nervousness off me. I would like to own the house. I owe a million dollars. [According to Broward County tax rolls, Goldstein's house is assessed at $752,000.] I would like to not have a mortgage on my head. I love being Al Goldstein, because I feel I never sold out. I get the new issue of Screw, and I'm proud as shit about it.

And you're still offensive. I liked the story in the February 12, 2001, issue about your resurrection as a pimp and ascension into Heaven as the second son of God.

Yeah. I'm a good writer. I'm not appreciated. I think Vanity Fair should profile me. My shrink said, "You can't piss on the shoes of society and expect them to welcome you into their living rooms." That is my dilemma. I want to be beloved, I want to be invited to all the nice parties, and I keep giving everyone the finger.

Are you going to die a bitter, lonely old man?

Probably. I hope in my whorehouse, with 50 women thinking about taking the jewelry off my arm.

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