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Hudson man accused of outing witness

A complaint against a 39-year-old Hudson man who once owned Club Kaos (now The Library Bar), 106 N. Main St. in River Falls, says he tried to disclose the real name of a rural River Falls man enrolled in the federal witness protection program.

James M. Dixon was charged by the Pierce County district attorney with trying to intimidate the River Falls man primarily through a series of threatening, anonymous e-mails.

Dixon was also charged with harassment. Both are punishable by $1,000 fines. The e-mail intimidation charge carries a 90-day jail sentence.

The victim, who goes by an assumed name, is described as a union painter and former part-time manager of the Hammer Bar, the name that followed Club Kaos before it became The Library Bar in River Falls.

Dixon is also a private investigator who claims to have worked for Ground Zero and other downtown bars in River Falls. He was also fired from recent part-time police jobs in New Richmond and Somerset.

The River Falls man spoke last year at a council meeting against efforts to reopen the Ground Zero bar, 123 S. Main St., under new ownership. The new owner, Brian Roquette, was also a manager at Boomer's Bar, 107 E. Elm St.

At the time, Ground Zero was the target of complaints about litter, vandalism and assaults. It closed in February. Steve Flasch was the owner.

Efforts to reopen it by Jeff Schellpfeffer (a former Ground Zero owner) and Pat Smith failed. Pat Smith later opened what is now the Lazy River bar, 115 W. Walnut Street.

The application to reopen Ground Zero was voted down by the City Council in June 2005. Two months later Roquette was able to gain council approval for reopening the bar.

According to the district attorney's complaint, last July River Falls Police Sgt. Jeff Linehan received a complaint that Dixon was telling people that the River Falls man was in the witness protection program. Linehan warned Dixon that such a disclosure might violate federal law.

The complaint also includes memos from two special agents of the United States Marshals Service Witness Security Program. The River Falls man called the USMS office in Washington, D.C., last year to report his identity problems.

One of the memos describes how the River Falls man said that Dixon greeted him by his presumed real name as he entered the City Council chambers during the June hearing on whether to reopen Ground Zero under new ownership.

At that hearing, the River Falls man claimed Ground Zero had issues of not paying liquor taxes or FICA taxes, and had liquor license violations.

Dixon also allegedly hired his own private investigator to visit the state where the River Falls man attended high school. That investigator brought back high school yearbooks showing the man's true name and his picture.

Last October the two federal agents visited Dixon at his Hudson home. Dixon told the agents that the River Falls man had, in fact, threatened Dixon, his family and other local acquaintances and business associates.

Dixon added that the River Falls man dealt drugs, had stolen money and openly admitted that he's part of the witness protection program.

In the agents' report, Dixon said he didn't believe he was harassing the River Falls man, but only prodding him "to come clean on who he was." Dixon said the man was "hiding behind a Social Security number and a name that were not his."

Dixon will make a first appearance in Pierce County Circuit Court at 10 a.m. Monday.