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Bar owner alleges state inspection retaliation for federal lawsuit

Danielle Kaeding Wisconsin Public Radio The state planned to inspect an iconic tourist draw in a Lake Superior island town this week, but that's been postponed. The inspection comes after the establishment's owner filed a federal lawsuit against ...

Danielle Kaeding

Wisconsin Public Radio

The state planned to inspect an iconic tourist draw in a Lake Superior island town this week, but that's been postponed. The inspection comes after the establishment’s owner filed a federal lawsuit against the town earlier this spring.

The inspection of Madeline Island’s popular bar, Tom’s Burned Down Café, is to check whether it's up to code after the Town of La Pointe passed on a complaint. The owner's attorney Glenn Stoddard said the inspection is retaliation for a lawsuit Tom Nelson and his wife filed against the town and its police chief. The lawsuit alleges the police chief used excessive force during an arrest of the bar owner last year. Stoddard said  the chief entered Nelson’s home without a warrant and tased him three times.

"We’re going to be amending the lawsuit and pleading First Amendment retaliation against the town board, the police chief and the town chairman," said Stoddard.

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The town chairman and police chief declined to comment with the pending lawsuit. A state spokeswoman said they're not releasing information about the complaint until their inspection has been completed.

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