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Nude photos add bizarre twist to Dixon trial

By WILLIAM H. INMAN UPI National Reporter

DALLAS -- The trial of busted thrift owner Don Dixon took a bizarre twist Friday when a California newspaper reported that nude photographs have surfaced of a call girl killed after attending one of Dixon's beachhouse parties.

Dixon is not a suspect in the case, though investigators say he purchased the services of 20 call girls, including victim Donna Gentile, for a party at his Solana Beach, Calif., home, the San Diego Union reported. The nude body of Gentile -- her mouth stuffed with rocks -- was found the day after the two-day party concluded, sources told the newspaper.

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According to the newspaper, the women were ordered to attend by Karen Wilkening, the convicted 'Rolodex madam' now serving 44 months in prison on prostitution-related charges. Wilkening was released to the custody of the FBI to testify for the prosecution in the Dixon case.

'I don't think what I would have to say would make a difference one way or another,' Wilkening told the Tribune.

The photographs, in the possession of police, were 35mm snapshots, and investigators are trying to determine who took them and when, the newspaper reported.

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It is unclear the significance investigators are placing on the pictures. Investigators have hinted a police officer may have been involved in the photo taking.

Investigators are concentrating on allegations against unnamed police officers, Assistant San Diego Police Chief Norm Stamper told the newspaper.

Dixon, a Texas builder who bought a small hometown thrift and expanded it into a $1.7 billion enterprise, is accused of falsifying records to conceal the source of money for political contributions, to pay prostitutes and to support his lavish lifestyle. The money, according to a 38-count indictment, came from Dixon's thrift, Vernon Savings & Loan, which collapsed in 1987, requiring a taxpayer bailout of $1.3 billion.

The newspaper said the California party was held for 20 financiers and included cocktails and an evening cruise. It began on June 21, 1985, and ended the following day.

Jury selection was expected to last through Friday with opening arguments late Monday. The trial is expected to last at least a month.

Dixon, who describes himself as an unemployed financial consultant, was able to expand his thrift assets quickly by urging his top executives to make high-dollar commercial loans, all backed by government guarantees. Business deals included a horse farm and gambling casinos.

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