The landmark Van Dusen Mansion on LaSalle Avenue South was purchased with some of the profits of a massive Ponzi scheme, and then used by its owner as a place to meet with potential victims, according to court documents on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- James Cochran, a 61-year-old dry wall contractor from California, who invested $200,000 after an initial meeting with Cook at the Van Dusen Mansion, and followed that with an $800,000 deposit.
- Fifty-year-old Thomas Hoel, of Woodbury, Minn., who owns and runs a physical and occupational therapy center for children with special needs. He followed an initial $83,834 investment with another $12,000.
- Lonsdale, Minn., farmer and self-employed grain broker Edward Smisek, 61, put $111,669 into the foreign currency program.
- $18 million to buy ownership interests in two trading firms.
- $12.8 million purportedly used to finance the construction of a Panama casino.
- $2.8 million to acquire the Van Dusen Mansion.
- $4.8 million that Cook lost through gambling.