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Exec caught up in Minnesota Ponzi scheme fallout is man of ‘highest integrity’

On Wednesday, I posted a couple of related stories about a troubled health IT startup, an incubator that had foundered and a Minnesota executive who is caught up in the aftermath of a Ponzi scheme.

On Thursday, Minneapolis-based executive recruiter Isaac Cheifetz, who had enjoyed reading the stories, contacted me to vouch for that executive — George Danko.

Danko is the target of the trustee in the infamous Tom Petters Ponzi scheme and is charged with recovering millions of dollars that Petters bilked. Danko used to run SpringWorks LLC, a venture capital company that was part of the Petters group of companies. Now he is facing a lawsuit in bankruptcy court.

Cheifetz, who has run Open Technologies Consulting since he founded it in 1992, and is an outside columnist for the Star Tribune, helped Danko land a job at Kardia Health Systems, the troubled health IT startup I wrote about.

“George Danko is one of the most qualified senior executives with the highest integrity I have known in my over 20 years as an executive recruiter,” Cheifetz said. “While at Petters, he was managing a portfolio of high-tech companies to support the Polaroid acquisition. The only contact with Petters was that they funded that portfolio, but he had nothing to do with the core Petters business that turned out to be corrupt.”

Cheifetz also provided Danko’s resume to me that showed some of his past positions — Danko was a senior vice president at Best Buy between 2002 and 2004, group president and chief operating officer at Pentair between 2000 and 2001, and a general manager at GE between 1994 and 1997.

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