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Iowa workers stunned by CEO's sudden downfall

Associated Press

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Workers at a bankrupt Iowa brokerage and other firms owned by a businessman implicated in a $200 million fraud scandal say they are stunned by their sudden collapse and are trying to rebuild their lives.

About 75 workers of Peregrine Financial Group Inc. and other companies controlled by Russ Wasendorf Sr. attended a meeting Wednesday at a community college in Waterloo. They were given information about unemployment, job training and other benefits.

Workers from the brokerage, an upscale Italian restaurant that Wasendorf opened, his charitable foundation, and his publishing company were in attendance.

Nick Kollasch recently moved to Cedar Falls from Des Moines to work as a cook at MyVerona, Wasendorf's restaurant. He says its closure was shocking, but he's proud the restaurant's quality "raised the bar" for the region.

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