An underwater hotel at Lake Superior? The mayor peddles a dubious project

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TWO HARBORS, MN – The mayor of a Minnesota town and an unnamed self-proclaimed “billionaire” want to build an underwater hotel in Lake Superior, according to the Duluth News-Tribune, which reported that ethical concerns were being raised about the promoting the improbable development.

Chris Swanson, mayor of Two Harbors, a town of about 3,800 on Lake Superior, raised eyebrows as he promoted a $400 million development with backing from an anonymous financier who goes by the pseudonym “MO”

The far-fetched plan was the subject of a Two Harbors City Council meeting last week in which members, including Swanson himself, asked the state attorney general to review whether Swanson had crossed ethical boundaries by soliciting investments while being elected.

Swanson was re-elected in 2020 for his second term as mayor of Two Harbors. He is also the CEO of a digital marketing agency and posts frequently on Twitter, where he has spent the past few days sub-tweeting reviews and promoting cryptocurrencies.

In August, Swanson appeared with “Mr. O” on a podcast called “Ask a Billionaire” to promote the hotel concept, which also involves a potential commercial sub.

Swanson and “Mr. O” are listed together as contacts for “Vibrant Two Harbors,” an unfinished website soliciting investors with promises of a plan to revitalize the area.

“Vibrant Two Harbors is currently seeking investors to join in its vision of making Two Harbors THE resort town of Minnesota,” the website states. “Our 10-year plan is (insert word as determined) to deliver high returns to early investors. Help make a real impact on improving a historic city. Host a free 15-minute investment meeting with Mayor Swanson of Two Harbors to learn more: Click the button below to host your meeting today: “

Duluth News-Tribune reporters have someone claiming to be “Mr. O” on a call last week, in which the person said he was coaching Swanson, but wouldn’t divulge details or whether he had successfully funded other projects.

“Mr. O” once popped up in a conversation about community investing in Michigan. In 2017, Flint’s attorney, Art Wenzlaff, claimed to be in contact with a “Mr. O,” who was later interviewed about his interest in civic investment during a local 1470 WFTN radio segment.

Flint’s investment did not materialize.

Robin Glaser, vice president of the Two Harbors City Council, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune last week that the city “has not been involved with Mr. O or any other unnamed person on any ongoing or proposed project.” . In a statement, Glaser added, “Rest assured that the City of Two Harbors will not engage in any project with an anonymous individual.”

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