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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Millionaire David Cone Was Living Two Lives

Aired August 22, 2003 - 19:34   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: It has been a shocking summer for society leaders in Tampa, Florida. Turns out that a prominent businessman was not exactly who he seemed to be at first. Susan Candiotti has the story. She reports that his secret began unraveling with the death of his wife.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jean Ann Cone, her friends call her a socialite with a conscience. Always raising money for causes, active in the art museum. On the board of the exclusive prep school her three children attended.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From all accounts, she was a wonderful lady.

CANDIOTTI: Married for more than 50 years to the wealthy Douglas Cone, 75. Friends say he spent weekends at their upscale Tampa home and traveled during the week.

He was away on business last march when, after a wine and cheese fundraiser meeting, Jean Ann pulled her Rolls into their garage, closed the door, and, police say, she passed out. The keys still in the ignition, the car in drive, when she was found the next day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was death by carbon monoxide intoxication.

CANDIOTTI: An autopsy put her blood alcohol level at twice the legal limit.

Is there any indication that this was anything other than an accidental death?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not.

CANDIOTTI: About two months later, a shocking discovery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mrs. Cone's husband was actually leading a double life.

CANDIOTTI: Mr. Cone, can I...

For more than half his married life, police say Cone, using the alias Donald Carlson, was also involved with Hillary Carlson about 20 years his junior. Police say they had two children of their own, the eldest is pictured here.

They attended the same school, where Cone's three here children had gone. The women set on the school board together. When he wasn't with his wife at their Tampa home, the Carlsons lived at this secluded, sprawling, 60-plus acre lakeside estate 20 miles up the road.

Jean Ann's grieving friends didn't have a clue until...

(on camera) Eight days after his wife, Jean, died, Cone came here to the Sumter County courthouse about 50 miles north of Tampa, and applied for a marriage license. It's not clear why he chose to come here. A few days later, he and Hillary were married here at the courthouse.

That's when the news started to unravel. The wedding notice was published, people started reading it and tongues started wagging.

Court clerk Gloria Heyward performed the ceremony.

GLORIA HAYWARD, SUMPTER COURT CLERK: As an observer, I'm just amazed that he could pull that off for that length of time. Especially living in the same area.

CANDIOTTI: According to a source close to the Cone's, his eldest son knew of the double life. As for Jean Ann, most friends doubt she knew anything. Though as one admits, it's a secret she may have taken to the grave. Susan Candiotti, CNN, Tampa.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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