Legal Issues and Bankruptcy and Residential Real Estate and Tim Durham and Real Estate & Retail

Durham's Geist mansion listed for $5.5 million

June 19, 2010

Beleaguered local businessman Tim Durham's Geist home is listed for sale with a $5.5 million asking price.

The listing on mibor.com describes the 5-acre property as a “car collectors’ dream home,” featuring a 30-car garage.

Built in 1990, the 10,700-square-foot house has seven bedrooms, eight full bathrooms and five half-baths. Other selling points: “multiple” wet bars, a home theater, and multi-level decks overlooking a “resort-style pool” despite its lakefront location on Geist Reservoir.

Durham’s Ohio-based Fair Finance Co. was placed in involuntary bankruptcy in February, allowing a trustee to control its assets while federal securities fraud investigations continue.

Fair’s offices have been closed since Nov. 24, when FBI agents raided its headquarters in Akron and Durham’s office on the top floor of the Chase Tower in downtown Indianapolis.

The raid came a month after IBJ reported that Durham and fellow Indianapolis businessman Jim Cochran had used Fair almost like a personal bank since buying it in 2002.

The story said the pair, their associates and companies they owned rung up more than $168 million in insider loans—debt that might imperil Fair’s ability to repay the Ohio investors who purchased more than $200 million of the company's investment certificates.

Neither Durham nor Cochran has been charged with a crime, and both men have denied wrongdoing.

Before the bankruptcy action, investors asked the court to appoint a receiver following  media and blog reports indicating Durham and Cochran were unloading cars and other assets acquired with investors’ money.

Investors have been frustrated with Tim Morrison, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, for not pursuing legal action to lock down Fair’s assets and those of Cochran and Durham

Morrison’s office on Nov. 24 filed a civil lawsuit seeking to seize Durham’s Geist mansion and other assets, but dropped it six days later. “Having received appropriate assurance [that assets] are not being dissipated, that litigation stopped,” Morrison said at the time. He has declined to elaborate.

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