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Newspapers seek to unseal Durham search warrants

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Daily newspapers on Thursday filed a motion seeking to unseal search warrant documents related to the federal investigation of Indianapolis businessman Tim Durham and Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co.

An attorney for the Akron Beacon Journal and The Indianapolis Star filed the motion, citing “significant overriding public interest in the disclosure of the search warrant documents.”

“Transparency in the investigation into Mr. Durham’s financial affairs can only serve to enhance the public’s faith in its government,” according to a memorandum filed by the newspapers Thursday afternoon. “The sealing of such documents only serves to undermine the integrity of the judicial process and enhance the perception that Mr. Durham’s political connections will save him.”

FBI agents on Nov. 24 executed search warrants at Durham’s Indianapolis office and at Fair’s Akron headquarters. Agents hauled away computer equipment and bankers boxes full of documents. Investigators have refused to provide information on the warrants, saying they are sealed.

The raids occurred one month after IBJ published an investigative story that raised questions about whether Fair Finance had the financial wherewithal to repay Ohio investors who had purchased nearly $200 million in investment certificates.

The story reported that, since Durham bought the consumer-loan business in 2002, he had used it almost like a personal bank to fund a range of business interests, some of them unsuccessful. The story noted that he and related parties owe Fair more than $168 million.

Court papers filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis on Nov. 24 allege Fair operated as a Ponzi scheme, using money from new investors to pay what it owed prior investors, thereby “lulling the earlier victims into believing that their money was being [handled] responsibly.”

Durham, a major contributor to many Republican political candidates, has denied doing anything improper.

 

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  • http://www.safemeds.com/
    I like this comment: "My wife heard he (Durham) hired some hot shot law firm Barnes Thornberg something and gave them a bunch more of investor money to defend him from stealing the investor money in the first place..." is very interesting!!!
  • IndyMedia

    That doesn't provide many details about the IndyMedia situation. IndyMedia was served by the DOJ (regardless of what party is in charge, you don't need a designation of R, D, I, to push people around), demanding a list of IP Addresses to see where they were connecting from: Were they connecting from within Indiana and could someone do some homework to track them down?) in addition to user information and the gag order.

    IP Addresses aren't always a good way to track people down.

    The first thing IndyMedia did - and it's what everyone facing this should do - is contact the EFF. They (EFF) looked everything over, indicated it was incomplete/inappropriate; i.e., "tell them to pound sand." There was a feeble attempt or two to improve upon their bluff, then the DOJ suddenly disappeared like a fart in the wind.

    My guess has been that they didn't want to go by the book because they didn't have enough information to show cause. Fake it, bully people around a bit, see if you can get away with it. After all, how many people are going to resist these guys without explicit understanding re: what they were trying to do?

  • IndyMedia

    That doesn't provide many details about the IndyMedia situation. IndyMedia was served by the DOJ (regardless of what party is in charge, you don't need a designation of R, D, I, to push people around), demanding a list of IP Addresses to see where they were connecting from: Were they connecting from within Indiana and could someone do some homework to track them down?) in addition to user information and the gag order.

    IP Addresses aren't always a good way to track people down.

    The first thing IndyMedia did - and it's what everyone facing this should do - is contact the EFF. They (EFF) looked everything over, indicated it was incomplete/inappropriate; i.e., "tell them to pound sand." There was a feeble attempt or two to improve upon their bluff, then the DOJ suddenly disappeared like a fart in the wind.

    My guess has been that they didn't want to go by the book because they didn't have enough information to show cause. Fake it, bully people around a bit, see if you can get away with it. After all, how many people are going to resist these guys without explicit understanding re: what they were trying to do?

  • Letter to Editor of Akron Beacon Journal posted today
    Shocking debacle at Fair Finance

    Being a 77-year-old retiree (my last 13 years were spent at Fair Finance in the sales finance collection department) and an investor at Fair Finance, I am surely surprised and shocked by the debacle (''Fair leaves investment customers out in cold,'' Dec. 8).

    Working during the Don Fair era and retiring with a fully paid, lump-sum company pension was a delight. Fair is the finest businessman I have ever met, a man of Christian character and integrity.

    Apparently the new owners lack the attributes always exhibited by Don Fair and his staff. Tim Durham should apologize and amend his policies, if indeed his actions and motives are proved in court.

    He has already caused much criticism to be brought against the trusted name of Fair Financial Services.

    Isn't it ironic that the government would investigate a company that survived the Great Depression and many recessions and hard times, while the banks and savings and loans are failing despite ''government insurance''?

    My faith tells me that ''God works all things together for good to those that love him and are called according to his purpose.''

    My sympathy and prayers go out to all investors, Fair Finance employees, and the Fair family that justice will be done for all, and that God's will is done in all.
    Robert L. Rosnack
    Akron
  • DOJ request
    I also received a large document request from the DOJ but there weren't any questions that really delve into what looks like what happened. My wife and I didn't even know that Fair Financial wasn't owned by Don Fair. We sure didn't know that this character named Tim Durham was out spending our money trying to be the worlds richest man. My wife heard he (Durham) hired some hot shot law firm Barnes Thornberg something and gave them a bunch more of investor money to defend him from stealing the investor money in the first place. That's a crock. Attorneys defending attorneys from legally constructed crimes and making sure all the important people like the Gov and County Prosecutor are paid with the money too so everyone is contaminated. Durham may or may not be convicted and he may or may not be charged but there are a lot of angry people who will come and get their money so he might as well fess up now and save everyone a lot of time and trouble.
  • ...
    http://biz.yahoo.com/e/091218/clhi.pk8-k.html
  • Morrison's Friends
    U.S. Attorney Timothy M. Morrison likes to help his GOP friends. Check this out. http://rrracket.blogspot.com/2009/11/what-was-indianas-us-attorney-morrison.html
  • FBI info request
    I received a 5 page document from Dept of Justice Indiana district asking questions about Fair Finance. Tim Durham, and James Cochran. Due by Jan 15th
  • Get Real
    Ryan Seacrest will come out of the closet before those documents are made public.

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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