Durham attorney blasts FBI after vehicle seizures

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

An attorney for embattled financier Tim Durham is ripping the FBI following its seizure of Durham's vehicles Thursday in Indiana and California.

Larry Mackey, a Barnes & Thornburg partner representing Durham in a sweeping Justice Department securities-fraud probe, said the seizures were completely unnecessary because Durham several weeks ago turned over all vehicle titles to the trustee overseeing Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co.’s bankruptcy liquidation.

The Durham-owned firm owes investors—Ohio residents who purchased investment certificates with interest rates as high as 9.5 percent—more than $200 million. Mackey said Durham gave up the titles because he wants the value of the vehicles to go toward mitigating investor losses.

“The FBI apparently chose to grandstand searches of Tim Durham rather than make a phone call to the trustee and discover that these vehicles have long ago been secured by the trustee to benefit the investors,” Mackey said in a written statement.

The “seizures were an unfortunate example of the FBI acting before they get all the facts,” he added.

Drew Northern, a spokesman for the FBI in Indianapolis, could not be reached for comment Friday morning.

Kelly Burgan, a Cleveland attorney representing bankruptcy trustee Brian Bash, said the FBI and Bash have been communicating and that the FBI was aware  Bash had titles before it seized the vehicles.

“I don’t know what motivation they may have had” to move forward with the seizures, Burgan said. She noted the FBI might have information she was not privy to.

Burgan said that prior to the raids, the FBI did not know exactly which titles the trustee had. She was in the process of providing that information Friday morning. Burgan did not know whether the FBI seized any vehicles the trustee was unaware of.

In his statement, Mackey suggested the FBI’s action could take away assets that otherwise would be available for investors. But Burgan said that’s not the case.

“I believe any seizure by the FBI is intended to preserve and protect property for the benefit of investors, and not to ‘compete’ with the trustee,” she said.

Thursday’s raid was the first high-profile move by the FBI since late November, when agents raided Fair offices and seized records. The same day, the Justice Department filed court papers alleging Durham was operating Fair as a Ponzi scheme, selling new investment certificates to pay off prior purchasers.

Fair didn’t reopen after the raids, and the company stopped redeeming certificates or making interest payments.

Records filed with securities regulators show Durham used Fair like a personal bank after buying it in 2002, with money flowing to support an ostentatious lifestyle, friends and business associates, as well as other companies he owned. The records show that he withdrew tens of millions under a line of credit and that he and associates borrowed even larger sums through businesses they controlled.

As IBJ first reported in October, related-party loans now top $168 million and represent the primary asset available to repay investors.

Durham recently put his Geist Resevoir mansion up for sale with an asking price of $5.5 million. Some of the proceeds of the sale are expected to go to investors. Durham also has turned over artwork the trustee will see at auction.

Durham’s attorneys have been cooperative in the bankruptcy case, IBJ is reporting in this weekend’s edition. (Click here to read).

However, in court papers, his attorneys deny he defrauded investors. They contend the offering circulars provided to prospective purchasers of investment certificates outlined the risks, including that they carried no government guarantee.


  • Ironic Outrage
    Yeah, those paper titles are just as valuable as the cars themselves. Seriously? He handed over the titles, but the cars are still in his possession? WTF?

    Perhaps the FBI didn't trust Timmy enough with those million-dollar toys. I don't know why not... he's such an upstanding citizen.
  • Proceeds
    The FBI sure is having fun with the "leftover" vehicles!
  • Proceeds
    The FBI sure is having fun with the "leftover" vehicles!
  • Will trustee go after Larry Mackey's fes?
    I hope the trustee slaps Larry Mackey big time and goes after every cent of stolen money that Timmy gave him.

    Larry, Bad! Bad!

    Hey, Larry--that means ALL the fee money you have been given from or via funds from Timmy. BAD! BAD!

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Great article and post scripts by Mike L (Great addition to IBJ BTW). Bobby's stubborn as a mule, and doubt if he ever comes back to IU. But the love he would receive would be enormous. Hope he shows some time, but not counting on it.

  2. When the Indiana GOP was going around the State selling the Voucher bill they were promising people that the vouchers would only be for public charter schools. They lied. As usual.

  3. I am Mr. Morris Ray, a Legitimate And a Reputable money Lender. We lend funds out to individuals in need of financial assistance, we give loan to people that have a bad credit or in need of money to pay bills, to invest on business. Have you been looking for loan? you have not to worry, because you are in the right place i offer loan at low interest rate of 2% so if you are in need of a loan i want you to just contact me via this email Address: morris_ray123@outlook.com

  4. Jim, your "misleading" numbers comment is spot on. This is the spin these posers are putting on it. News flash, fans: these guys lie. They are not publicly traded so no one holds them accountable for anything they say. The TV numbers are so miniscule to begin with any "increase" produces double digit "growth" numbers. It's ridiculous to think that anything these guys have done has awakened the marketplace. What have they done? Consolidate the season so they run more races on consecutive weekends? And this creates "momentum." Is that the same momentum you enjoy when you don't race between August and March? Keep in mind that you are running teams who barely make ends meet ragged over the summer to accomplish this brilliant strategy of avoiding the NFL while you run your season finale at midnight on the East Coast. But I should not obfuscate my own point: any "ratings increase" is exactly what Jim points to - the increased availability of NBC Sports in households. Look fans, I love the sport to but these posers are running it off a cliff. Miles wants to declare victory and then run for Mayor. I could go on and on but bottom line for God's sake don't believe a word they say. Note to Anthony - try doing just a little research instead of reporting what these pretenders say and then offering an "opinion" no more informed than the average fan.

  5. If he's finally planning to do the right thing and resign, why not do it before the election? Waiting until after means what - s special election at tax payer expense? Appointment (by whom?) thus robbing the voters of their chance to choose? Does he accrue some additional financial advantage to waiting, like extra pension payments? What's in it for him? That's the question that needs to be asked.