Durham family members agree to settle trustee claims

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Tim Durham’s ex-wife and one of her sons together have agreed to pay $110,000 to settle a lawsuit brought against them by the Fair Finance Co. bankruptcy trustee.

Since early 2010, Trustee Brian Bash has been trying to recover funds for investors of Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance, which was led by Durham until his financial empire collapsed in late 2009.

In a Thursday Ohio court filing, attorneys for the trustee said Joan SerVaas has agreed to pay $100,000 and Bernard Durham $10,000 to settle the suit. Bernard Durham is the son of SerVaas and Bernard Marie, her first husband.He changed his surname to Durham after his mother married Tim Durham. (An earlier version of this story included incorrect information on the family connection).

Bash had claimed that SerVaas and Bernard Durham had received nearly $300,000 from Durham and his affiliated companies that Durham ultimately withdrew from Fair Finance. Bash claimed SerVaas received $126,000 from Durham and another $100,000 from DC Investments LLC. The trustee also claimed Bernard Durham received $40,607 from Durham and $15,700 from DC Investments, in addition to another $2,800 from Diamond Investments LLC, according to court documents.

Attorneys for the trustee said in the court filing that the trustee agreed to the settlement due to Bernard Durham’s “limited ability to pay the claims” and SerVaas’ assertions that the money transfers benefited Durham because the funds helped care for his children.

SerVaas and Bernard Durham “established to the trustee’s satisfaction that they received the transfers in good faith and without knowledge of Timothy Durham’s fraud,” the lawyers wrote in the filing.

Durham and many friends and business associates drew millions of dollars from Fair Finance, leaving the company unable to repay more than 5,000 Ohio investors who bought more than $200 million in unsecured notes from the company.

Federal prosecutors charged that Durham ran Fair as a massive Ponzi scheme. A jury in June 2012 found Durham guilty on 12 felony counts—a verdict he’s appealing. A judge sentenced him in August of that year to 50 years in prison.

Business partner Jim Cochran received a 25-year sentence, and former CFO Rick Snow was sentenced to 10 years.


  • stolen presents
    So you think because it sucks to have to give presents back they shouldn't? I don't actually think you are saying that. But, if I lost my retirement, savings and security I would want it yanked back from people enjoying it who didnt earn it! Don't you think it"s so amazing that Durham and all his budies were super republican types who hated Obama and "liberal giveaways"? I guess it makes more sense to steal it off of the top of working people's savings than mooch some foodstamps on the bottom. These people slam the poor. They cheated charities and were still so greedy that they didmt want to pay taxes. I thought gifts over $10K are supposed to be reported as earnings? Where is the IRS?
  • ...That;s all folks?
    So his ex wife and his step son paid back what they were given. What about the 1.2 million his sister and brother in law took and promised to repay? If they don't have the cash anymore, why hasn't Bash and the court seized Geist Sports Academy? What about the nearly 1 million in checks from Fair Durham sent to his mother? What about the 65 thousand to his other sister? What about the money to his ex porn star ex fiance? Maybe it sucks to give back presents. Who explains to the investors that people given their stolen savings really don't want to return it? How much of the money and gifts that these people got is still around? Shouldn't they have to at least account for what they did with it if it's all gone?
  • off the hook
    $110K is chump change to the SerVaas clan. Even a Peon like me could cough up that much by cashing the 401 and taking out a loan. The Ohio investers should be pissed.
  • That would suck
    I agree that the things Tim Durham did we're obviously questionable, however, how many people here would seriously be happy about giving back gifts from your parents???????

    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