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Fair bankruptcy trustee hears from prospective Lampoon suitors

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Fair Finance Co.’s bankruptcy trustee is getting inquiries from parties interested in buying National Lampoon Inc., the Los Angeles-based comedy business led by embattled Indianapolis businessman Tim Durham.

Trustee Brian Bash doesn’t control Lampoon, but he is pursuing tens of millions of dollars in claims against two of its largest shareholders—Durham and fellow Indianapolis businessman Dan Laikin.

Durham stepped in as CEO after prosecutors in December 2008 charged Laikin with conspiring with stock promoters to artificially inflate Lampoon’s stock price from $2 to $5 a share. Laikin, who also served on Fair’s board, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud last year, and he now is serving a 45-month prison sentence.

Akron, Ohio-based Fair and related entities lent millions of dollars to Lampoon in recent years, according to filings with Ohio securities regulators. Other Fair borrowers pledged Lampoon shares as loan collateral, the records show.
 
“We definitely have received inquiries” about buying Lampoon, said Kelly Burgan, an attorney for the trustee. But she emphasized the firm is not owned by the trustee and it’s premature to speculate on its sale.

“We haven’t yet determined what and how we would dispose of what interests we have,” she said.

Lampoon's stock tanked following Laikin’s arrest, and hasn’t recovered. The shares trade on the Pink Sheets for 5 cents apiece, giving the company a market value of only $475,000.

The trustee alleges that Durham and fellow Indianapolis businessman Jim Cochran “utterly looted” Fair after buying it in 2002. Bash charges Fair doled out tens of millions of dollars in risky related-party loans, stripping the company of its ability to repay more than 5,000 Ohio residents who bought unsecured investment certificates. The company owes the investors more than $200 million.

Durham has denied doing anything wrong and says prospective investors received offering circulars detailing the risks.

The trustee alleges Durham operated Fair as a Ponzi scheme, using proceeds from the sale of new investment certificates to pay off prior investors.

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  • I hate going to the dentist
    I hate to see trouble extend into his family.

    State extends suspension of dental licenseTRIBUNE REPORTS
    2011-02-04 23:56:18
    Indiana State Board of Dentistry extended an emergency suspension of a Seymour dentistâ??s license.

    As expected, Dr. Charles Durham was a no-show when the board convened Friday in Indianapolis, Cindy Vaught of the dental board said.

    Durham faces three licensing charges, according to the state dental board.

    Durham is charged with â??fraud or material deceptionâ?? in his dealings with patients and two counts of failure to â??keep abreast of current professional theory or practiceâ?? by failing to notify the state and patients of his intention to close his practice.

    The board set a hearing on those charges for April 1 in Indianapolis.

    Durham closed his office in the 400 block of South Chestnut Street last year and did not notify the dental board or patients, the state alleges, in violation of licensing requirements.

    At the April 1 hearing, the Indiana Attorney Generalâ??s office would likely file a proposed default of Durhamâ??s license, Vaught said.

    © Copyright 2011 Freedom Communications. All Rights Reserved.
  • I want to be the next Warren Buffett too!
    fox59.com
    Durham's restaurant part of sheriff's sale
    It used to be a restaurant in the middle of New Castle's revitalized downtown. Now it's going to be part of a sheriff's sale.
    By News Staff

    Fox59

    1:49 PM EST, February 22, 2011

    New Castle, Ind.

    It used to be a restaurant in the middle of New Castle's revitalized downtown. Now it's going to be part of a sheriff's sale.

    The restaurant called "Durham's Ristorante", which was once owned by embatted businessman Tim Durham, is going to the highest bidder. A circuit court judge ordered the sheriff to sell the property and send the money to the West End Bank, to help cover the money owed by Durham. It could be about two months before the restaurant is ready for sale.

    Copyright © 2011, WXIN-TV
  • Where's Scott's vote
    After all Scott is on the board of Lampoon, co-founded with his amazing ideas and served as Vice-Chair of Obsidian, was on the board of Fair and now wants to erase all of those references from his bios as he speaks--remember when he claimed you should hire him because he was a business expert with REAL life experience running one of the top 100 fastest growing companies in America that was already at $100M in revenues? Riding around in that fancy bus with graphics emblazoned on the side promoting himself as a best selling author?

    I'd like to see the sales reports from Amazon. I'd also like to see the cancelled checks from any payments to Tim or Fair or Pyramid to show he paid the costs of being given those things to use. And let's have him give us an opinion on what to do with Lampoon now that it has been run into the ground, a feat even Chevy Chase could not accomplish. After all, Scott IS the expert!
  • Nobody cares anymore
    Looks like TD will give the businesses back (most are worthless) and continue to live the la la life.
  • just wondering
    i thought Paul Skdojt(simon son in law) was an owner and board member of national lampoon with laikin and Durham. You never hear his name mentioned any more when it comes to his involvement with lampoon and durham and laikin

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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

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  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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