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Fair Finance artwork fetches more than $400,000 at auction

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CLEVELAND—Saturday's art auction of work collected by Fair Finance co-owner Timothy Durham raised more than $400,000 — well above what the Akron company's bankruptcy trustee and even the auctioneer thought would be brought in.

A huge chunk of change was dropped by anonymous Bidder 78, who spent more than $267,000 via telephone bids on numerous works by contemporary artist Peter Max, prints by Picasso and other pieces. The bidder declined to be identified, other than to say he owns an art gallery in Florida and does business in England.

Net proceeds from the auction — which lasted more than three hours at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland — will go into the estate of Fair Finance for eventual distribution to thousands of creditors.

The amount, while exceeding expectations, is a drop in the bucket compared with the more than $200 million that an estimated 5,300 Ohio residents had invested in the company, which is under investigation. In a court filing late last year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis alleged Durham was operating a Ponzi scheme, using money from the sale of new investment certificates to pay off prior purchasers, but no chages have been filed.

Durham, the chief executive of movie firm National Lampoon Inc. who bought Fair Finance in 2002 with Indianapolis business partner James Cochran, turned over the art collection for the auction. The FBI, meanwhile, in the summer seized Durham's motor vehicle collection, which the bankruptcy trustee is also in the process of selling.

For the full Akron Beacon Journal story on the Durham art auction, click here.

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  • Great News
    Only $199,600,000.00 to go, then all the money that these two crooks stole will be returned! Oh that's right I keep forgetting that these two didn't do anything wrong.
  • Could the ANON be a buddy of Durhams?
    What a circus by Federal and State Authorities.....
  • Pictures of Durham
    Durham is the only one who would buy pictures of himself. Who else in the world would possibly want them? His check will probably bounce.

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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.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  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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