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Fair Finance trustee sues National Lampoon

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Fair Finance Co.’s bankruptcy trustee this week sued National Lampoon Inc. seeking to recover millions of dollars that indicted financier Tim Durham provided the ailing Los Angeles-based comedy business over the past decade.

Durham, who served as CEO of Akron, Ohio-based Fair before its collapse two years ago, “fraudulently transferred at least $9 million of Fair’s money to National Lampoon," where he is a major investor, according to the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

“To disguise the origin of the transfers to National Lampoon, Durham typically funneled” the Fair funds through a variety of other companies he controlled, the suit alleges.

Durham has been on Lampoon’s board since 2002 and has been its CEO since 2008. The money went toward covering Lampoon’s losses, the suit alleges. The company lost $37 million from 2002 until it ceased filing financials with the Securities and Exchange Commission two years ago.

In his lawsuit, Fair Trustee Brian Bash acknowledges it’s unlikely National Lampoon would be able to fully repay the transfers. He asked the court to impose a permanent injunction barring the firm from selling assets without court approval and preventing the transfer of funds to insiders.

A federal grand jury in March indicted Durham and fellow Fair insiders Jim Cochran and Rick Snow on 12 felony counts.

Authorities say that after Durham bought Fair in 2002, he doled out  related-party loans with abandon, leaving the company unable to repay Ohio residents who purchased unsecured investment certificates boasting interest rates as high as 9.5 percent. More than 5,200 investors are owed more than $230 million.

Durham, Cochran and Snow have denied wrongdoing.

Bash, the Fair bankruptcy trustee, alleges Durham “utterly looted” Fair, burning through millions of dollars to support a lavish lifestyle and insolvent businesses he controlled.

Bash said this month that he has recovered about $2 million since he began filing lawsuits and taking other steps to recover money for investors in early 2010. The investors have not yet received a distribution from the recovery.




 

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  • Sue Cindy Landeen too
    Why don't they Cindy Landeen for the $750k that Durham loaned her for running the Alternate Billing Corp. in Minnesota. The FBI shut it down and I think they are still investiagating the camming scam they were running.
  • Shades of Animal House
    To quote National Lampoon's greatest movie, "Fat drunk and stupid is no way to go through life"
  • Sue Mitch Daniels too
    Why don't they sue Mitch Daniels for the $200k of Durham contribution that he refuses to return, even now that he currently claims he won't be running for another office??
  • Durham, Cochran and Snow?
    Durham, Cochran and Snow? Sounds like Dewey, Cheatem and Howe.

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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