Fair trustee issues subpoena for Brightpoint CEO

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The Fair Finance bankruptcy trustee has subpoenaed Brightpoint Inc. CEO Robert J. Laikin as it tries to recover more than $19 million that Laikin's brother borrowed from the Ohio company.

Trustee Brian A. Bash revealed the subpoena in a July 12 update on his efforts to recover some of the more than $200 million Fair Finance owes to 5,200 Ohio investors. Bash also noted that he has filed a complaint against National Lampoon Inc., seeking the reversal of $9 million in "fraudulent transfers" and the appointment of a receiver over the Los Angeles company.

Fair Finance had been run by Indianapolis businessman Timothy A. Durham as part of what law enforcement officials have called the largest corporate fraud case in Indiana's history. Durham and two partners were arrested in March and charged with 12 felony counts.

Attorneys for the Fair Finance trustee asked Robert Laikin to turn over any documents relating to investments, loans or other transactions made by his brother, Daniel S. Laikin, a friend of Durham's and the former CEO of National Lampoon. The subpoena was served June 28.

Dave Hensel, Robert Laikin's attorney and a partner at locally based Pence Hensel, said his client has responded to the subpoena and does not have any such documents. Hensel said it's up to the trustee whether to continue to pursue the matter.

Joseph Esmont, an attorney at the trustee's law firm, Baker & Hostetler in Cleveland, said he could not discuss the subpoena.

The trustee in April 2010 sued Dan Laikin, a former director of Akron, Ohio-based Fair, alleging he was among the largest recipients of the insider loans that “utterly looted” the business. The suit says Laikin owes more than $19 million.

Collecting anywhere near that sum will be tough. Daniel Laikin lost millions when National Lampoon cratered, and he’s now serving a 45-month prison sentence for trying to manipulate the company’s stock price.

Durham is acting CEO of National Lampoon. The company's shares, listed on the pink sheets, traded at 2 cents per share on Thursday.

Bash, the Fair Finance trustee, also said in his July 12 update that he has settled lawsuits with the Marion County Republican Central Committee, Greater Indianapolis Republican Finance Commitee and the Committee to Elect Paul Ricketts. The trustee had sued the political groups in a bid to recover contributions from Durham.

Bash also intends to negotiate the sale of Bristol, Ind.-based United Trailers, the last operating subsidiary of Obsidian Capital, Durham's holding company.

An attorney for Durham, John Tompkins of locally based Brown Tompkins Lory & Mastrian, appeared in federal court Thursday to respond to an order granting a request by The Indianapolis Star to unseal certain portions of Durham's financial records.

U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson granted a continuance, giving Tompkins until July 21 to turn over the documents.

"[Durham] is doing as well as you could expect," Tompkins said after the hearing. "He is still responsible for day-to-day operations of National Lampoon. He's still on the job as much as he can with the restrictions he's under."

More of IBJ's coverage of Tim Durham and Fair Finance can be found here.

Reporter Scott Olson contributed to this story.


  • How did Carl Brizzi know to gobble up Cellstar?
    right before Brightpoint bought them? Reliable source told me he still holds 500,000 shares and that's post-divorce when he had to split everything.

    How does someone who can't even pay a kids $134 gymnastics bill have that kind of money to acquire a massivel position in Cellstar right before Brightpoint bought them? Carl would have had to have had about $300-$500K in cash lying around and we all know he didn't. Looks like the trustee needs to subpoena Carl.

    Since the SEC can't bother to and the Indiana Dept of Securities is worthless.
  • I know you are reading
    Hi Ben, how are you and L doing these days. Don't worry--statute of limitations on CLST and Brightpoint are up for you and your lovely trading wife. And no one's gonna do anything to you about your bogus non-SEC registered interstate real estate offering named after Carl's good buddy that egged him on to help him get rid of his competitor, Omnisource.

    But now that I have your attention, did you really think all of you could throw Tim Harcharik under the bus and not get away with it? The trustee has all those records. It's coming out. Now.

    To Mercedes, Tim didn't get lucky and he did not make as much as he told people he did on Brghtpoint because he liquidated early--in 2003. The money he blew came from stealing and looting all those poor Ohio investors. Go to the Ohio Dept of Commerce website, click on securities filings and type in FAIR FINANCE and you'll see the over $1.5 BILLION (not million) Tim issued in worthless certificates. Pay special attention to the first two offerings of $60M in 10/2001 and 12/2002--that is the money he used to manipulate Brightpoint.

    And he didn't get lucky to just guess that insolvent Cellstar was about to be gobbled up by Brighpoint!

    How is it those two stocks are his ONLY successes? HELLO?
  • Lucky
    I'm glad I didn't know any of these guys personally or maybe the Feds would be looking at me. I made a killing on Brightpoint stock the very same time Durham did, although his killing had a lot more zeros at the end than mine.

    I bought a bunch of Brightpoint stock for less than $1. Simple math: Brighpoint was being dragged down by the tech sector, but the company was strong, so I saw it as undervalued. I thought it should have been in the high teens. So I bought. Sold the stock for more than $25 a share just a few months later.

    It was common sense + luck + risk and I made a bag of money (not millions, like Timmy, but a lot). Durham may have seen the same thing, but the Durham / Laiken connection seems too close for coincidence.
    • Wonder what Laikin will say about this
      Considering Brightpoint had about 7.8M shares outstanding at the time, perhaps Mr. Laikin can shed light on how it is that Tim Durham knew to divert that cash from Fair Finance, in a comingled account with Dan Laikin, brother of Brightpoint CEO Robert Laikin, over to accumulating and trading some massive positions in Brightpoint at the very time bondholders were fleeing in horror:


    • Justice for all
      Please dont convict anyone before they have there day in court. This is what America is about. Innocent until proven guilty.
    • Dig Deep
      Will this start the Feds and others digging into Bob's dealings with Durham dating back to the trades of CELL and CLST stock? Lots of money made by Durham in a short time. Hard to believe he had no info from Bob / Dan.
      • Dig Deep
        Will this start the Feds and others digging into Bob's dealings with Durham dating back to the trades of CELL and CLST stock? Lots of money made by Durham in a short time. Hard to believe he had no info from Bob / Dan.

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