NEWSMAKER: High-flying exec Durham ensnared in probe

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Year In Review

Few people in Indianapolis embraced opulence like Tim Durham, the financier who partied with beautiful women aboard his yacht, built a 30,000-square-foot mansion, and amassed more than 70 cars.

Tim Durham

But now Durham, the son of a Seymour dentist, is getting attention for all the wrong reasons. The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged in court papers filed Nov. 24 that one of his businesses, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co., operated as a Ponzi scheme.

FBI agents that same day seized records from Durham’s Indianapolis office and from Fair’s Akron headquarters. Fair hasn’t reopened since the raids, fueling anxiety among Ohio investors who purchased more than $200 million of the company’s short-term investment certificates.

The raids occurred a month after IBJ published an investigative story raising questions about whether Fair had the financial wherewithal to repay investors.

The article reported that since Durham bought the consumer-loan business in 2002, he had used it almost like a personal bank to fund a range of businesses, some of them unsuccessful. Loans to Durham and related parties now top $168 million, filings with Ohio securities regulators show.

The negative publicity also has been damaging to Republican heavyweights who received big campaign contributions from Durham—especially Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, who calls Durham a friend.

Brizzi, 41, recently acknowledged that he agreed over the summer to serve as a Fair Finance board member but decided to step down after Durham told him IBJ was going to press with the story questioning the company’s business practices.

Financial-disclosure statements also list Brizzi as owning stock in two firms closely linked to Durham—Los Angeles-based Red Rock Pictures Holdings and Dallas-based CLST Holdings Inc.

CLST, a former cell-phone distributor where Durham is chairman, also is under scrutiny by federal investigators. CLST in early December disclosed that the Securities and Exchange Commission subpoenaed a mountain of documents, including those related to a controversial transaction between the company and Fair Finance.

An attorney for Durham, 47, said his client does not believe he has done anything wrong. Durham has not been charged with any crime, but is facing a civil class-action lawsuit filed by investors seeking to rescind their purchases of investment certificates.•




  • What did you turn Tim in for?
    Please give the details of what you turned Tim in for
  • Am I responsible for the leak?
    I can't believe Carl removed me from his Facebook friends list after all I did to help him and Tim pay that girl back for turning Tim in back a few years ago. Is this the thanks I get? To be constantly evicted? To not share in this wealth? I deserve my share! It's not my fault IBJ ran those articles! All I did was make that girl miserable and try to ruin her life! I know I opened my mouth in the firsd place but it was her fault for not keeping quiet. And it was fun to call her bosses and her ex husband and her boyfriend and anyone else who would take my calls. Whew, it was a lot of work, tho. And, I don't like to work hard except when I am stealing money from people like Bob and Tami. Even I concede it was creepy when I posted her Dads name and birthdate on Yahoo. But we all know I didn't know how to do this by myself and had help. Damn that reporter! How did he get involved. Now I don't get to stalk people anymore and I am personna non-grata because I set this ball into motion. Whoda thunk huh? What happens to me now! What about me! Me!

    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:
    thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

    2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

    3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

    4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

    5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim