IBJ, Wall Street Journal seek unsealing of Durham records

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Indianapolis Business Journal and The Wall Street Journal have joined the legal fight to unseal search-warrant documents related to the federal investigation of businessman Tim Durham and Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co.

Akron Beacon Journal and The Indianapolis Star launched the effort in mid-December. This week, an Akron attorney filed an amended motion in federal courts in Indiana and Ohio bringing in the additional newspapers. The filing seeks unsealing in part because of “intense community and national interest.”

The probe has been public since Nov. 24, when FBI agents executed search warrants at Durham’s Indianapolis office and at Fair’s headquarters. Agents hauled away computer equipment and bankers boxes full of documents. Investigators have refused to provide information on the warrants, saying they are sealed.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis has not filed a response to the original motion to unseal. Timothy Morrison, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, would not comment Tuesday morning on what position his office will take.

Court papers filed by Morrison’s office Nov. 24 allege Fair operated as a Ponzi scheme, using money from new investors to pay what it owed prior investors, thereby “lulling the earlier victims into believing that their money was being [handled] responsibly.”

The raids occurred one month after IBJ published an investigative story that raised questions about whether Fair Finance had the financial wherewithal to repay Ohio investors who had purchased nearly $200 million in investment certificates.

The story 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 business interests, some of them unsuccessful. The story noted that he and related parties owe Fair more than $168 million.

In the amended motion to unseal, Karen Lefton, an attorney for Brouse McDowell in Akron, argued that keeping the records sealed violates the newspapers’ common law right to access judicial records, as well as their First Amendment rights.

“It is highly unlikely the government would be able to meet its burden of showing that sealing is essential to preserving the integrity of its ongoing investigation,” the motion says.

“In addition, all the principal parties—Mr. Durham, his companies’ leaders, the prosecutor—already know the contents of those file cabinets and computers that were seized from Fair Finance. Indeed, it seems that by sealing the search warrant documents, that information is being withheld only from those for whom it is most important—the public and innocent investors who now must undertake recovery on their own.”


  • sick
    looks like these sick puppies need to be put to rest.

    durham should get the electric chair!
  • No bail for Raj
    Govt is cracking down on insider trading, for those who might have an interest:

  • Tiger and Tim both hiding
    Tim Durham's and Tiger Woods' troubles became public around the same time. Since then both have gone into hiding. While Tiger cheated on his wife and wrecked his own life, Tim cheated thousands of people out of their retirement savings and wrecked thousands of lives. For the people who saved and invested with Tim, this turned into a horrible nightmare. When will this materialistic Pansy be brought to justice? When will the government give us the facts?
  • Webster Bank
    If Durham financed the cars through Webster, and Durham et al stripped the cash out of the houses using banks like Shelby County, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, then where DID the money he received from the hundreds of millions in investment certificates go?

    Also, can anyone explain if Dan Laikin has paid back the over $10M Fair is rumored to have lent him and if not how he is going to repay Fair when he is being sentenced to prison in January.
    • Hey Tim--Ohio and the SEC want their answers
      You are putting off the inevitable--where the hell is the money? You have a floorplan on the cars and all of you stripped the cash out of the houses. Just how stupid did you really think everyone was?

    • Tim coveted publicity
      rue the day someone ever got involved with Tim...would have been easier just to divy up the cash, shut the mouths and move on, huh? But, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOo and now it's all going to come out. Damn that Texas judge who hasn't ruled.
    • Interesting allegation
      In this lawsuit the allegation is made that Durham's Fair Finance paid sales commissions. That is a huge no no as, if true, it voids the SEC exemption since none of Durham's sales reps are licensed/registered with FINRA/SEC

      Also looks like John Doe being referred to is Carl Brizzi!
    • Durham update
    • !!
      What goes around comes around!
    • Boccieri's Tired of Morrison's
      failure to cooperate in this matter as reported Sunday by Chris Leonard of the Wooster Daily-Record.

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