IBJNews

Lawyers submit big bill in Fair Finance case

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Most of the $1.8 million that Fair Finance trustee Brian Bash has recovered so far could go to attorneys and accountants working on the massive fraud case involving Indianapolis financier Tim Durham.

Bash’s Cleveland law firm, Baker Hostetler, accounts for the largest part of about $1.7 million in professional fees, which were recently submitted for approval by U.S. bankruptcy court in northern Ohio. The fees cover 2010 expenses. 

Bash has said he expects to recover $78.5 million more of the estimated $230 million that investors lost to Fair Finance’s alleged Ponzi scheme, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Indianapolis businessman Tim Durham bought Ohio-based Fair Finance in 2002 and used it to orchestrate the largest Ponzi scheme in state history, Bash alleges. Durham also faces criminal charges in Indianapolis, where he is under home detention.

Bash has gone after real estate, paintings and Durham's classic car collection. He's also filed multiple lawsuits and plans to file more, his counsel Kelly Burgan said in a recent petition for payment.

Bankruptcy judges have final say over payments to lawyers and other professionals working on such cases.

Baker Hostetler spent 4,516 hours on the case in 2010 and racked up $1.3 million in fees, according to the recent petition for payment. The filings do not include Bash’s hours.

The firm's hourly rates ranged from $680 for the top-paid partner to $120 for a law clerk. The average was $299 per hour.

Burgan logged nearly 1,344 hours at $400 per hour.

“Baker Hostetler takes seriously the losses suffered by the debtor’s investors in excess of $200 million,” Burgan wrote in the petition.

The firm’s efforts resulted in quick initial recoveries, plus the pending lawsuits, she noted.

Forensic accounting firm Howard L. Klein Co. in Beachwood, Ohio, submitted a bill for $298,156 for 1,327 hours of work, or an average rate of $224 per hour.

Attorneys Michael Moran and David Mucklow, special counsel to Bash, and Baker & Daniels, Bash’s attorneys in Indianapolis, also submitted bills.

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

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Re: Attorney fees
    To Bryan: I understand your objection to a $680/hr. rate. It may be so large as to be unreasonable under the circumstances. But you can't seriously think that the lawyers should get paid last. If the lawyers get paid last, there won't be any lawyers to work on the case. Then nothing will be accomplished.

    To "Scam": The legal profession is regulated, mainly by the Supreme Court in each state. You are free to file a grievance with the Supreme Court's disciplinary commission about "scumbag" $200/hr. rates. Don't be surprised when no one takes you seriously. Lawyers, like most folks, generally charge what the market will bear for their skills. Right now, the market will bear $200+/hr.
  • Re
    Especially since a forensic specialist named Erich Risenberg in Iowa spoonfed the trustees office countless hours of work for free--for example, on the bill Joe Esmont bills for "researching Diamond Auto Sales on the internet"--ridiculous because the UCC filings as well as the lack of paying sales tax and the phone number and email address for Don McCloud, who at the time ran the dealer sales tax division, as well as the phone number and pictures of the closed pretend auto dealership, were provided directly to Esmont. So much for two hours of research.
  • I've said it before...
    ...but I'll say it again. I'm willing to bet that Bash et al are going to make sure they keep every dollar that they recover from this circus. 2011 fees aren't even included yet in that $1.7 million figure -- it only covers 2010.

    "Bash has said he expects to recover $78.5 million more" and yet back in March he himself said "all of the 'low-hanging fruit' has been plucked".

    How much longer will the bankruptcy courts allow him to go on racking up fees with no progress to show for it?
  • What about??
    Scam, I agree, but do you have any idea how much Peyton Manning makes an hour?
  • Better Question To Ask
    How much is Durham spending on his attorneys and how is he able to afford it considering the efforts of creditors, plaintiffs, and federal prosecutors to free and liquidate assets for victims?
  • Truly the crook
    There is not a person that is worth more than $200/hour. Let alone a scumbag attorney. What truly do they do???? This is the most unlooked at industy. We should all look at attorneys as SCUM
    • It Would Be Nice
      It would be nice, but that just ain't gonna' happen...
    • Fair Finance
      Just goes to show how overpaid attorneys can be
    • Lawyer fees in Durham case
      It seems to me that those who were the victims of the Durham swindle scheme should be paid back first by the Trustee and Courts. Then the lawyer should get whatever is left in the pot. $600 per hour is an unreasonable billing amount as is even $299. The court should approve no more than $150 per hour billing, but should also rule that payment to the law firm be made after the victims receive their money.

      Post a comment to this story

      COMMENTS POLICY
      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
      ADVERTISEMENT

      facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

      Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
      Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
       
      Subscribe to IBJ
      1. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

      2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

      3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

      4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

      5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

      ADVERTISEMENT