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Local designer’s bankruptcy tied to Fair Finance

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An Indianapolis interior design firm’s plunge into bankruptcy can be traced to its ties to Fair Finance Co., the Akron, Ohio-based firm formerly co-owned by convicted Ponzi schemer Tim Durham.

SC Design Inc., operated by Shannon Connor at 4200 N. Pennsylvania St., filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Monday, listing debts of $1.5 million and assets of $400.

Nearly all of the debt, or more than $1.4 million, is listed as a claim filed against SC Design by Fair Finance trustee Brian Bash, according to court documents.

Bash has filed dozens of suits since early 2010 on behalf of investors seeking to recover funds transferred out of Fair at a time the trustee alleges it was insolvent.

Durham and accomplices Jim Cochran and Rick Snow are scheduled to be sentenced Friday. A federal jury in June found Durham guilty on all 12 felony charges stemming from the collapse of Fair.

Durham co-owned the firm with Cochran, who was convicted of eight of 12 felony charges. Snow, the company’s chief financial officer, was convicted on five of 12 counts.

Durham faces 225 years in prison, Cochran 145 years and Snow 85 years.

Prosecutors charged that after Durham and Cochran bought the business in 2002, they raided its coffers to fund their lavish lifestyles and to cover losses at failing businesses they owned.

The huge withdrawals—which were recorded as loans but were not repaid—left Fair without the means to repay 5,000 Ohio residents who purchased more than $200 million of the company’s unsecured investment certificates.

Bash, the trustee, so far only has collected $5.6 million for investors, prosecutors say.

He filed suit against SC Design in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in May, charging that Durham and one of his affiliates, DC Investments LLC, transferred Fair funds to the interior design firm in amounts totaling $1.4 million.

Durham made the transfers to the company—48 in all—from June 2006 to November 2010 in amounts ranging from as little as $78 to as much as $196,627, according to the complaint.

Neither Connor nor her attorney returned calls from IBJ seeking comment on the suit filed by Bash.

But her attorney, Nancy Valentine of Cleveland firm Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP, said in a court filing that SC Design is not liable for the money, in part, because the statute of limitations to collect has expired.

Bash’s suit against SC Design does not specify Connor's relationship to Durham. Her website, however, lists Durham and former Durham business Obsidian Enterprises as clients.

FBI agents raided Fair and Obsidian, located on the 48th floor of Chase Tower in Indianapolis, in November 2009.

Connor, an Indianapolis native, established SC Design in 2000 after working in Los Angeles, according to the firm’s website.

The site says she studied interior design at Ball State University and worked in Indianapolis before moving to Los Angeles in 1996, where she also studied production design and set decoration at UCLA.

For all of IBJ's coverage of Fair Finance and Durham, click here.
 

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  • agreed
    Yes - it is a lot of money for furniture, but the fortville home was completely renovated and enlarged (including doubling the house for his garage), I believe he also had a yacht that went thru design and refurnishing. I bet that only the best was purchased - and I can see easily reaching 1.5 million dollars
  • Re
    Since he only "owned" two homes--the bad-taste on steroids mauseleum in Fortville where his remaining "buddies" are living and the house on Sierra Alta that Connor did NOT design, whose houses did Tim to pay to have decorated? ...................................................................................................... and, speaking of buddies--who wants to bet not one of Tim's mooch buddies shows up at his sentencing? Where are Carl, Gary, Scott, Neil, Kato when you need them? Or, when you aren't giving them freebies? LMAO!!!!!
  • what?
    Durham paid 1.5 million for interior design and furniture for several homes - this was not a loan???????
    • Really Joe?
      You're comparing errands to 1.5M loan or did he provide them 1.5M loan for their business too and they repaid?
    • I don't think it was a loan
      She did interior design services - lot's of expensive purchases - 1.5 million dollars spent. I don't see any evidence of a loan??
    • Response
      She isn't being sued for the money she was paid by Durham for design services. On top of that, she took out a $1.5 million LOAN from Durham/Fair to invest in her new business. Who knows how she blew through the money. So, yes, anyone who blows $1.5 million they borrowed should be sued to repay it pursuant to the loan document (ie, a promise to repay). We all know she never will and has no assets. That's the whole Durham story. The problem with Durham is he just threw money at anyone who asked for it so he could look like the big generous fat cat (stroking his ego), with no regard to whether any of these businesses had a chance in hell of succeeding; and obviously none of them did, to the tune of $200 million being flushed down the drain.
    • Doesn't make sense
      So should everyone who did legitimate business with Durham be sued. What about the guy he paid to cut his grass, bought his groceries, gas station that he filled up his cars? I just don't understand how someone hired to do a service can be found guilty if they are oblivious to the criminal activity going on to generate the funds to pay for that service??
      • Classic Durham
        This is classic Durham. Cute blonde designer; hired to decorate Durham's Geist home (see pics on her website, his house is her claim to fame); probably with the now infamous "unlimited budget" Durham bragged about. "You need some money for your new design business? Sure, here's $1.5M I'm supposedly investing on behalf of retired Ohio Investors. Spend it as you wish. No collateral? No problem!" At first I thought it was hard to comprehend how Durham blew $200+ million, but now it's getting easier to see. There are many other Shannon Connors out there (at least one of whom is also named Shannon). Reading this farce never gets old...

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