That is how much money Ponzi schemer Tim Durham wrote to Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi for his re-election campaign. Carl Brizzi should return that money so it can go toward relief for the casualties of this financial mini-Katrina.
While it likely isn’t enough to ease the pain of all the investors that are now unable to access the savings they faithfully invested with Fair Finance which is now closed due to Durham’s fiasco, but it certainly would be a start.
Durham owned Fair Finance, an Akron-based business that appears to be at the center of the federal investigation. Nervous investors there are wondering if they’ll ever see their money again.
All the public knows of the flamboyant millionaire is he’s a man who seems to crave the spotlight. But since the FBI raided his Indianapolis headquarters and federal authorities accused him of defrauding investors, Durham hasn’t made a sound. He was last reported in Los Angeles, far away from the customers who piled hundreds of millions of dollars in short-term loans with the promise of big returns.
Now, all that remains on his Akron company is a note on the door – “Closed due to unforeseen circumstances.”
“I have $100,000 in this,” said investor Larry Heidy.
Heidy, a homebuilder, thought Fair Finance seemed like a safe and sure bet to save for his children’s education.
“My family’s been borrowing money from this company for over 70 years. They’ve been in business 75 years,” he said.
“I have a new grandbaby coming and I was going to use that money to start her college fund,” said investor Michelle Sandridge.
Akron is a working-class city where unemployment is around 10 percent. Many of Fair Financial’s investors wrapped up modest savings in the company, enticed by promised high returns on their investments, nest eggs that many now wonder if they’ll ever see again.
“I am frightened, yes. Because that was going to be my children’s and grandchildren’s future,” said investor Sue Wise.
But since Durham bought Fair Finance in 2004, according to court documents, investigators describe a disturbing pattern – a Ponzi scheme. Failing to invest the money properly and paying off old investors with money raised from new investors. They also allege that while Fair Finance had assets in June of $241 million, Durham made loans to himself and various businesses totaling approximately $192 million.
And he made a $150,000 campaign contribution to Carl Brizzi and gave $50,000 to Governor Mitch Daniels.
We think both should return the funds. But as Marion County Prosecutor, an officer of the court system and self-proclaimed “crimefighter’ we thing it is incumbent on Mr. Brizzi to either return the money or resign his post out of a sense of decency. If he has any.
Pay it back or get out of office. Or preferably both.