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Fair Finance trustee sues Indy attorney for $375,000

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The bankruptcy trustee for Fair Finance Co. has filed a lawsuit against Indianapolis attorney Stephen Plopper and his wife, saying they defaulted on a 2003 loan from the defunct Tim Durham-owned business and now owe $375,000.

The loan to Stephen and Linda Plopper matured in 2006, but the couple has failed to satisfy the debt, despite recent demands for payment, according to the suit filed Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Akron, Ohio.

Stephen Plopper served as secretary of Fair Holdings, parent of the Akron-based finance firm. He formerly operated his law practice out of the top floor of the Chase Tower in downtown Indianapolis, sharing space with Durham. The Ploppers' home at 1205 E. 126th St. in Carmel serves as collateral on the loan, according to the suit.

Plopper, who could not be reached for comment, is among more than a dozen Durham associates who received loans from Fair after Durham and fellow Indianapolis businessman Jim Cochran bought the business in 2002.

Bankruptcy trustee Brian Bash alleges that insider loans taken out by Durham, Cochran, and their business associates “utterly looted” the business, leaving it unable to repay more than 5,000 Ohio residents who purchased unsecured investment certificates. The company owes the investors more than $200 million.

Last month, the trustee sued Durham's sister, Dana Osler, and her husband, Jeffrey Osler, charging they defaulted on a company loan and now owe $1.2 million. Jeffrey Osler served as executive vice president and a board member of Obsidian Enterprises Inc., Durham’s Indianapolis-based buyout company.

Fair hasn’t reopened since the FBI raided its offices in November 2009. The raid came about a month after an IBJ investigative story highlighted the insider loans and raised questions about whether the firm had the means to repay holders of investment certificates.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is conducting a criminal investigation of the company’s collapse. Durham has acknowledged that he owes Fair millions but has denied breaking the law. He noted that the offering circulars provided to prospective investors detailed the insider loans and highlighted other risks.

This article originally ran in the Feb. 15 issue of IBJ Daily.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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