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Indy lawyer pays $371,000 to settle Fair Finance lawsuit

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Fair Finance Co.’s bankruptcy trustee has reached a $371,000 settlement with Stephen Plopper, an Indianapolis attorney accused of defaulting on a 2003 loan from the Tim Durham-owned business.

Trustee Brian Bash sued Plopper and his wife, Linda, in February, saying the couple failed to pay off a $250,000 loan that matured in 2006. Accrued interest pushed the amount owed past $370,000, according to the lawsuit.

Rather than contest the suit, the Ploppers agreed to pay the full amount owed, a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio shows. The deal represents a rare victory for Bash, who has struggled to recover money for the more than 5,200 Ohio investors who purchased unsecured investment certificates from Fair. The investors are owed more than $230 million.

Money collected so far will help cover the cost of Bash’s legal effort.

In a recent posting on the Fair Finance trustee’s website, Bash wrote: “I cannot be certain there will be any recovery, and I would be very surprised if the recovery approached twenty-five percent.”

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.

Plopper 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.

In January, 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.

A federal grand jury this month indicted Durham, Cochran and Fair’s chief financial officer, Rick Snow, on 12 felony counts. The indictment alleges the trio worked together to devise and execute a scheme to defraud purchasers of Fair’s investment certificates.

Authorities say company executives doled out related-party loans with abandon, stripping Fair of its ability to repay investors.

Attorneys for the defendants have denied wrongdoing or have declined to comment.

More coverage of the Fair Finance fraud investigation can be found here.

This story originally ran in the March 31, 2011, IBJ Daily.
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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