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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. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  2. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  3. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  4. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  5. Oh yes, lifetime tenure. The Founders gave that to the federal judges .... at that time no federal district courts existed .... so we are talking the Supreme Court justices only in context ....so that they could rule against traditional marriage and for the other pet projects of the sixties generation. Right. Hmmmm, but I must admit, there is something from that time frame that seems to recommend itself in this context ..... on yes, from a document the Founders penned in 1776: " He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

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