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. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.