Indystar.com reports FBI agents Tuesday raided the Chase Tower offices of Timothy S. Durham, taking records of businesses run by the high-profile Indianapolis financier.
Michael Welch, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis office, confirmed dual raids on two of Durham’s businesses, Obsidian Enterprises in Indianapolis and Fair Financial in Akron, Ohio.
Officials disclosed no reason for the raids, and Durham did not return calls seeking comment. But the action brought new notoriety to a flamboyant lawyer who has owned posh homes in Miami and Los Angeles and moves at the top of Republican political circles in Indianapolis.
Durham, 47, a former attorney at the prominent Ice Miller law firm, is regarded as a close friend of Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi’s and a major contributor to Gov. Mitch Daniels’ re-election campaign. He served on Daniels’ re-election steering committee.
The son of a Seymour dentist, Durham married into a powerful Indianapolis family, leaving Ice Miller to work for his father-in-law, Beurt SerVaas, a wealthy entrepreneur who for years was president of the City-Council Council. Durham and Joan SerVaas are now divorced.
Durham rose to prominence quickly in business, opening a majestic office on the top floor of the Chase Tower in 2002.
He managed to get there after going out on his own in 1998 and opening Obsidian Enterprises. He quickly pooled $15 million from investors to buy auto-parts maker Lake City Forge. Within two years, Lake City was sold for $30 million.
Today, Obsidian is a leverage buyout firm that has amassed a trailer maker, a truck body manufacturer, a luxury coach leasing firm and a rubber reclaiming business. Durham also is chief executive of Fair Financial, a business and consumer loan company.
One of his businesses stirred up headlines nationwide.
It happened after Durham and Indianapolis businessman Dan Laikin invested in National Lampoon, the Los Angeles comedy film company known for “Animal House” and the “Vacation” movie series.
Laikin was indicted in 2008 amid a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission probe of an alleged scheme to inflate National Lampoon’s stock value. Durham was not accused of any wrongdoing. He became National Lampoon’s interim CEO after Laikin stepped down.