Tim Durham Courtesy: Indianapolis Monthly
Updated: Wednesday, 03 Nov 2010, 4:18 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 12 Aug 2010, 7:17 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Disgraced financier Tim Durham had lots of money. And he gave big bucks to powerful politicians. But now investigators believe Durham's money was dirty - stolen from Ohio investors. So, a state representative says his colleagues should return those tainted campaign contributions.
To call Tim Durham's lifestyle lavish is perhaps understated. The mansion, the cars, the unapologetic opulence.
In a 2004 interview Tim Durham told us, "At the end of the day, when I breathe my last breath i'd like to be worth more than anyone else in the world. "
Now those cars and the mansion with its 30-car garage and nanny quarters belong to a bankruptcy trustee charged with the task of trying to recover the $200,000 Durham allegedly stole from Ohio investors.
But critics say Durham's so-called dirty money didn't just buy fancy cars; it bought influence. He gave lots of money to lots of politicians. There's a couple of democrats on the list, but the big bucks went to the GOP. Records show the Indiana Republican party got more than $210,000, Marion County prosecutor Carl Brizzi got $200,000, and Governor Mitch Daniels received $195,000.
Democratic state representative Ed DeLaney is calling on colleagues to give the money back. So would DeLaney be as passionate about this issue if Democrats had gotten most of Durham's money?
"No, I'm a human being," DeLaney answered. "I probably wouldn't be as enthused. But it wouldn't change the result. It wouldn't change what's right."
And he says what's right is assuring that Ohio Amish and elderly allegedly scammed out of millions get their money back. We asked leaders of the Indiana Republican party whether they would consider giving back Durham's contributions. Spokesman, Trevor Foughty gave us the following statement:
"It has long been our practice to spend the money we raise in the election cycle in which it was donated. This is certainly the case with Mr. Durham's contributions, as his donations came several years ago. At this point, it is too premature to say if we would deviate from that practice and we will withhold further judgment and comment until a court rules in the case."
Asked whether he believes there is an ethical obligation to give back the money he said, "Well, like I said, if a court rules one way or the other, then that's something that we'll look at then."
We were promised a statement from the governor's campaign but have not received it. But late this afternoon, we did get a statement from Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. It appears he doesn't consider personal contributions from Tim Durham possibly tainted, only those from his failed companies.
The statement reads, "We believe the range to be between $2,000 and $5,000 and if any of this money is linked to Fair Finance proceeds, it will be returned as requested by the trustee in Ohio."