The investigation into Fair Finance Co. has found assets of $20.9 million and liabilities of more than $220.3 million, according to bankruptcy court documents filed Thursday.
More than 5,300 people and organizations that bought uninsured investment certificates from the Akron loan company are owed nearly $218.5 million of the $220.3 million.
While the documents list assets of $20.9 million, other assets are probably out there and listed as ''unknown,'' Fair Finance's court-appointed trustee, Brian Bash, said Thursday.
The largest identified asset — valued at more than $17.8 million — was a fully owned subsidiary of Fair Finance called Fair Facility I LLC. (Fair Facility was created to purchase receivables from Fair Finance.)
The ''unknown'' assets include more than $200 million in so-called related party loans Fair Finance made to businesses owned or controlled by Fair Finance's owners, Timothy Durham and James Cochran, to the two individuals and others as well, the documents show.
''It tells me we will have to look very hard for assets to collect,'' Bash said.
Earlier this week, Bash gave a status report in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Akron on his investigation into Fair Finance. As part of the report, Bash said he is seeking millions of dollars in antique and specialty cars and artwork that he believes were purchased with Fair Finance funds. Bash said he already has some of the vehicles and artwork under his supervision.
The documents were filed Thursday in advance of a creditors meeting Monday afternoon in downtown Akron that will be presided over by Bash. The quasi-judicial meeting is at 1 p.m. in a ballroom at the Akron City Centre Hotel, 20 W. Mill St.
The cars and artwork Bash is seeking on behalf of Fair Finance creditors were not listed among the assets in the court documents filed Thursday.
''I don't think there's $200 million worth of cars and paintings out there. How much? I can't say,'' Bash said.
Certificate holders are considered unsecured creditors, meaning any assets that are recovered first go to secured creditors. The documents show two secured creditors with slightly more than $1.7 million in claims.
Certificate holders forced Fair Finance into Chapter 7 bankruptcy earlier this year as a means to find and preserve the business' assets.
The filings help show in large part how Fair Finance and its related companies operated, including information about income and where money from Fair Finance went.
The documents also name all investment certificate holders, the amount of money they paid for the certificates as well as interest they would have earned. Some people who did not want to be identified and have spoken with the Akron Beacon Journal in recent months said they had put their entire life savings in Fair Finance investment certificates. The majority of certificate holders are in the Greater Akron-Canton area.
Bash said the disclosure of the certificate-holder names with the dollar amounts is a matter of public record.
''I can't hide that. It is what it is,'' he said.
The 100-page assets and liabilities document shows some individuals and organizations had more than $200,000 in investment certificates — in two cases, as much as $500,000. Fair Finance's offering circulars filed in 2008 with the state Division of Securities said that ''the company will not accept subscriptions in excess of $200,000 per individual, in the aggregate.''
In one listing, an Akron church had $271,000 in certificates for a scholarship fund.
Among the individuals listed as having more than $200,000 in certificates is a Sugarcreek man with $500,000; a Canton man named as custodian of two accounts totaling $500,000; a Tallmadge man with $437,000; a Kent man with $406,815; an Akron man and a Fairlawn man each with $400,000; a Wadsworth man with $375,000; and a Massillon man with $300,000.
Bash said it is possible people purchased multiple certificates, creating high totals for single individuals.
Among the vendor businesses listed as creditors are a number of newspapers, among them the Akron Beacon Journal, which is owed $22,756.15 for advertising.
The statement of financial affairs filed with bankruptcy court shows that Fair Finance had ''receivables and related party loan'' income in 2008 of $34.2 million. Through October 2009, the company books showed income of more than $24.5 million.
Fair Finance was founded in 1934 by the Fair family and sold in 2002 to leveraged buyout specialist Durham and Cochran, two Indianapolis businessmen. The company sold investment certificates to Ohio residents that promised high rates of return and provided back office services to businesses, such as managing accounts receivables.
In late November, the FBI raided Fair Finance's Akron headquarters on East Market Street, as well as the offices of a related company, Obsidian Enterprises, in Indianapolis. The offices have remained closed since then, with certificate holders saying they have not had any access to their funds.
Court documents filed at the time showed the U.S. attorney's office in Indiana suspected Fair Finance was being operated as a Ponzi scheme. No one has been arrested or charged.
Also Thursday, Bash filed motions in bankruptcy court to bring Fair Finance's Ohio corporate parent, Fair Holdings, and its Indiana corporate parent, DC Investments, into the estate.
In strongly worded language as part of that filing, Bash wrote, ''At the time of the purchase in 2002, the debtor [Fair Finance] was a strong, viable, reputable company. By 2009, the debtor had been utterly looted by insiders and affiliates, resulting in the shutdown of the debtor's business after the FBI raid on Nov. 24, 2009.
'' . . . For all real and practical purposes, the operations and affairs of the debtor, Fair Holdings and DCI, are so entangled that they are one and the same company. Durham and Cochran essentially used the debtor as a cash cow to enrich themselves, Fair Holdings, DCI and other insiders and affiliates.''
Thursday's documents also show gifts and charitable donations made by Fair Finance in 2009.
The company was a $2,000 sponsor of the Bluecoats Charities; paid $150 to be a member of Main Street Wooster; paid $250 in sponsorship signs for Medina Youth Baseball Association; contributed $250 to the Special Olympics; and was a $500 ''Woosterfest'' sign sponsor for the Wooster Chamber of Commerce.
In listing assets, Fair Finance's East Market Street headquarters was given a value of $198,675.
The value assigned to the Fair Finance trade name: zero.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.