A partner in an Akron-area law firm has filed a lawsuit against Fair Finance Co. and its executives, alleging breach of contract, fraud and more for nonpayment of interest on investment certificates he and his wife purchased.
The suit, the latest against Akron-based Fair Finance, was filed Thursday in Summit County Common Pleas Court. The suit asks for a jury trial and seeks more than $25,000 in damages and costs.
The suit was filed by Fairlawn residents Harry and Kathleen Tipping of Abington Road. Harry Tipping is a partner in the Fairlawn-based law firm Stark & Knoll Co., where he is a member of its litigation and employment group.
The Tippings say in their complaint that they bought four investment certificates from Fair Finance starting in February 2008 and since the end of October 2009 had not received interest payments from the company. The couple did not disclose how much they paid for the certificates.
The Tippings' civil lawsuit alleges breach of contract, anticipatory breach of contract, fraud and violation of state laws.
The complaint said the Tippings on Nov. 30 ''instructed Fair Finance to cancel said certificates and return the principal due with all interest to day of rescission'' but that as of the court filing no payments had been made.
Fair Finance closed its offices the week of the Thanksgiving holiday, with the FBI on Nov. 24
raiding the Akron headquarters on East Market Street and offices of Obsidian Enterprises, a related business in Indianapolis. The FBI seized computers and documents. Court documents showed that federal investigators in Indiana suspected that Fair Finance was being operated as a Ponzi scheme. No charges have been filed and no arrests have been made.
A spokesman for the company could not be reached for comment. Fair Finance says in a voice-mail message that it has received its computers back from the FBI.
Also on Monday, the Wall Street Journal and the Indianapolis Business Journal joined the Akron Beacon Journal and Indianapolis Star newspapers on motions to unseal federal search warrants used to raid the offices in Akron and Indianapolis.
Fair Finance, founded in 1934, sold certificates to Ohio residents who invested in short-term consumer debt. The company also managed accounts receivables for other businesses. The Fair family sold the company in 2002 to Indiana businessman Timothy Durham and partner James Cochran.
The company promised high rates of return on the investment certificates, which were not government insured. Fair Finance is seeking state permission to sell as much as $250 million in new investment certificates.
Other lawsuits have been filed against Fair Finance since the Nov. 24 raids.
As many as 40 investors in Wayne County are suing seeking repayment of nearly $2.2 million plus punitive damages.
Tonight at 6, Columbus lawyer David P. Meyer is holding what he says will be an informational meeting in the Hilton hotel at 3180 W. Market St. in Fairlawn for people who bought Fair Finance investment certificates. Meyer represents Summit County residents suing Fair Finance and is asking a judge to certify the suit as a class action. Meyer said he intends to explain the lawsuit he filed on Dec. 4 and the class-action issue.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.