State lawmaker wants Durham contributions returned

Tim Durham
Published: .
Updated: .

Scott Swan/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - A state lawmaker is calling on politicians to return campaign donations given by embattled financier Tim Durham. We're following the money to see which candidates benefited and what they plan to do with the donations.

By all accounts, Tim Durham was rich. He spent his money on a Geist mansion and dozens of classic cars.

Durham also gave lots of money to Indiana Republican candidates, including $195,000 to Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and $200,000 to Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi.

But state Rep. Ed DeLaney (D), believes the source of the money was from investors in Ohio who lost $200 million when Durham's Fair Finance investment firm crashed.

"It's clear that part of the game, as we understand it, nobody's been charged criminally, was to raise large sums of money and spread them around politically in order to have influence," said DeLaney.

DeLaney is calling on candidates to return Durham's campaign donations to the Ohio bankruptcy trustee or set up an escrow account.

"If you receive a very substantial amount and it turns out the real source of this money is probably some injured person in Ohio, that ought to trouble us," he said.

While Durham donated most of the $800,000 to Republican candidates, Democrats also received money.

Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN09) received $5,600. Former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson got a $2,000 donation.

Durham donated all of the money between 2000 and 2008, well before the stories broke about Durham's troubles.

"This campaign issue is eroding people's confidence in the system," said DeLaney.

Durham has not been charged and denied any wrongdoing. Former Mayor Bart Peterson said he planed to return the $2,000.

A spokesman for Congressman Baron Hill says their office spent the $5,600 donation years ago.

Lawrence Mayor Paul Ricketts said if the $45,000 he received came from retirees, he'll give the money back.

Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said if any of Durham's $200,000 campaign donation can be linked to Fair Finance, he would return the money.

House Republican leader Brian Bosma says the $10,000 he got was spent in 2006, but added if that money is linked to the Ohio investors, he'd find some way to reimburse.