As Andrews notes, the federal lawsuit filed in Fort Wayne does not detail the alleged financial relationship between Durham and the other bidder, Mark Hyman, who competed with Scott to purchase the classic car; however, he notes Durham attended the auction and sat with Hyman. "Worse, the suit says, the sellers have failed to provide Scott title to the Duesenberg, even though he has paid," Andrews writes. "According to the lawsuit, the auction house disbursed the full $2.9 million to Hyman," Andrews continues. "He then returned $1.95 million, and that money was routed to Lyons, a wealthy car collector who serves as Dowagiac’s mayor." "The suit seeks to rescind the sale and seeks triple damages—a sum approaching $10 million."
A Virginia businessman is suing Tim Durham, alleging he and other defendants committed fraud by manipulating the September auction of one of the Indianapolis businessman’s prized vehicles, a 1930 Duesenberg built for publishing scion William Randolph Hearst.
The plaintiff, James F. Scott of Charlottesville, Va., agreed to buy the vintage car for $2.9 million—a price Car Collector magazine called “amazing, particularly in these notoriously difficult times.”
The publication noted the price was $2.3 million higher than when it last changed hands, in 2003. After auction bids reached $850,000, just two people—Scott and Mark Hyman of St. Louis—dueled all the way up to the final price.
“The transaction has no relationship at all to ‘value,’” a Car Collector reporter wrote. “It’s just the stubborn determination of two bidders to have what I want when I want it, and having the resources to back it up.”
But now Scott—who participated in the auction at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Auburn by phone—is crying foul. He alleges Hyman, owner of Hyman Limited Classic Cars, made his bids in consultation with Donald Lyons of Dowagiac, Mich.—“each of whom were stakeholders and/or owners of the automobile.”
Dowagiac Mayor Donald Lyons becomes the latest politician tripped up in the scandals surrounding Tim Durham. The three-term mayor was re-elected to a fourth term last month.