Soddy Daisy tax advisor Jack E. Brown had a heart episode on Tuesday morning as he was about to be quizzed about millions of dollars in missing funds taken from investors, officials said.
Jerry Farinash, trustee in Brown's forced bankruptcy, said he and Brown's attorney, Tom Ray, were at his hospital room when Brown indicated he was having heart trouble. He said a nurse was called and she conducted tests to confirm that his heart was acting up. Trustee Farinash said he decided to halt the planned questioning session.
He then headed to the basement of Bankruptcy Court where an overflow crowd of angry Brown investors awaited him.
Trustee Farinash said he will try again to quiz Brown on Jan. 29, but he said attorney Ray has already told him that Brown will give his name and then start "taking the Fifth."
One upset creditor asked if Brown continues to stay mum will the government "waterboard" him. Another said, "There will be lots of volunteers to hold him down."
Trustee Farinash said Brown did repay some investors, and he said there are cases where individuals got back their investments and full interest. He said in one month Brown had payouts of over $35,000. However, investors, who say Brown promised them returns of 15 percent or more, say they are owed millions of dollars. The claims in the case add up to more than $12 million.
Those in the room said they wanted to know if criminal charges are going to be brought against Brown, his wife, Janet, and son, Jason. Several said that Janet and Jason Brown were intimiately involved in the transactions.
U.S. Trustee Bill Sonnenberg said that is up to either the Hamilton County District Attorney or the U.S. Attorney's Office.
One creditor said, "Jack's got Janet and Jason protected. He knows he's going to die, and we're all going to lose."
Another said Jack Brown often would put him off with excuses, but would always "tell me not to worry and that he loves me."
Trustee Farinash said he knows there is a federal probe underway. He asked those in the group to "be patient."
He said he has gone through the home of Jack Brown, but did not find "a little black box" or a backpack full of promissory notes" that creditors said he and Jason made references to.
The trustee said he has not had access to the home of Jason Brown, who lives on the same compound.
Trustee Farinash said Brown had a mnor interest in Legacy Funeral Home, but he did have ownership of a day care center and owned the property where another day care center is operated. He said a Brown check cashing place was closed earlier.
He said an auction is planned in March of vehicles and farm equipment. He said he did not know when the house will be sold. He said some of Brown's holdings are heavily mortgaged and it would not make sense to sell those.
The Brown "investment" activity dates to 2000 or before, he said.
The trustee said in such "Ponzi" cases that there is often little left to pay unsecured creditors. He said in this case he expects that they will at least get some amount when everything is gathered in and computed and all the claims are settled.
Trustee Farinash said it was the largest gathering of creditors he has seen at Bankruptcy Court.