By Kent Darr


Businessman John Vratsinas got help from his father, a co-founder of an Arkansas construction firm that built Jordan Creek Town Center, in paying $6 million in delinquent federal employment taxes, according to bankruptcy court documents.


The tax bill was cleared after clients of John Vratsinas' human resources companies were notified by the Internal Revenue Service that their withholding taxes had not been paid. The IRS sought and received payment from the human resources companies for the taxes as well as penalties assessed against Vratsinas as the controlling member of the companies.


John Vratsinas used assets of two investment holding companies as guarantees for the loans from his father, Gus, according to bankruptcy court documents, as well as loans from parent companies of the human resources firms, which were also used to pay the IRS debt, according to bankruptcy court records.


John Vratsinas filed to liquidate assets under federal bankruptcy law on June 28. On July 2, he filed a full accounting of his assets and debts, which were primarily business related, according to court documents.


According to the latter filing, Vratsinas claimed his residence as a house in Clear Lake. However, the filing said his wife, Stacy, was the sole occupant of the property for the last two years. The filing also said Stacy is the sole occupant of the couple's home in West Des Moines. The couple is going through a divorce. Vratsinas said in the bankruptcy documents that he does not know the location of his $100 wedding ring.


Among the nearly $7.7 million in debts listed in court documents is a delinquent $6,000 property tax bill on the West Des Moines residence. The unpaid property tax was sold at a Warren County property tax sale in June, according to Warren County treasurer records.


Vratsinas claimed assets of $1.1 million, including his joint interest in the West Des Moines residence, the Clear Lake house and a property adjacent to the house.


Prior to the bankruptcy filing, Bank Iowa sought to foreclose on the vacant property and appoint a receiver. The bank also filed a foreclosure action on a Norwalk industrial property that is owned by a Vratsinas limited liability company. The bank also has received a $2.8 million judgment for a personal guarantee Vratsinas made on a loan for a development in Illinois, according to bankruptcy court records.


Vratsinas also is the target of a court action in Connecticut that seeks to recoup the difference between the loan value of a Beechcraft airplane that was once owned by a Vratsinas limited liability company and its sale price after being surrendered to a lender.


In another court judgment prior to the bankruptcy filing, Vratsinas was ordered to pay nearly $1.5 million in a shareholders lawsuit. A Polk County judge also ordered the liquidation of his John Vratsinas Commercial Builders Inc.


Vratsinas currently is vice president of operations for a company based in Pune, India, where he has netted $22,647 in income so far this year. He has received $38,806 in additional income this year from the operation of other businesses, according to bankruptcy court filings.