Madison - St. Clair Record

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Former wife of convicted tax buyer voluntarily dismisses marriage dispute

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Oct 3, 2017

The former wife of a tax buyer who pleaded guilty to rigging bids at tax sales has voluntarily dismissed a marriage dispute seeking $714,757 from her ex-husband, his brother and their father.

Angela Baron filed a motion for voluntary dismissal with prejudice after all claims were “fully compromised” on Sept. 8 through attorney Charles W. Courtney Jr. of Courtney, Clark & Mejias PC in Belleville.

St. Clair County circuit judge Vincent Lopinot granted voluntary dismissal on Sept. 11.

Charles Courtney of Belleville filed the suit for Baron on Feb. 6, alleging John A. Vassen, Joseph Vassen and their late father John J. Vassen violated the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.

Courtney alleges a judgment out of associate judge Randall Kelley’s court last October awards Baron $714,757 in a divorce dispute.

The order followed a fifth District appellate court decision affirming Kelly’s finding that Vassen dissipated marital assets.

The suit alleges the judgment remains unpaid.

According to the complaint, Baron and Vassen were married from 1988 until 2013, when the marriage broke down irretrievably. Vassen held 50 percent of VI, Inc., an Illinois corporation.

Courtney wrote that Vassen “threatened plaintiff with a firearm in the formal marital residence; further the parties separated at that time never to live together again.”

On July 21, 2013, Vassen allegedly threatened to transfer his stock in VI Inc. to Joseph Vassen and John J. Vassen.

He allegedly followed through with the threat the next day, Baron alleges, transferring the stock to his brother and father for no consideration without her knowledge or consent.

John A. Vassen was represented by former St. Clair County chief judge John Baricevic of Chatham & Baricevic in Belleville.

John A. Vassen was represented by Paul Slocomb of Hoffman Slocomb LLC in St. Louis in the criminal prosecution that alleged he participated in a scheme to rig bids at auctions of delinquent taxes in Madison County. He and others pleaded guilty to the bid rigging charges in 2014. 

He served 21 months in federal prison and completed a year under court supervision last December.

Slocomb represented his brother, Joseph Vassen, in Baron’s suit.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 17-L-54

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Chatham & Baricevic St. Clair County Circuit Court