John P. Danos

John P. Danos




Since 2002 John has helped cities, counties, special districts, and private entities meet their goals through tax exempt and taxable municipal bond issues, private debt placements, lease purchase financings, and other debt arrangements. John guides clients through state and federal tax law and federal securities law compliance issues.

In addition, John has extensive experience in structuring economic development transactions involving tax increment financing, tax abatement, and other local government support.

John is a frequent presenter at local government conventions, legal seminars, and public finance meetings on topics related to tax increment financing, economic development, municipal debt, and complex local government issues.

John currently serves as co-head of Dorsey’s Public Finance Practice Group.

Education & Admissions

Drake University Law School (J.D., 2002), With highest honors

Oklahoma State University (M.S., Counseling & Student Personnel, 1994)

Grinnell College (B.A., Religious Studies, 1991)


  • Iowa


Representative Experience

John serves as bond counsel and economic development counsel for several hundred cities and counties across Iowa.

In the arena of municipal debt, he has assisted issuer clients with refinancings, infrastructure development, facilities financings and cash flow needs through:

  • Rated and unrated offerings to the municipal bond market through public sales and negotiated underwritings
  • Tax exempt and taxable debt issues
  • Negotiated private bank placements
  • Government lending program placements through the Iowa SRF and USDA Rural Development programs
  • General obligation debt issues
  • Water, sewer, gas, electric and telecommunications utility revenue debt issues
  • Tax increment financing secured debt issues
  • Local option tax secured debt issues

In the arena of economic development, he assists public and private clients with:

  • Structuring and establishment of urban renewal, urban revitalization areas and other special incentive districts
  • Structuring grant, loan and forgivable loan programs
  • Negotiated tax increment financing contracts for commercial, industrial and housing development/redevelopment projects
  • Structuring local government incentive programs for business development through tax increment financing, tax abatement and infrastructure assistance
  • Main street redevelopment incentive programs

On related matters, John advises municipal clients on complex municipal matters, including:

  • Special assessments
  • Public construction contracting
  • Annexations
  • Public real estate disposition
  • Negotiated public/private contracts, including infrastructure development, take or pay arrangements and PILOT payment arrangements

News & Resources


Borrowing Tools for Nuisance Abatement, Cityscape
Critical Changes To Iowa’s Public Bidding Law
SEC Charges School District, the District’s Former Chief Financial Officer and the District’s Auditor with Violations of Federal Securities Laws in a 2018 Bond Offering
SEC Charges School District and the District’s Former Chief Financial Officer with Violations of Securities Laws in a 2018 Bond Offering
CARES ACT Municipal Liquidity Facility
CARES Act Summary for Public Finance
Guidance Regarding Electronic Meetings in Iowa
"Changes to Tax Increment Finance," "Iowa League of Cities Magazine"

News & Press Mentions

200 Dorsey Lawyers Selected for Inclusion in 2024 Best Lawyers in America, Lawyers of the Year, and Ones to Watch
Dorsey Partner John Danos Discussed Urban Revitalization Plans and Tax Abatement Policies at the Lansing City Council
John Danos Discusses Tax Abatement Concept
Louisa County plans for local option sales tax renewal referendum
Dorsey Partner John Danos Discusses Tax Programs for West Liberty
Dorsey Partner John Danos Remarks on Bond Funding for Kum & Go Store
Nine Dorsey Lawyers Selected in Des Moines for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019
Dorsey Partner John Danos Advises Hancock County on Future County Building
Dorsey Partner John Danos Discusses Oskaloosa City Rec Center Agreement
Dorsey Partner John Danos Remarks on Prestage Financing

Legal Writings

  • John is a published contributor to the Iowa League of Cities’ CITYSCAPE Magazine and the Iowa State Association of Counties’ IOWA COUNTY Magazine on topics of economic development, tax increment financing and municipal borrowing.

Select Presentations

  • John is a regular presenter at the Iowa League of Cities annual conference, the Iowa Municipal Clerk’s Institute/Academy, the Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association Convention and other continuing legal education seminars on topics related to on topics of economic development, tax increment financing, municipal debt issues and other complex municipal law topics.

Industries & Practices

  • Banking & Financial Institutions
  • Development & Infrastructure
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Public Finance
  • Public-Private Partnerships

Professional & Civic

Professional Achievements

  • Professional Developers of Iowa
  • Iowa State Bar Association
  • National Association of Bond Lawyers
  • Iowa Municipal Attorneys Association

Community Involvement

  • Member of the Operating Board of Directors for Orchard Place in Des Moines, Iowa


  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America©, 2019-2024
  • “Lawyer of the Year” in Des Moines in Economic Development Law by The Best Lawyers in America, 2024
John P. Danos