When IRIS, the private intelligence network, suddenly collapsed into bankruptcy last month, the company owed creditors more than $4 million and had just committed itself to moving into spacious new quarters in Crystal City that would have cost $102,000 a month, according to papers filed with the federal bankruptcy court in Alexandria.
IRIS, an acronym for International Reporting Information Systems, owed money to 95 employes, scores of associates around the world and dozens of businesses around the Washington area.
The list of unpaid bills rolled up in IRIS's brief life reveals the scope of its once-ambitious plans to provide computerized international data and analysis to upper-bracket clients. It includes the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, The New York Times' stringer in Beirut, and journalists and bankers in Morocco, France, England, Brazil, Thailand, Mexico, South Africa and several other countries.
Locally, the list of creditors reads like a who's who and where's where of the Washington establishment: the law firm of Arnold & Porter, Robert Gray's public relations agency, the Four Seasons Hotel, Larimer's caterers, the Washington Squash Racquets Club, political analyst Alan Baron, and former ambassadors James Akins, Viron Vaky and Paul Boeker. Boeker is IRIS's former senior vice president.
IRIS's bankruptcy petition was filed under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy law, which permits a corporation to keep operating while it seeks an arrangement with its creditors.
However, very little remains of the organization that Boeker and his associates built. He and all the other senior employes except President D. Barry Kelly have left, and most are listed as creditors. Kelly did not return telephone calls last week.
IRIS's product barely had gone on the market before the European investors who bankrolled its development pulled the plug. It was information obtained from a variety of official and unofficial sources throughout the world, organized and processed through a multilingual computer.
Any attempt to revive the company would require holding on to its computer network, but the bankruptcy papers show that the company owes $693,458 to its computer supplier, the Washington regional office of the Burroughs Corp. Burroughs is by far the largest unsecured creditor, but IRIS also owes well over $200,000 to other suppliers of computer equipment.
The list of major unsecured creditors includes Gray's public relations agency, to which IRIS owes $59,676; Arnold & Porter, $32,876; Reuter news agency, $26,667; the C&P Telephone Co. of Virginia, $23,126; Charles G. Stott & Co., office supplies, $33,174; and Dimensions Travel Agency, Bethesda, $14,890.
According to bankruptcy papers, IRIS has assets valued at $4,041,000, but these are not itemized. The firm's local bankruptcy lawyer, Gregory J. Miner of Arlington, has asked the court for an extension, until March 17, for filing a detailed list of assets and debts.