A legal fight has broken out between the Marriner family and developer Albert Dadon over an allegedly failed $13.5 million luxury property deal that has potentially put the Marriners' ownership of the former Melbourne Theatre Company building in doubt.
It is another in a series of financial issues for businessman David Marriner, patriarch of the family that runs landmark live entertainment venues the Regent, Princess, Comedy and Forum theatres.
The dispute with Mr Dadon comes as the State Revenue Office is also chasing an unpaid $76,000 land tax bill for the former MTC property on Russell Street, which is next door to the historic Forum Theatre.
Documents filed in the Supreme Court allege that two companies controlled by Mr Marriner defaulted on the purchase of 10 apartments - worth $450,000 to $3.2 million each - in two high-end St Kilda Road residential towers built by Mr Dadon.
The developer is seeking financial damages of $12.4 million, interest and possession orders for the properties used as security, including the former MTC building.
The vacant property at 19-25 Russell Street - bought by Marriner company Forum Theatre Holdings for $3.4 million in 2003 - has long been mooted as a potential residential development site.
Any possession order granted to Mr Dadon is likely to be contested, with state revenue authorities last week petitioning the Supreme Court to liquidate Forum Theatre Holdings over $76,378 in unpaid land tax bills.
"There's no question we've been feuding with the State Revenue Office - we have been for years over the amount of tax they charge - but that bill has been paid. It's been settled," Mr Marriner said.
Control of the Forum Theatre itself is not in doubt, with ownership transferred in 2011 to a separate company, Forum Theatre Investments, which is ultimately owned by Marriner family members Deven, Jason and Kayely.
While Mr Marriner declined to comment on the lawsuit, documents filed by his solicitors argue that Mr Dadon's claims are "deceptive and misleading".
The defence contends a "security swap" agreement was in place that settled any debt by transferring some Queensland properties to Mr Dadon in the event of a default.
The dispute has ended the friendship between Mr Marriner and Mr Dadon, who had also bought into Mr Marriner's failed Laguna Whitsundays resort project.
Mr Dadon, who is overseas, could not be reached for comment.