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Battle lines drawn in $10 mil Ministry suit

Producer Vance claims partner Mruvka kept her out of financial loop

Producer Marilyn Vance has sued her partner, Alan Mruvka, in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that he diverted assets from their production company, the Ministry of Film Inc.

Vance seeks at least $10 million in damages, including unspecified punitive damages, and an accounting for alleged wrongdoing that, she maintains in the suit, caused Vance to have “received virtually no income from the Ministry” despite the company’s successes with cable series, including USA Network’s “Pacific Blue.”

In the suit Vance alleges that Alan Mruvka failed to carry out promises to capitalize Ministry; that the company purchased real estate without giving Vance the option of part-ownership; and that Mruvka and his father, Murray (who does not hold a position at Ministry), seized control of the company’s board of directors in violation of Vance’s rights as 50% owner and opened bank accounts that did not list her as a signatory.

Alan Mruvka told Daily Variety that due to ill health, Vance has not been active in the company since 1996.

‘Jane’ pain

In her suit Vance also claims that the terms of a loan Murray Mruvka provided to fund the film “Jane” caused Ministry a loss of $1 million.

Alan Mruvka said that Vance’s dispute centers on his insistence that their company repay the loan when “Jane” failed. “Marilyn and I had a fundamental disagreement,” said Mruvka. “I said Ministry has to pay its debts, Marilyn disagreed and wanted the money for herself. This lawsuit is the result.”

Suit also lists as defendants all three of the Ministry’s attorneys, Martin Barab, Robert Wyman and Philip Levy, for allegedly aiding the Mruvkas without making disclosures to Vance.

Vance’s credits as a producer include action films “Timecop” and “The Getaway” and last year’s drama “Digging to China” (which she produced with Mruvka). Alan Mruvka, founder of E! Entertainment Television, is also currently CEO of Filmtown Intl.

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