Auckland's downtown promotion agency has begun legal action against its former long-standing chief executive Alex Swney, who is already facing tax evasion charges.
Heart of the City chair Terry Gould said it had also obtained an interim court order freezing assets.
Mr Swney was sacked at the end of September after name suppression was lifted and it was revealed he was facing 39 charges for tax evasion, brought by Inland Revenue. He denies the charges.
The agency said at the time Mr Swney had told it that some of the tax issues related to fictitious invoicing to Heart of the City.
Mr Gould said civil proceedings against Mr Swney and associated entities had started in the High Court.
The move followed an independent investigation into the agency's finances, carried out by consultants McGrath Nicol.