Coffee Empire’s Feud on Family Trust Boiling Up
June 12 - 2021
Coffee Geography Magazine
Valmorbida family is known for investing more than three decades building Lavazza as a household name until it has struck a deal to relinquish control of the Italian coffee brand to its founding family in 2015. The agreement was shrouded in secrecy but it closes a chapter on a journey that dates back to the late 1970s, when patriarch Carlo Valmorbida imported Lavazza coffee to Australia for the first time.
Currently, Valmorbida’s empire worth reached $500million listed on AFR rich report.
A legal dispute over a family trust that puts family patriarch Mariano Valmorbida against his late son Adrian Valmorbida’s widow Kairu “Erica” Chan brought him to the media spotlight. His son, Adrian was a flashy property developer with a taste for Ferarris, who tragically died in 2016 from cancer. He is remembered in 1998 when he wanted to move his $100,000 Ferrari Dino by hiring a crane to move the super car into his eight-floor penthouse bedroom near the Queen Victoria Market, in Australia.
In 2014, Adrian sold his before moving back to Melbourne.
It was part of a consortium that sold the Southbank site , the nation's second-tallest completed for more than $42 million in 2014
Adrian and his father Mariano were close, but court documents show Mariano’s relationship with Ms Chan quickly soured after Adrian’s death, when, in 2017, the pair battled over Adrian’s half of a Toorak property worth an estimated $2 million.
Adrian left Chan and their two school-age daughters, Xuan and Ruowei as beneficiaries of various trusts, one of which has had an income in excess of $17 million since 2014.
The year before he died, Valmorbida and his father Mariano incorporated Valmorbida Custodians Pty Ltd.
Supreme Court documents published exposed a new dispute, in which Ms Chan alleges Mariano redirected millions of dollars of income from trusts she received from her husband's estate, putting in limbo a multimillion-dollar project to build a family home in South Yarra.
Ms Chan alleges that following Adrian's death, Mariano took control of the bulk of the trusts she inherited, leading to Bendigo Bank halting a $6.5 million loan to build her family home.
Now things have stepped up a notch after Chan brought a fresh claim in Victoria’s Supreme Court. Chan, represented by Arnold Bloch Leibler’s Susanna Ford and Leon Zwier, has brought a claim in the Victorian Supreme Court against Mariano, represented by Richard Mereine at HWL Ebsworth, to amend the VCPL constitution or wind up the company.