The St. Petersburg Times reported Sunday the Food Network personality had plans for side-by-side restaurants in the Florida city, but a lawsuit and other headaches have left the planned sites empty.
Local interior designer Susan Nice is the force behind the lawsuit, alleging the "Dinner: Impossible" star reneged on a contract for her to design his two eateries.
Irvine also has become the target of personal attacks arising from his abrupt manner. But his business partner, J. Randall Williams, says such claims have nothing to do with the situation in St. Petersburg.
Williams told the Times Irvine has not attempted to avoid any of his business responsibilities despite numerous false allegations.
"Robert is not interested in avoiding any obligations at all. What I'm trying to do is gather all of these claims and figure out what's real and what's not real, and it's difficult because everyone is claiming to have agreements with Robert," Williams said.