LL bets that Ben Jacobs, the principal owner and chief executive of developer JBG, fancies himself a guy who can play hardball. After all, in order to settle a business dispute with Marriott Corp., he filed a lawsuit against the city that’s held up the long-awaited convention-center hotel project. That’s hardball.

Well, Ben, meet Peter Nickles. He’s not so bad at hardball himself.

Yesterday, Nickles filed suit [PDF] against Jacobs and fellow JBG principal Kenneth Finkelstein, plus a trio of corporate entities, alleging that they have illegally interfered in the hotel’s construction.

The District is suing “in its common law parens patriae capacity to protect the interests and well-being of the citizens of the District of Columbia.” The suit accuses the parties of making “false and frivolous” and “extortionist” challenges to the process in which Marriott was selected to build the hotel in what is termed an “illegal scheme” and a “civil conspiracy.”

How’s that for hardball?