June 22, 2018
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Judge orders former president of Live Lobster to pay Rockland $31,000

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — The former president of Live Lobster Inc. has been ordered to pay Rockland more than $31,000 for use of the city-owned fish pier.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm signed a default judgment on July 9 in Knox County Superior Court against Antonio Bussone of Manchester, Mass., for $31,173 as well as legal costs incurred by the city.

The city filed a lawsuit against Bussone and his company Rockland Lobster Co. LLC, and its predecessor Live Lobster Co. Inc., in November for failing to pay permit fees, storage fees and utilities. He also failed to refill fuel tanks after he left the pier, according to the city’s lawsuit.

Many of Live Lobster’s operations in Maine, including a lobster processing facility in Prospect Harbor where 70 people were once employed, ceased functioning early last year after the company’s primary lender, TD Bank, froze the company’s accounts. In April 2012, TD Bank filed suit against the lobster distributor, claiming the firm violated terms of a 2008 loan agreement for $4 million from the bank. That suit later was dropped, but the bank arranged a foreclosure auction that saw assets sold off in September.

Rockland Lobster ceased doing business at the Rockland pier on or about April 20, 2012.

Rockland City Attorney Kevin Beal had asked the court for the default judgment after Bussone failed to agree to attend a deposition hearing at which time he would have been questioned under oath by Beal. On June 28, Hjelm had given Bussone 10 days to agree to a deposition, which was to be held within 30 days. Bussone failed to comply.

The city attorney said Thursday that the next step will be to file paperwork that eventually would lead to liens being placed on properties Bussone still owns in Massachusetts. Beal acknowledged that the difficult part in cases like this is to collect the money but that, with the city council’s approval, he would proceed with such actions.

The company operated at the pier, selling bait, buying lobsters, using floats and storing equipment, such as bait coolers and pallets, at the pier. The company also used electricity and fuel from the pier.

Bussone could not be reached for comment.

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