AUGUSTA — A bank holding a $4.8 million mortgage on Associated Grocers of Maine wants that firm’s dismantling to stop — at least until the bank gets a day in court.

The appointment of a receiver to close down the Gardiner-based Associated Grocers of Maine cooperative happened too fast and without proper notice to Camden National Bank, maintains the bank’s attorney, George Marcus, in documents filed Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Camden National Bank asks a judge to vacate that order and schedule an emergency hearing in the case.

A judge In Kennebec County on April 26 appointed James C. Ebbert as a receiver to “wind up” the 57-year-old grocery distribution cooperative, which is also $6 million in debt to Savings Bank of Maine.

That court action was requested by Savings Bank of Maine and supported by Associated Grocers of Maine.

The filing listed Camden National Bank as a “party-in-interest,” but did not indicate whether that bank was notified.

A letter from attorney Michael Hodgins, representing Savings Bank of Maine, stated that “since this matter involves perishable food inventory, it is imperative that this … be presented to the court as soon as possible.”

Justice Robert Murray approved the order the same day it was requested.

Murray was presiding in Bangor on Tuesday, and he was notified about Camden National Bank’s filing. However, nothing was scheduled.

Camden National Bank says it is entitled to be heard immediately on the merits of the receiver appointment. “Each day that passes increases the risk that CNB’s collateral will be sold,” the complaint says.

It also says “certain of the allegations upon which the receiver order is premised are factually erroneous,” and that Camden National Bank has “first priority lien” on machinery and equipment and that Savings Bank of Maine’s interest is secondary.

Meanwhile, the dismantling has already started.

Deliveries of cigarettes and tobacco were halted last Thursday. The regular customers, all independent grocers, were advised by Ebbert to find alternate suppliers.

And many of the 141 workers who will lose their jobs have been attending meetings organized by the state Department of Labor and the Teamsters union to learn about unemployment benefits.

Daniel Walsh, business agent for Teamsters Local 340, which covered 72 warehouse workers and drivers and maintenance personnel at Associated Grocers of Maine, said Tuesday that many of them were still employed; however, he said the second shift was laid off as of Tuesday.

He also said the Teamsters’ attorney was talking to the bank’s attorney about severance, back wages and vacation pay for the workers. He said the union local was concerned that payments be made to health and pension funds.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]