The U.S. Department of Labor has accused a Windham-based business owner of failing to deposit more than $16,000 in employees’ contributions into the company’s now-frozen individual retirement account plan.

In a civil complaint filed Dec. 17 in U.S. District Court in Portland, the Labor Department said Timothy Seavey, president of Seavey’s Furniture & Appliance Inc., failed to send employees’ contributions to the IRA fund from September 2009 to March 2011. The appliance store, also listed as a defendant, is based in Windham and also has a showroom in Scarborough.

In an interview Tuesday, Seavey did not challenge the basic premise of the complaint but said it does not tell the whole story.

“I’m not disputing the facts, other than a couple of details,” he said.

Seavey said the failure to transfer employees’ contributions into the IRA plan was a mix-up caused by someone else, who was in charge of making the payments.

Once the error was discovered, the company was too far behind on its fund payments to catch up, and the recession was in full swing, Seavey said. So instead, he canceled the plan and stopped taking employee contributions.

However, the Labor Department places sole blame for the incident on Seavey.

“Seavey, president and co-owner of the business, was the plan’s sole decision maker and the only individual with authority to transmit payment funds,” it said in a news release.

The lawsuit asks the court to compel Seavey to revive the IRA fund and pay $16,015 into it, along with “any and all losses incurred as a result of breaches of Defendants’ fiduciary duties and the violations they committed or for which they are liable.”

The lawsuit also asks the court to prohibit Seavey from being in charge of any employee benefit plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, also known as ERISA.

ERISA was enacted to protect employee benefit plan participants and their beneficiaries. It sets standards of conduct for the fiduciaries in control of those contributions.

Seavey said he had not heard of the Labor Department lawsuit until he was contacted this week by reporters. He said he had been working with the department on a solution until it cut off talks two years ago.

Seavey said employees have been aware of the IRA mishap since it was discovered, and that he intends to make them whole eventually.

“Promises were made, and I intend on living up to them,” he said.