A federal lawsuit is alleging that the former owners of a Trenton lobster wholesaler violated an agreement to leave the business and instead stole $1.94 million from the new owners.

The suit, filed in Bangor federal district court, said that the Maine Lobstering Union bought a wholesaling business in Trenton from Anthony and Josette Pettegrow in early 2017. The purchase included an agreement that the Pettegrows would withdraw from the wholesale lobster business and that the couple’s son, Warren Pettegrow, would become CEO of the new cooperative, Lobster 207.

The Maine Lobstering Union is owned by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the same union that represents workers at Bath Iron Works.

The civil suit said that after Warren Pettegrow became CEO of Lobster 207 he and his parents embarked “on a systematic scheme and pattern of racketeering activity designed to enrich themselves at Lobster 207’s expense.”

According to the suit, the Pettegrows charged Lobster 207 more for lobster than it paid and pocketed the difference, submitted bogus invoices for lobster, misrepresented the number of lobster crates the cooperative bought from the Pettegrows’ wholesale business and other misdeeds.

Over a two-year period, the suit said, Lobster 207 “paid Warren (Pettegrow) $374,623.54 when he did little more than embezzle money and lobster products from the union and its membership.”

The suit and a request for an attachment of the Pettegrows’ assets indicates that the cooperative believes it lost $1.94 million. Because the suit alleges racketeering, the cooperative can seek triple damages from the Pettegrows.

A call to the Pettegrows seeking an interview about the suit was not returned Thursday. The suit does not list an attorney representing the couple or their son. Thimi Mina, one of the lawyers representing the union, declined to comment.

Comments are no longer available on this story