ROCKLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -A Massachusetts company that's been trying to develop a lobster processing business in Down East Maine has at least temporarily shut down operations because of financial problems.

Live Lobster has operated lobster buying stations along the coast for a number of years. A company worker told NEWS CENTER he believes Live Lobster bought as much as ten million pounds of lobster last year. The company also bought the former sardine cannery in Prospect Harbor and started a lobster processing plant there. But the company has had repeated financial problems since the plant opened.

Newspaper reports say the bank froze the company's accounts last Friday. The owner of a bait company told NEWS CENTER she is still owed a lot of money.

Live Lobster is owned by Asntonio Bussone of Chelsea, Massachusetts. A company manager in Maine told NEWS CENTER Live Lobster is trying to work out the financial issues and is hoping to reopen later this week.

The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) says it has been working with Live Lobster since July to arrange a loan, but the company hasn't completed the paperwork yet.

FAME officials say they are now talking with the company on a daily basis to see if they can help resolve the financial problems.

Published reports say Live Lobster received $400,000 in grants and loans through the Community Development Block Grant program for the Prospect Harbor facility. And the Department of Marine Resources says the company has also applied for a $250,000 working waterfront grant, but there hasn't been a decision on that request yet.

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