Owner of JP's Shellfish defends actions in unauthorized purchase of Maine lobsters
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Bangor Daily News] By Stephen Betts - October 20, 2014 -
SPRUCE HEAD ISLAND, Maine, John Price, the owner of JP's Shellfish, was snared in a federal and state probe that began with an allegation that more than $1 million worth of lobsters were stolen from one of Maine's largest cooperatives is scheduled to be sentenced next week.
Robert Thompson of St. George, the former manager of the Spruce Head Fishermen's Cooperative, was arrested and accused of stealing more than $1 million worth of lobsters from members and selling them to Price's business.
Price's attorney, Daniel Mitchell, said, however, the lobsters purchased by Price were side sales that were managed by Thompson on behalf of cooperative members who did not want to sell through the cooperative.
Price's attorney provided a letter from the cooperative in which it states that its disagreement with J.P. Shellfish had been resolved, and it would be willing to do business with Price's company in the future.
Mitchell said Price never tried to hide the side purchases that were initiated by Thompson for cooperative members. He said Price kept records of those purchases and paid taxes on them.
Price had been buying lobsters from the cooperative for 20 years and made the side purchases in years when the supply of the seafood was low and he wanted to meet the demands of his customers. The attorney said Price also agreed to these side sales to keep his relationship with the cooperative smooth...Full Story »