The president and CEO of Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc. says its dailies in Portland, Augusta and Waterville may be shut down if its parent company winds up in default and its Maine assets cannot be sold.

In an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court, Charles Cochrane said Blethen Maine and The Seattle Times Co. face severe financial problems that threaten their ability to pay lenders and meet financial convenants.

Cochrane said that without a sale, Blethen Maine could have to be dismantled, putting employees out of work and resulting in the loss of three newspapers.

The filing was made in a lawsuit that asks whether a buyer of Blethen Maine assets must abide by its union contract.