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Loupe’s attorney, Karl Dix Jr. in Atlanta, added that his client is attempting to directly resolve the claims of more than 20 subcontractors, while BP is negotiating directly with approximately 20 subcontractors on its own.

“We are working through these issues cooperatively with BP,” Mr. Dix said. “This was an emergency contract, and anytime you have an emergency contract, these issues take time.”

In nearby Plaquemines Parish, other contractors are facing equally complex negotiations.

The DRC Group, a company based in Mobile, Ala., was until recently managing more than 480 vessels and 750 fishermen, oystermen and trained oil-response technicians to deal with the BP spill. Plaquemines Parish President William Harold “Billy” Nungesser said BP severed its contract with DRC last week, which he described as a “good local participant, whose name is now getting dragged through the mud down here.”

Mr. Nungesser, whose parish suffered a majority of the damage from the spill, said he thinks DRC is owed more than $50 million, though estimates from other sources say the figure is closer to $80 million. Those sources say DRC has maxed out its credit line to pay subcontractors, but was forced to suspend payroll payments to some of its most highly paid employees two weeks ago.

“BP promised to leave ample assets to do the job, and I wish I could say I have confidence in them, but I do not,” Mr. Nungesser said.

Robert Isakson, managing director of the DRC Group, said the company has “paid the hundreds of fishermen and women, oystermen, shrimpers and citizens who worked on the oil-spill response millions of dollars each week from our own funds.”

“Recently, we advised BP that we would no longer fund its cleanup operation without continual reimbursement,” he said. “We are in negotiations with BP for them to pay us the funds due for work we performed.”

Mr. Isakson said BP asked DRC to meet on Monday in Houston to resolve the past-due payments, “and we plan to do that.”

George Touart, of Golden Professional Solutions (GPS) in Pensacola, Fla., said BP hasn’t exactly told him they are not going to pay what they owe, but then they haven’t paid him since June. GPS entered into a teaming agreement with another company that subcontracted from one of BP’s top-tier contractors, he said, but his firm advanced the costs of buses, trailers and training for removal workers.

Though GPS’ labor costs were paid by another BP contractor, Mr. Touart said his company is owed more than $500,000 for the costs his firm advanced.

“Neither BP nor its top-tier contractor has paid me a damn dime since June,” he said. “We’re a small company, and it’s not right to treat us this way, when we worked seven days a week, 24 hours a day.”

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, in charge of the government’s response to the spill, has publicly noted that in addition to its contractual obligations, BP PLC has a duty to shareholders not to spend too much.

But senior government scientist Bill Lehr of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told reporters recently that once officials realized the spill was much larger than estimated, oil-response staff was “given a blank check.”

“This thing continues to snowball,” said Mr. Nungesser, speculating that negotiations would not be resolved soon. “I get 50 phone calls a day, from the fuel guy to the fisherman.”