Edgartown attorney Edward W. (Peter) Vincent Jr. is facing legal action after the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals filed suit in superior court, “concerned that Mr. Vincent has absconded with its money.”

At issue is a sum of nearly $200,000 due to the MSPCA from the proceeds of a $950,000 real estate sale in January.

The MSPCA hired Mr. Vincent to handle the sale of a veterinary clinic building and cottage on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, where for 50 years it had operated an animal shelter.

After the sale closed, the MSPCA complaint reads, “instead of promptly transferring the monies to the MSPCA as he was legally and ethically obligated to do, Mr. Vincent waited about two weeks, and then sent only some of the funds.

“MSPCA has not received approximately $200,000 of the sale proceeds which were, and hopefully are, on deposit [in Mr. Vincent’s legal account at the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank].

“There is no basis for Mr. Vincent to withhold such monies and he has evaded multiple requests to remit the balance of the sale proceeds,” the complaint reads.

The lawsuit details how a purchase and sale agreement on the property was executed on Jan. 21 this year, with $44,000 deposited. The balance was delivered to Mr. Vincent, as the MSPCA’s representative, at closing on Feb. 15.

After fees and expenses, the MSPCA expected to receive $940,246 immediately after the closing.

When no money was transferred, MSPCA chief financial office Amy Fredericks e-mailled Mr. Vincent’s daughter and associate, Eve Vincent, to inquire about the transfer of the sale proceeds to MSPCA. According to the complaint, Ms. Vincent did not respond.

After repeated inquiries about the delay, nearly two full weeks after the closing the MSPCA received $750,000 — still $200,000 short of what was expected.

According to the complaint, the MSPCA again called Mr. Vincent’s office to ask about the shortfall; the answer was that remaining funds would be delivered no later than March 7.

The MSPCA filed suit on March 9, when the money still had not been received.

“The circumstances strongly suggest that something is amiss,” the complaint reads. “Under ordinary circumstance, MSPCA would have received the entirety of the sale proceeds ... [but] more than a month has passed, and Mr. Vincent has not appeared to explain himself, and has evaded efforts to contact him.”

Mr. Vincent was unavailable for comment, reportedly overseas. He is a member of the Edgartown conservation commission and the town’s representative to the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission.

Financial concerns at the MSPCA prompted the Boston-based nonprofit to announce in February 2009 it would close the Island shelter. However in May of that year, a public-private partnership opened the Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard at the former MSPCA site, with an open-ended lease with the MSPCA allowing them to rent the building and take over most of the equipment at no cost. One condition was that the building must be used as an animal shelter in perpetuity, and the new facility would no longer receive funding from the MSPCA. The Vineyard animal shelter’s funding comes from donations, contributions from Island towns, and fees generated through services.