The combative board that runs the Market Basket supermarket chain was back in session Thursday in a meeting that was expected to clarify the future of top executives at the family-owned company.
As of late Thursday, the board of the privately held company, known formally as Demoulas Super Markets Inc., was still in session in Boston, and it was unclear what actions it had taken. Spokesmen for the warring factions were unable to provide updates on the board’s deliberations.
The board met July 18 and adjourned without acting on a motion to remove president Arthur T. Demoulas, who has been accused by his cousin and other relatives of spending money recklessly and ignoring the authority of the company’s directors.
The agenda for Thursday’s meeting contained a reference to an executive search firm as well as items to discuss the company’s profit-sharing plan and legal representation.
A long-simmering family feud over the company’s management burst into public view last month when relatives of Arthur T. Demoulas filed legal papers accusing him of “self-dealing” transactions in which he directed tens of millions of dollars to real estate businesses owned by his wife and brothers-in-law.
They also accused him of running roughshod over the board, among other allegations.
Those relatives, including his first cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, won a court order to hold a meeting to consider Arthur T.’s removal as president. The company’s ownership is split among nine members of the Demoulas family.
The July 18 meeting featured loud protests from Market Basket employees who gathered outside to show support for Arthur T. He had argued that his relatives were motivated to gain greater control of the company in order to pay themselves hundreds of millions of dollars in distributions.
He also said the deals involving his wife and brothers-in-law were fully vetted and cleared by an outside arbiter.
The current board battle is just the latest in a two-decade war over the Massachusetts-based supermarket chain, which last year recorded net income of $217 million on $4 billion in revenue.
In the 1990s, Arthur T.’s father, Telemachus Demoulas, lost a massive fraud lawsuit in which he was found liable for stealing the ownership shares of his brother’s family members, including Arthur S. Demoulas. At the time, Arthur T. was found to have engaged in the wrongdoing by improperly transferring company assets to business entities controlled by his side of the family.
Although his side lost the legal fight, Arthur T. has retained control of company operations because one member of Arthur S.’s side of the family voted with him in board elections.
But in early June, that relative, Rafaele Evans, switched sides and supported candidates backed by Arthur S., giving him control of the board.
That set off a quick chain of events — culminating in Arthur S. and others winning the court order to hold a special meeting to consider Arthur T’s firing and other management changes.
Casey Ross can be reached at email@example.com.