Demoulas cousins continue the battle
One side wants to maintain its business plan for the highly successful company with 22,000 employees and 71 stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire; the other wants $300 million in dividends to be distributed to the nine wealthy family shareholders and to establish a line of credit (the company is debt-free). It also wants its popular president fired.
Arthur S., his cousin contends, was behind the move to have him booted out as president. The move backfired, however, when hundreds of employees lined the streets of Andover, Mass., on the day of the board meeting in support of the popular company executive.
The next board meeting is slated for Thursday, Sept. 19, the same day a hearing is set for the lawsuit filed in Suffolk County Superior Court.
The $4 billion company has no debt, according to the lawsuit. Arthur T. contends distributing $300 million, along with establishing a line of credit, could slow the company's growth and affect the employees' profit sharing plan.
According to the lawsuit, a court order requires both sides of the Demoulas family to select two directors each to the seven-member board. The other three non-family directors must be "disinterested" and "independent" of the others.
He contends his cousin violated that order by orchestrating the election of Keith O. Cowan, formerly one of the Arthur S. Demoulas' designated family directors on the board, to a position as a "disinterested" director. "Seeking to control another seat, the defendants simply rebranded him 'disinterested,'" and voted him on to one of the seats, said Arthur T.. Then, Arthur S. replaced Cowan as one of his family's directors on the board.
Arthur T. contends Cowan is biased in favor of the Arthur S. Demoulas' shareholders and should not be allowed to remain as a "disinterested" director.
At the July 18 board meeting, Cowan was nominated by Arthur S. and was made "interim" chairman.
Cowan said then it was his belief that "it is incumbent on the board to help shareholders find the path to liquidity if that is the desire of the shareholders."
"Arthur S. Demoulas showed little doubt that with the board reconstituted, his vengeance was at hand," Arthur T. alleged in the lawsuit.
The court documents included a copy of the agenda calling for his cousin's firing.
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