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June 27, 2014

Market Basket dispute flares over affiliated club

ANDOVER — The family feud continuing to engulf the Demoulas company that runs the Market Basket supermarket chain flared Thursday through an attempted management change at Indian Ridge Country Club, as well.

Managers of the club — which is owned by Demoulas Super Markets Inc., the family company that owns Market Basket — said they felt the move was a sort of housecleaning to clear out supporters of ousted Demoulas CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.

The Demoulas board of directors apologized for the incident, which unfolded in front of dozens of members and their guests, and said the newly appointed co-CEOs overturned a board decision to replace the general manager and her staff with Newton-based Sterling Golf Management.

“We’re very loyal to Arthur T.,” Cheri Nolan, who has been general manager of Indian Ridge since 2000, said yesterday around 12:30 p.m. “That’s what it is. They’re very vindictive.”

An interview with a reporter was cut short when the managers said a locksmith had arrived to change the locks on the club.

Elizabeth St. Hilaire, the assistant office manager, said that she did not know whether she would have a job at the end of the day.

“I feel as if we’re going to be locked out today,” she said.

Felicia Thornton and James Gooch, the new co-CEOs whom the board appointed after Arthur T. Demoulas’ firing on Monday, arrived at the club around 1 p.m. and met with Nolan for a short time. Afterward, they shook hands outside the clubhouse, and Nolan went back inside as Thornton and Gooch left.

Both executives referred questions to Nolan.

Nolan said Gerard Levins, a Demoulas board member who is loyal to Arthur S. Demoulas, arrived about 8 a.m. with Sterling Golf Management president Kevin Osgood and a real estate attorney telling her that Sterling was taking over and she was to leave.

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