By BRIAN MESSENGER
ANDOVER — A boisterous crowd of Market Basket employees gathered outside the Wyndham Hotel this morning ahead of a vote whether to oust the supermarket chain's CEO, Arthur T, Demoulas.
The chain's Board of Directors was set to consider replacing the current CEO with his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas. Some directors accuse Arthur T. Demoulas of ignoring the board's directives and misspending money.
Supporters of Arthur T. Demoulas say prices will rise and employees won't be treated as well if Arthur S. Demoulas takes over.
Hundreds and hundreds of people — as many as 2,000 by one estimate — lined the road leading to the hotel and packed the parking lot, holding signs and chanting "Artie T! Artie T!" Signs read "People Before Profits" and "Artie S. = Greed."
The crowd gave Arthur T. Demoulas a rock star's reception when he arrived just before 9:30 a.m. driven in a silver Mercury sedan that moved slowly through the sea of supporters mobbing the car and reaching to shake the CEO's hand.
A convoy of Market Basket trucks, meanwhile, made a continuous loop on Interstate 93, honking horns each time they passed the hotel, which is on Old River Road, parallel to I-93.
Andover police closed the road shortly before 9 when there was no room left for cars.