Politician Leading Boycott Took Donation From Ousted Market Basket Leader

7/21/2014 - Tewksbury, MA - Massachusetts State Senator Barry Finegold, cq, addressed the thousands of Market Basket employees, former employees, customers and supporters who rallied in Tewksbury, MA on Monday morning, July 21, 2014 to protest the ouster of former Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. Speakers inlcuded recently fired employees and local politicians among others. Story by Erin Ailworth/Globe Staff. Dina Rudick/Globe Staff.
Massachusetts State Senator Barry Finegold addressed the thousands of Market Basket employees, former employees, customers and supporters who rallied in Tewksbury on Monday morning.
Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

State Senator Barry Finegold, who has led the effort at the State House level to boycott Market Basket, received a $500 donation in May for his candidacy for treasurer from former Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.

Demoulas also donated $500 to Finegold last summer, as did his wife, Maureen, state records show.

Finegold, a Democrat from Andover, penned a letter last weekend that has since been signed by dozens of state lawmakers calling for a boycott of Market Basket. He spoke at a rally Monday in support of employees, who have been protesting in a call for Demoulas’s return to the Market Basket corner office.

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He tells Boston.com that his support for the employee movement has nothing to do with the donation.

“I have two warehouses, four stores, and hundreds of workers (in my district,)” Finegold says. “What I’m doing is because of the workers. ... I’m standing with them.”

Finegold says he is “not that close” with Demoulas. The check was dated May 28. It was reported to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance on June 23, the same day Demoulas was fired, but that would appear to be coincidental.

Arthur T. has not donated to any other state-level politicians in 2014, according to the most recent records.

An Albert Demoulas donated $500 to Republican Charles Baker’s campaign for governor earlier this year, records show. That filing comes from the same address as the business of Arthur S. Demoulas, Arthur T.’s rival (read more about the history here), which is the same address from which Arthur S. has previously sent political donations. The state has sent a letter asking for clarification on that donation, as Albert Demoulas did not list his profession. Earlier this week Baker told Boston.com:

“I admire the employees for letting their voices be heard. At the same time, Market Basket is a private company and so we can only hope that an amicable resolution, protecting the jobs of everyone involved, can be found quickly so that their workers can continue to be proud to work there.”

Employees and supporters plan to rally again on Friday at one of the chain’s Tewksbury stores. Arthur T. says he has made an offer to buy the shares of the company he does not already control from Arthur S.’s side of the family.