The fallacy behind Confitería Boston, icon of the croissants of Mar del Plata

At the end of 2016, after stealth negotiations, the traditional Boston Confectionery passed into the hands of a business group that with great fanfare made an announcement that was pure ambition: its famous, sublime medialunas, symbol of Mar del Plata, were to be known in the world.

The energetic expansion plan, said the new owners, it included the opening of 100 stores throughout the country and a presence in countries in Europe and Latin America, all within a period of five years. But it soon became known that everything was a fallacy, part of a maneuver that the Justice left in evidence and now imputed those responsible.

The plan, apparently, consisted of carrying out “a non-improvised sequence of steps” and thus causing the emptying of the company and direct her towards a fraudulent bankruptcy. Fortunately, two locals resisted the onslaught and the pastries that made the confectionery famous can still be enjoyed on these beaches.

The Justice of Economic Crimes of Mar del Plata charged by “fraudulent bankruptcy, fraud aggravated by company divestiture, and fraudulent insolvency“to the historical owners of the firm and the entrepreneurs who bought it. All of them must give an investigatory statement between March 8 and 11 next and are prohibited from leaving the country.

The accusation was made by the prosecutor David Bruna and falls on the last owners of the Boston, the brothers Juan Manuel and Pablo Lotero and the Austrians Carl Ludwig and Aston Schonfeldt, who had bought it from the historic shareholders of the firm Pastelera Tecomar SA, Osvaldo Amado, Teresa Haydeé Castro and her sister Marta Delia Castro, and Clemente Fermín Herrera.

“The original owners of ‘La Boston’, who sold their shares in November 2016 -the company is already in a state of default- get rid of the problem of the company, keeping the produced -or part of the produced- of the most valuable asset, thus contributing to the maneuver that is later deepened by the new shareholders and with the non-improvised sequence of steps that they were carrying out, “said the prosecutor.

The confectionery was managed by Amado and Herrera, second generation of the owner family. It had been founded in 1958 by Fernando Álvarez and Miguel Potrone. On November 9, 2016, after months of negotiations and through a million-dollar operation, the Lotero brothers and the Austrian Carl Schonfeldt, in charge of an investment fund with legs in Chile and Austria, took over the firm. The bombastic announcements were immediately known.

The Boston Confectionery, founded in 1958. Photo Clarn Archive.

At that time the firm had four stores in the city, on Boulevard Marítimo and Urquiza; on Constitución and Pedraza avenues; in the Paseo Diagonal shopping mall and the oldest, in Buenos Aires 1927, in front of the casino building.

Contrary to what the owners had announced even in a presentation before the then mayor Fernando Arroyo, instead of hiring they started laying off employees, applied changes in the operation of the company, modified menus, the way of making coffee and even They got their hands on the recipe for the exclusive croissants, among other products that distinguish the Boston.

In 2017, the new firm began to fall behind in salaries, made staggered payments, delayed payments to suppliers and the famous croissants were now also sold, at 50%, in the Xocolata bakeries, owned by Juan Manuel Lotero.

In April 2018, employees who had not received their salaries for months took over the premises of Buenos Aires Street and the coast. There was a momentary solution, but last May, the payments did not appear and the taking was resumed. The unjustified dismissals did not stop. The workers were evicted in January 2019 by court order.

The investigation into Economic Crimes began with a complaint made by Gabriel Norberto, attorney for the Alfajoreros, Reposteros, Pizzeros and Ice Cream Workers Union (STARPyH), who warned about the insolvency acts that Pastelera Tecomar had been committing to the detriment of its creditors and its employees.

Later, the lawyer for the Gastronomic Union, Osvaldo Verdi, criminally denounced the Lotero brothers and the other businessmen for the crime of “fraudulent bankruptcy, fraud aggravated by company emptying, and fraudulent insolvency, all in ideal bankruptcy”, A crime that the prosecutor Bruna now imputed to them and that has a sentence of up to six years in prison.

In fact, in January 2018, the businessmen sold two stores, one of them for $ 500,000, a value below that set by the market, but that money was not recorded as income to society. Then they put the rest up for sale.

“With the decision of the sale, the company is insolvent, but the income is not left in the entity. That is, the company initiates the judicial process that has the sole purpose of reaching the liquidation by bankruptcy without the main assets” Bruna.

According to the same accusation, the defendants “did not justify” owning the “Confitería Boston” brand. Thus, on March 23, 2018, when the bankruptcy was already open, it had been acquired by the company Compañía Latinoamericana de Pastas (one of the shareholders of Pastelera Tecomar SA) from the hands of the previous shareholders.

That is to say, The previous owners had bought the brand again and, months later, sold it to another company.

In mid-2020, the head of Civil and Commercial Court No. 16, Sara Gunsberg, ordered the “bankruptcy with employment continuity” of the Boston confectionery and allowed the workers to continue with their activities in those of Buenos Aires street and the Constitution Avenue, which survived the emptying.

The employees did not lower their arms and the best crescent, six decades after its creation, continues to be a symbol and flavor of Mar del Plata.

EMJ

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