REVERE — NECCO’s former CEO is trying to raise $30 million to keep the company from closing.
But a Suffolk University Law School professor said the method to redeem the 171-year-old confectionary company could violate securities laws.
Al Gulachenski, who headed the company, best known for Necco Wafers and Valentine Sweethearts from 2011 to 2015, has posted his request for investors on a GoFundMe page. The crowdfunding platform typically features people raising cash for celebrations and schooling to challenging circumstances such as accidents and illnesses.
He and a group of former employees pledge if they can secure $20 million online, they will donate up to $10 million to right the company.
“I am willing to dedicate myself, along with my team, to saving this historic piece of U.S.A and Boston heritage and preserve the art of candy making and manufacturing jobs in Massachusetts,” Gulachenski wrote. “We did it before, and with your help we will do it again so that the company will last another 100 years.”
Last month, Necco CEO Michael McGee told Mayor Brian Arrigo that if a buyer can’t be found by May 6, he will lay off 395 employees and close the manufacturing plant on American Legion Highway .
McGee did not return a call seeking comment.
Arrigo said he was unaware of the crowdfunding effort.
The GoFundMe appeal asks for cash so he can move the company to a new home in Massachusetts.
“I can promise you that if you donate you will own a piece of NECCO as I will issue shares to everyone that contributes money,” Gulachenski wrote. “This company has been in our backyard for 170 years and it’s time we own it. Let’s save our Necco Wafers and Sweethearts.”
Jeffrey Lipshaw, a Suffolk law professor, said there are so many things wrong with the GoFundMe effort, he didn’t know where to begin.
“I’m puzzled,” he said. “What is a GoFundMe contributor actually buying? And it’s possible that a GoFundMe solicitation constituted an unregistered public offering, which is problematic.”
Gulachenski could not be reached for comment.
At press time, $565 of the $20 million goal has been raised by 14 donors since last week.