Rhode Island Republican Gubernatorial candidate Ken Block is telling the state's legislative leaders to "reject calls to repay the 38 Studios bonds."
"The latest version of the debate is once again boiling down to who deserves to be protected—38 Studios bondholders or the taxpayers of Rhode Island," Block said Monday.
An independent analyst who looked at the Rhode Island 38 Studios loan repayment plan said that defaulting on the debt related to the $75 million loan plus other penalties and interest would damage Rhode Island's bond rating to junk status and could harm the state's overall business climate.
The report from Minnesota-based SJ Advisors said that defaulting on the loan would bring increased borrowing costs and harm to the state's reputation, and could lead to a "contagion effect impacting other Rhode Island issuers and even taint the business environment."
Defendants in the EDC's lawsuit against 38 Studios say that Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee's office has continually delayed the production of documents needed to mount a proper defense and have asked a judge to order them turned over.
Lawyers for the defendants call these documents critical to their cases and say they are needed to go forward with the depositions. They want Judge Michael Silverstein to order them produced by May 23. Governor Chafee's office has not yet filed a response.
Richard Licht, director of the R.I. Department of Administration for Gov. Lincoln Chafee, said that he met with Michael Corso twice to talk about getting 38 Studios tax credits. Corso is an attorney who signed a $300,000 contract with Curt Schilling's game development company to lobby government officials in the state.
As expected the failed 38 Studios loan deal is a major issue in Rhode Island's election campaigns and primary challenges. Even as the Secretary of State is making headlines this week for launching an investigation into possible lobbying violations by 38 Studios, critics of Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin on Tuesday jumped on the news by pointing out that both politicians dropped the ball during the loan deal approval timeframe.
Rhode Island State Representative Michael Chippendale (R-Coventry) claims that he has received a death threat against himself and his family for investigating 38 Studios. Chippendale, the secretary for the House Oversight Committee investigating the failed $75 million loan deal for Curt Schilling's 38 Studios, said that he received a threatening letter at his State House office.
"It basically said that I have a beautiful family and I should stop poking around for their sake,” said Chippendale.
A news report on 38 Studios' alleged lobbying of the Rhode Island government prior to its $75 million loan deal in the state has sparked an investigation through the Rhode Island Secretary of State's office, according to WPRI.
Rhode Island State Representative Mike Chippendale, who is also the Senior Deputy Minority Leader and Secretary of House Oversight, has requested that Michael Corso and Sean Esten appear before the Oversight Committee regarding the 38 Studios bond approval deal. The request is for a voluntary appearance before the committee and not a subpoena. Corso's testimony is sought after because he served as lawyer and consultant for 38 Studios, while Esten is a former Financial Portfolio Manager for the RI Economic Development Corporation.
The Rhode Island House Oversight Committee has written a letter to former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling asking him to testify before the committee as it continues its review of the $75 million loan deal that lured his video game company to the state. Chairwoman Karen MacBeth (D-Cumberland) told the Daily Journal on Wednesday that her office sent letters out last week to six other individuals she hopes will come before the panel in May.
Members of the Rhode Island House Oversight Committee said during a hearing on Thursday that they want to hear from former Red Sox pitcher and 38 Studios founder Curt Schilling and ex-Speaker of the House Gordon Fox as part of their ongoing review of the state's deal to lure 38 Studios from Massachusetts to Rhode Island with a $75 million loan guarantee.
The new chairwoman of the House committee that has been looking into the failed 38 Studios deal is holding her first hearing today, according to the Associated Press. Oversight Chairwoman Karen MacBeth has scheduled a hearing later today on issues related to the state’s lawsuit against former Redsox pitcher Curt Schilling and other executives at the now-bankrupt 38 Studios.
Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Ken Block (R) is as pleased as punch that newly-appointed House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has appointed two long-time critics of the 38 Studios loan to leadership positions in the House Oversight Committee.
"They both have records of standing up to the political establishment and fighting against the back room corruption of the 38 Studios deal," Block said of Reps. Karen MacBeth, the new chairwoman, and Spencer Dickinson, the new vice-chairman.
The new Rhode Island Speaker of the House, Nicholas Mattiello, says that he is hopeful that it will not be necessary to subpoena witnesses who were in some way involved in the 38 Studios loan guarantee, the Providence Journal reports.
The new chairwoman of the Rhode Island House Oversight Committee said that she wants to issue subpoenas to key figures in the 38 Studios deal including former House Speaker Gordon Fox. Rep. Karen MacBeth (D-Cumberland) said the committee could also seek to subpoena former House Finance Chairman Steven Costantino, as well as current and former employees of the Economic Development Corp.
MacBeth has been a vocal critic of the deal for quite some time and pushed hard to avoid paying back money owed on bonds related to the 38 Studios loan.
The Rhode Island Economic Development Agency (formerly the Economic Development Corp.) has scheduled a special meeting about its lawsuit against 38 Studios next Monday, according to the Associated Press.
While California State Senator Leland Yee (outspoken anti-video game crusader and author of the 2005 California video game law that was inevitability struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010) is getting a lot of press at the moment for being arrested by the FBI for alleged bribery and corruption, he is not the only state senator connected loosely with the video game industry in trouble this week.
The Providence Journal reports that the state of Rhode Island has hired Steven J. Johnson of SJ Advisors to study the potential impact of defaulting on the bonds related to the $75 million 38 Studios loan. Rhode Island lawmakers earmarked $50,000 in the current fiscal budget to study the potential financial impact that might occur if the state defaults on the loan guarantee greenlit by the RI Economic Development Corp.
At the end of February we reported that Rhode Island State Senator James C. Sheehan planned to seek access to depositions and documents related to the state's court case against Curt Schilling's 38 Studios.
It looks like Maureen Gurghigian, a senior vice president for the Lincoln office of financial firm First Southwest, will have to undergo more questioning in the ongoing lawsuit between Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (formerly known as the RI Economic Development Corp., or EDC) and bankrupt game developer 38 Studios, according to the Providence Journal.
Rhode Island State Senator James C. Sheehan released a statement announcing that, as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Oversight, he has formally requested that the committee be provided with copies of all documents (depositions and exhibits) relating to the civil lawsuit against 38 Studios.
Columnist Russell J. Moore (clearly not a fan of Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee and his Director of Administration) says in a new column that Richard Licht, the governor's Director of Administration, finally admitted publicly that the Governor's office "wasn't watching 38 Studios" after the Economic Development Corp. greenlit a $75 million loan and before it eventually defaulted on that loan and went bankrupt.
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee has quickly signed into law a bill that was passed yesterday in the RI House (and earlier in the week in the RI Senate) that will make it easier for the state to settle its lawsuit with 38 Studios and principles involved in the $75 million loan guarantee that enticed Curt Schilling to move his game development studio to Providence in 2010.
The Rhode Island House has approved a bill that will make it easier for the state to settle its lawsuit with Curt Schilling, other executives from 38 Studios, and others involved in the deal that could end up costing the state upwards of $100 - $110 million in the long-term. The RI Senate approved its own version of the bill earlier this month. With both houses of the State Assembly passing the bill, there's no doubt that Governor Lincoln Chafee will sign it into law the minute it crosses his desk (his administration pushed the legislature to pass the bill as quickly as possible).
According to a Go Local Providence report, one of the defining issues in the campaign that could hurt Rhode Island Attorney General (D) Peter F. Kilmartin is the 38 Studios loan deal, which he voted for while in the General Assembly.
Adding a new complication to the case for the state of Rhode Island in its lawsuit against former Red Sox pitcher and 38 Studios founder Curt Schilling is news today that he has been diagnosed with cancer. Schilling, who is now serving as an on-air sports analyst for ESPN, told the network about his condition today, though he did not go into any detail about what kind of cancer he has.