Rhode Island Lawmakers Questioned In Ongoing 38 Studios Case

by Harry Mackin on Jul 07, 2014 at 01:02 PM

As part of the ongoing investigation into former baseball player Curt Schilling’s bankrupt company 38 Studios, state police officers have begun interviewing lawmakers involved with the vote for the loan guaranty program that gave $75 million in a state-backed loan to 38 Studios.

The investigation into 38 Studios began in 2012, when the Kingdoms of Amalur developer filed for bankruptcy, and failed to repay the loan it borrowed from the state of Rhode Island with the approval of the former Economic Development Corp. This left the taxpayers of Rhode Island responsible for a more than $89 million dollar debt. The Rhode Island Economic Development Committee responded by suing 38 Studios, saying it misled the State during the loan process.

Earlier this year, Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee successfully signed a bill which would help the state reach a settlement in the case. The investigation was stalled, however, when Rhode Island state Senator James Sheehan was unable to gain access to depositions and exhibits relating to the lawsuit against 38 Studios.

Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello was interviewed by State police about "certain individuals" related to the passing of the vote that allowed 38 Studios to receive the loan via the loan guaranty program. Mattiello spoke with an investigator over the phone for about 10 minutes and told them he had no knowledge at the time that the loan guaranty program was going to be used to support 38 Studios. Mattiello was one of several law makers involved with the job creation plan contacted.

State police head Col. Steven O' Donnell went on record when the reports that lawmakers would be interviewed first came to light that no one contacted is suspected of wrong doing "because of their vote." Mattiello said he was not a target of the investigation.

[Source: Providence Journal and WPRI 12 Eye Witness News via Polygon]


Our Take
It is tricky and often unfair to speculate too far in cases like this, especially when the investigation still seems to be fully in-process and we are without many important details. Still, it's interesting that Rhode Island lawmakers themselves are being contacted. Whether this is just a procedural step in the legal process, a means of circumventing road blocks put up in other parts of the investigation, points to a new element of the case, or is unrelated directly at all, remains to be seen. It seems amazing that so much of this story can keep unfolding, and if this is any indication, there may be a lot more to it that we don't know. Hopefully Rhode Island will resolve this soon and everything will become clear, but I wouldn't hold my breath.