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Former officials sue lawyers in 38 Studios case

July 8, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Two former Economic Development Corp. officials involved in Rhode Island’s backing of the now-defunct 38 Studios have sued the lawyers who represented the agency in its failed $75 million state loan guarantee.

The lawsuit is the latest in the ongoing legal battle involving the video game company started by former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and declared bankrupt in 2012.

Keith Stokes and Michael Saul were the executive director and deputy director of the EDC, now known as the Rhode Island Commerce Corp. They sued Antonio Afonso and his firm Moses Afonso Ryan last week, as well as lawyer Robert Stolzman and his firm Adler Pollock & Sheehan.

Stokes and Saul allege legal malpractice, saying the lawyers gave them bad legal advice that they relied on as the agency struck the deal with 38 Studios.

The two former officials also are among many parties, including Schilling, being sued by the EDC.

In a Tuesday hearing, lawyers for the EDC and Afonso said they believed the new lawsuit was meant to derail a settlement reached last month in the legal dispute. Lawyers for Stokes and Saul denied that allegation.

The EDC agreed to the $4.4 million settlement with Afonso and his law firm, which worked on the bond sale. It still must be approved by the court.

Several defendants on Monday filed objections to the settlement, including Stokes, Saul, Wells Fargo Securities, which worked on the bond, and First Southwest, which acted as financial adviser. They argue that the way in which the settlement was structured is unconstitutional and violates due process.

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