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Rhode Island House reopens hearings into 38 Studios

October 27, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The chairwoman of the House committee that resumed hearings Tuesday on Rhode Island’s $75 million 38 Studios debacle said she’s asked the failed video game company’s founder and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling to testify.

House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Karen MacBeth said Schilling is “at the top of the list” but hasn’t responded to two online messages she’s sent him asking him to appear.

If Schilling doesn’t respond to a formal invitation, the committee will pursue a subpoena, MacBeth said. Former government officials, including former Gov. Donald Carcieri, also could be asked to testify, she said.

The legislative committee resumed hearings on 38 Studios, following the release of nearly 40,000 pages of court records showing the deal was in the works months before some lawmakers acknowledged it.

Members of the committee were briefed on an updated timeline of events leading up to the legislature’s passage in 2010 of the loan guarantee program that gave the company its money.

“We are going to focus on restorative justice to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” MacBeth said.

38 Studios went bankrupt in 2012, and the state filed suit against Schilling, executives at 38 Studios, banks and others that facilitated the deal seeking to recover the money taxpayers lost. The once-secret documents include 66 depositions of key players including former leaders of the state’s Economic Development Corp. which struck the deal with 38 Studios.

Schilling was never deposed, and he has never testified before the committee.

Schilling didn’t immediately respond to a Facebook message seeking comment.

MacBeth said she sees Schilling as a “sympathetic figure.”

“Certainly, he has his own story to tell,” MacBeth said.

The oversight committee held 10 hearings on the failed deal in 2013 and 2014. MacBeth said the committee lacked important information at that time because the court documents were sealed.

Many of the once-secret documents support a narrative that’s been emerging since 38 Studios collapsed: that the deal was orchestrated by former House Speaker Gordon Fox and his friends, in particular attorney Michael Corso, who did work for 38 Studios, and former House Finance Chairman Steven Costantino, along with EDC officials.

A lawsuit is pending against Schilling and others.

The committee hearing on the timeline will resume next week. MacBeth said about five hearings in all are planned.

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