38 studios

38 Studios lobby hearing decision expected Wednesday

September 16th, 2014 at 2:08 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A decision in the 38 Studios lobby violation hearings is expected to be released Wednesday, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

Read the rest of this story »


Stokes withdraws 38 Studios lawsuit against lawyers

July 11th, 2014 at 1:07 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The former director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation has voluntarily withdrawn from a lawsuit against two of the agency’s former lawyers.

Read the rest of this story »


Judge hears settlement arguments in 38 Studios suit

July 8th, 2014 at 4:39 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A Rhode Island Superior Court judge heard arguments Tuesday on a proposed settlement by two of the defendants in the state’s lawsuit against the architects of the failed 38 Studios loan deal, but did not issue a ruling on the matter.

Read the rest of this story »


McKee: Mollis should step back from 38 Studios probe

July 2nd, 2014 at 5:29 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Cumberland Mayor Daniel McKee is demanding that his primary opponent in the race for lieutenant governor – Secretary of State Ralph Mollis – step down from an investigation into possible lobbying violations in the 38 Studios deal.

Read the rest of this story »


38 Studios lobby violation hearings begin, delay requested

July 1st, 2014 at 5:33 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A hearing into possible lobbying violations by a key figure in the 38 Studios deal was continued for a week, but a lawyer for the state said he wants the proceedings completed “as soon as possible.”

Read the rest of this story »


RI, law firm reach $4.4M settlement in 38 Studios suit

June 27th, 2014 at 8:14 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Chafee administration has reached a tentative settlement with two of the parties the state has sued for their role in putting together the controversial 38 Studios deal, WPRI.com has confirmed.

Read the rest of this story »


Mollis sets 38 Studios lobbying hearings for next week

June 26th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Secretary of State Ralph Mollis has sent letters to key players involved in the 38 Studios deal to retroactively register as lobbyists and appear before a July 1 hearing, to into possible lobbying violations.

Read the rest of this story »


RI State Police to interview lawmakers about 38 Studios

June 18th, 2014 at 1:17 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island State Police investigators have asked to interview all House lawmakers who voted on the 2010 bill that created the loan program quickly used to benefit Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello told his colleagues Wednesday.

Read the rest of this story »


WPRI/Journal Poll: Dem primary voters split on 38 Studios

June 3rd, 2014 at 10:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island Democratic primary voters are evenly split on whether state lawmakers should pay off roughly $90 million in bonds sold to fund the 38 Studios deal, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Wednesday shows.

Read the rest of this story »


Michael Corso: ‘I didn’t do anything wrong’ on 38 Studios

May 28th, 2014 at 7:59 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Michael Corso, the Providence attorney close to former House Speaker Gordon Fox who helped put together the 38 Studios deal, said Tuesday he “didn’t do anything wrong” in helping the company get a $75-million taxpayer-backed loan.

Target 12 finally tracked Corso down Tuesday night as he left his Providence law office.

Read the rest of this story »


Former Speaker William Murphy visited 38 Studios in 2009

May 20th, 2014 at 9:50 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White and Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former House Speaker William Murphy paid a previously undisclosed visit to 38 Studios’ Massachusetts headquarters in 2009, months before former Gov. Don Carcieri first talked with Curt Schilling about bringing the company to Rhode Island, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

In confirming the meeting, Murphy has shifted the public timeline of when Rhode Island politicians first got involved with 38 Studios to before Carcieri’s now famous encounter with Schilling at a March 2010 fundraiser.

Read the rest of this story »


Gordon Fox lawyer: Subpoena could aid investigators

May 20th, 2014 at 8:02 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former House Speaker Gordon Fox on Tuesday continued his fight to avoid complying with a subpoena in the state’s 38 Studios lawsuit, arguing through his attorney that providing the information requested could put him legal jeopardy.

Read the rest of this story »


38 Studios insider’s email urged execs not to disclose

May 19th, 2014 at 6:13 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Susan Campbell and Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – 38 Studios’ top board member urged other company insiders not to highlight its precarious finances when it was negotiating with Rhode Island leaders, a court document shows.

“I really do not think we should highlight the fact that we might be under capitalized…wont go over well with the staff or board,” Thomas Zaccagnino, at the time 38 Studios’ vice chairman and the lead director on its board, wrote in the July 2010 email.

Read the rest of this story »


RI judge reprimands lawyers in 38 Studios lawsuit

May 19th, 2014 at 12:26 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A Rhode Island judge on Monday lightly reprimanded lawyers on both sides of the state’s 38 Studios lawsuit for making small disclosures in court in what he described as an apparent effort to sway public opinion about the case.

The comments came after lawyers from the R.I. Economic Development Corporation and the various parties it sued over the failed 38 Studios deal tangled over the question of which documents the EDC should be required to hand over to the other side as they prepare for a trial, which is still months away.

Read the rest of this story »


AG hires outside counsel for 38 Studios subpoena

May 16th, 2014 at 1:26 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The attorney general’s office said Friday it has hired outside legal counsel to assist the Rhode Island House of Representatives in response to a subpoena issued in the state’s lawsuit against failed video game company 38 Studios.

Providence lawyer Mark DeSisto will be paid $150-per-hour to represent the House after the attorney general’s office determined it needed to hire conflict counsel because it is also involved in a criminal investigation related to 38 Studios, according to Amy Kempe, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Peter Kilmartin.

Read the rest of this story »


Gordon Fox lawyer cites grand jury at 38 Studios hearing

May 15th, 2014 at 2:52 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A lawyer for former House Speaker Gordon Fox said Thursday a grand jury is investigating matters that may include the failed 38 Studios deal.

Read the rest of this story »


Assured Guaranty says it stands behind 38 Studios bonds

May 13th, 2014 at 5:30 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Assured Guaranty Ltd., the insurance company standing behind the 38 Studios bonds on behalf of the investors who own them, said Tuesday it expects lawmakers to put enough money into the next state budget to pay the company’s debts, but it will step in and pay if they don’t.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Q&A: S&P’s lead RI analyst on the 38 Studios bond debate (May 13)


Q&A: S&P’s lead RI analyst on the 38 Studios bond debate

May 13th, 2014 at 1:41 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

standard_poors_logoA heated debate has picked up once again over whether Rhode Island lawmakers should put $12.5 million into the state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 in order to make the next two payments on the bonds sold to lure 38 Studios to Rhode Island.

On Monday, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services downgraded its rating on the 38 Studios bonds from A to BBB, and put a negative watch on all of Rhode Island’s bonds, including its general-obligation debt. Henry Henderson, director in the U.S. public finance group at S&P and its lead credit analyst for Rhode Island, co-authored the report.

Henderson spoke with WPRI.com on Tuesday about the 38 Studios bonds and how S&P makes its decisions. The following is a transcript of the interview, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Last June, Standard & Poor’s kept the rating and outlook on these bonds unchanged and said they were unaffected by the debate. Yesterday you dropped the rating sharply and put them on a negative watch. What changed from 11 months ago in your view?

(more…)


Clay Pell supports paying off the 38 Studios bonds

May 12th, 2014 at 4:57 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Clay Pell econ 4-23-2014 Scott delsoleAdd Clay Pell to the list of politicians who support paying back the 38 Studios bonds.

Pell, a Democratic candidate for governor, had signaled early in his campaign that he might not support including $12.5 million in the next state budget to pay investors who bought the 38 Studios bonds.

His two Democratic opponents, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, had already been on record at the time as saying the state should pay back the money.

On Monday, however, Pell campaign manager Devin Driscoll said his candidate has now come around to the same view as Taveras and Raimondo.

“Clay does not believe Rhode Island should default on its moral obligation bonds when they come due,” Driscoll told WPRI.com in an email. “38 Studios was a terrible mistake – and another example of why we need to change the culture of politics in Rhode Island.”

Driscoll said Pell would work to restore “faith in state government,” and added: “In the meantime, Clay believes the state must strongly pursue recovery of its original investment to the fullest extent of the law.”

Pell’s comments came the same day Standard & Poor’s threatened to downgrade Rhode Island’s bond ratings if lawmakers decline to pay the 38 Studios bonds. The two Republican candidates for governor – Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and Barrington businessman Ken Block – both oppose paying the bonds, which were authorized in 2010 by former Republican Gov. Don Carcieri’s administration.


S&P threatens RI with downgrade over 38 Studios bonds

May 12th, 2014 at 3:47 pm by under General Talk, Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – One of the three major Wall Street rating agencies has put a negative watch on Rhode Island’s state bond ratings due to uncertainty about whether the state will pay off the bonds sold in 2010 to benefit Curt Schilling’s failed video-game company, 38 Studios.

The moves are in sharp contrast with what S&P did last June during a similarly heated debate over paying the 38 Studios bonds. At that time S&P kept the bonds’ rating at A with a stable outlook, saying that “default on this moral obligation debt is unlikely due to the support of state leadership.”

Read the rest of this story »


Everything you need to know about what’s happening with 38 Studios

May 9th, 2014 at 2:27 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

Nearly two years after 38 Studios collapsed, the failed video-game company founded by former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling can’t stay out of the news.

Between State Police investigations, threats to lawmakers and a heated debate over whether to repay the bonds Rhode Island guaranteed when it gave the company a $75-million taxpayer-backed loan in 2010, WPRI reporters had a busy week covering every angle from the fallout of the disastrous deal.

Here’s a complete breakdown of everything we reported this week:

Lobbying violations: Target 12 kicked things off Monday night by revealing that prominent Providence lawyer Michael Corso never registered to lobby on behalf of 38 Studios despite having a $300,000-a-year contract to interact with state officials. The findings led lieutenant governor candidate and Secretary of State Ralph Mollis to launch an investigation into possible lobbying violations by Corso and 38 Studios. A day after our story aired, the State Police said they would join Mollis in his investigation. On the politics side, Mollis and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin were both criticized by their opponents for failing to scrutinize the deal closely enough.

(more…)


Study: 38 Studios default would give RI ‘junk’ rating

May 9th, 2014 at 1:12 pm by under Nesi's Notes

38 Studios bond schedule May 2014

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s state bond rating would likely be dropped to “junk status” if lawmakers refuse to repay the bonds the state guaranteed on behalf of Curt Schilling’s failed game company 38 Studios, according to a study commissioned by the Chafee administration and released Friday.

Read the rest of this story »


Licht reveals meetings with Corso about 38 Studios

May 7th, 2014 at 6:45 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A top aide to Gov. Lincoln Chafee confirmed Wednesday he met twice with Michael Corso, the controversial local attorney closely associated with the 38 Studios deal, in 2011 and 2012 to discuss the faltering company’s efforts to get tax credits from the state.

Richard Licht, director of the R.I. Department of Administration, told WPRI.com he and Corso met in his office in December 2011 and again at an outside event in the spring of 2012. Licht said the discussion at both meetings revolved around 38 Studios’ need to obtain tax credits.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Leaked docs detail 38 Studios’ contracts with Michael Corso (May 7)


Leaked docs detail 38 Studios’ contracts with Michael Corso

May 7th, 2014 at 5:33 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The well-connected lawyer at the center of the controversial 38 Studios deal had several other lucrative contracts with the failed video game company, a Target 12 investigation has discovered.

Documents obtained by Target 12 now show Michael Corso had additional lucrative agreements with the company – founded by former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling – that paid him $485 per hour to evaluate “potential economic incentive programs;” 10% of the company’s construction budget with a minimum of $500,000; and 9.5% of any financing he could secure for the company.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Richard Licht reveals meetings with Michael Corso about 38 Studios (May 7)


Gordon Fox moves to quash 38 Studios subpoena

May 7th, 2014 at 2:21 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi, Tim White and Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former House Speaker Gordon Fox’s lawyer is seeking to quash a subpoena issued to him seeking documents related to the the state’s lawsuit over the 38 Studios deal, Target 12 has confirmed. He invoked Fox’s constitutional right against self-incrimination.

Read the rest of this story »


Opponents criticize Mollis, Kilmartin over 38 Studios

May 6th, 2014 at 5:39 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Critics of R.I. Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin on Tuesday seized on Target 12′s new findings about possible undisclosed lobbying by 38 Studios insiders to argue they’ve failed to scrutinize the deal closely enough.

“It’s unfortunate that it took an investigative report by WPRI’s Tim White to get the secretary of state to do the work needed to protect taxpayers,” CJ Macklin, campaign manager for Cumberland mayor and Mollis rival Dan McKee, said in a statement.

Read the rest of this story »


RI State Police join new probe of 38 Studios lobbying

May 6th, 2014 at 2:55 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White and Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s attorney general on Tuesday directed the state police to assist with an investigation into potential lobbying violations by insiders involved with the failed 38 Studios deal, all due to findings uncovered by Target 12.

Read the rest of this story »


Target 12 investigation triggers 38 Studios probe by Mollis

May 5th, 2014 at 10:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White and Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – R.I. Secretary of State Ralph Mollis has launched an investigation into potential violations of the state’s lobbying rules involving failed video-game company 38 Studios in response to findings brought to him by Target 12.

A Target 12 review of the state’s database shows no one from 38 Studios ever registered to lobby state lawmakers or the executive branch during the years the firm, founded by former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling, was known to be active in Rhode Island: 2010 to 2012.

When Target 12 first asked Mollis why his office – which oversees the registration of lobbyists – never investigated 38 Studios’ failure to register anyone, the secretary of state attributed it to the fact that no one ever filed a complaint with his office. He also said he did not have “absolute knowledge” that 38 Studios insiders had lobbied state officials under the law.

Within 24 hours, however, Mollis reached out to say he’d changed his mind.

Read the rest of this story »


Center for Freedom suggests $225M to cut from RI budget

April 2nd, 2014 at 12:01 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A new report from the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity suggests $225 million that should be cut from Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s proposed budget for next year, starting with the elimination of a $50-million increase in the historic-preservation tax-credit program.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Gov. Chafee, quoting Taylor Swift, proposes $8.5B state budget (Jan. 15)


Watch Newsmakers: US Attorney Neronha; Sen. Ryan Pearson

March 2nd, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes