Monday, May 21, 2012
Agency to discuss Curt Schilling co.
ESPN.com news services
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Monday that former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has laid off some employees at his troubled video gaming company and that state officials are continuing to try to "protect every penny" of Rhode Island's investment in the company.
The founder of 38 Studios -- which got a $75 million loan guarantee from the state in 2010 -- met behind closed doors with Chafee and the state's economic development agency.
Chafee said last week the company had asked the board for more assistance to help stay afloat. The board took no action on Monday.
"We're working hard to protect every penny of the investment that was made," Chafee said after the meeting.
The company was more than two weeks late on a $1.1 million payment to the Economic Development Corp., and state officials said last week they had been told by the company that it wouldn't be able to make its payroll.
Asked Monday whether the company had paid its employees, Chafee said there had been "a mix of who's made payroll" and cited a number of layoffs. He declined to elaborate, citing confidentiality.
38 Studios moved to Rhode Island from Massachusetts in 2010 after the state offered a $75 million loan guarantee that officials said would mean 450 new jobs and millions of dollars of tax revenue. It has received about $50 million of that money to date, and told state officials it has spent it all, according to state Revenue Director Rosemary Booth Gallogly.
Schilling, an ESPN analyst, brushed past reporters on his way out of the meeting Monday night, saying only there was a lot of "misinformation" that he could not begin to clear up with a sound bite.
He said he was not seeking any additional taxpayer money but declined to elaborate. He said he would speak about the issue "directly" when he was able.
The company finally made the overdue $1.1 million payment to the EDC on Friday. The company had delivered a check to the agency Thursday only to acknowledge soon after there wasn't enough money in the account to cover it. The check was returned.
Chafee opposed the loan guarantee deal in 2010 when he was campaigning for governor, calling it "one of the biggest risks I've ever seen." But he said he recognizes the need to protect the already steep public investment.
"Ultimately we want this to succeed," he said Monday.
Keith Stokes, the executive director of the Economic Development Corp., resigned last week. One member of the EDC board voted against the loan guarantee in 2010.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.