Say this for the deal Curt Schilling and his 38 Studios worked out with the state of Rhode Island; it’s giving political candidates in the state a platform to campaign on and rail against.
38 Studios was lured to Rhode Island from its current home in Massachusetts, largely due to a guaranteed $75.0 million loan from the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (EDC). This commitment raised the ire of Ocean State Independent Gubernatorial candidate Lincoln Chafee, who previously questioned Schilling’s integrity by intimating that the pitcher may have faked an injury in the 2004 American League Championship Series.
Now, the Providence Journal reports, Chafee is calling for the Economic Development Corporation to suspend its commitment to 38 Studios and to reconvene in order to go through a public process that would examine proposals for other companies that could benefit from state loans or assistance.
In a letter to EDC Director Keith Stokes, Chafee wrote:
I call on you and the Board to suspend the commitment to 38 Studios and to conduct a full, fair and far reaching RFP (request for proposal) process to ensure that Rhode Island gets the best possible use of its new loan guarantee fund.
Chafee was not alone in his criticism of the deal. Current State Treasurer—and Democratic candidate for Governor—Frank Caprio also sent a letter (in his role as Treasurer) to the EDC, which outlined “modifications that need to be made to the arrangement with Schilling’s company in order to adequately protect and benefit taxpayers.”
Meanwhile, Moderate Party candidate for Governor Ken Block was not about to be left out of the piling on party, stating:
You can’t fix the economy with silver-bullet solutions. Seventy-five million dollars could go a long way to help many small businesses here in Rhode Island, and we can’t afford to set aside such a large sum of money for specific inducements to special companies.
Lastly, the Republican candidate for Governor John Robitaille, who indicated that he supported the EDC deal with Schilling, nevertheless expressed his concerns over the agreement, saying:
I had reservations on this project and would have preferred offering smaller loan guarantees to a greater number of existing Rhode Island small businesses. However, now that the EDC has voted to support the project, I hope that Studio 38 becomes extremely successful. …We need to get Rhode Islanders back to work, and cannot let politics get in the way.