RI Gubernatorial Debate Offers Spirited Jousting Over 38 Studios Deal

The more feisty exchanges in a debate among Rhode Island gubernatorial candidates on Thursday revolved around plans from that state’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to grant 38 Studios $75 million in guaranteed loans in order to get the Curt Schilling-helmed company to move from Massachusetts.

As recounted by the Providence Journal, when asked by a moderator for their views on the 38 Studios deal, Independent candidate, and perpetual opponent of the transaction, Lincoln Chafee called the loan a mistake and indicated that the first payment of $15 million would go out to Schilling’s company next Tuesday.

This prompted Democratic candidate Frank Caprio to snap at Chafee, saying, “You don’t have your facts straight. You don’t understand the deal. You don’t know the first thing about this.”

Caprio then insisted that the 38 Studios transaction was not complete and he attempted to wager Chafee a cup of coffee over who was correct about the deal.

More importantly, the newspaper reported:

It turns out that there was a closing scheduled for Tuesday in which a commercial lender, not the state, was to hand over $15 million to 38 Studios, according to Melissa Chambers, spokeswoman for the EDC. She said the closing has been postponed until mid-September.

Republican runner John Robitaille said that while he wants to see 38 Studios succeed, the government should not be picking winners.

Fellow Republican candidate Victor Moffitt saw no reason to question the judgment of the EDC since it vetted the project.

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