New Rhode Island EDC Head Says 38 Studios Deal Tarnished Agency’s Reputation

The new executive at the top of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. (EDC) says that the failed $75 million loan guarantee to Curt Schilling's 38 Studios has hurt the reputation of the agency, but he will do all that he can to restore it and to rebuild confidence in the state's economic recovery efforts.

"Sure, our reputation out there has been tarnished over 38 Studios, and it may be perceived that we're beleaguered, but we wake up every morning, we work hard and we work on programs and activities that make a difference," Marcel Valois, executive director of the Economic Development Corp., told The Associated Press in a recent interview.

Valois said that the agency has made strides towards these goals already and said that "Rhode Islanders" must look forward.

"Rhode Islanders must look forward," he said. "We need to rebuild the confidence in Rhode Island and its institutions and set the base for new economic resurgence. We're up to the task."

Valois was appointed to the top post at the agency back in May by Governor Lincoln Chafee, who serves as its Chairman of the Board and who cleaned house. The Governor says that Valois is headed in the right direction.

Valois said that he's reaching out to businesses in the state to hear what they need to be successful, what obstacles are in their way and how the agency can help. The EDC is aiming to better use data to gauge the effectiveness of its efforts as well. Valois also tried to dispel criticism that the agency picks "winners and losers" and doesn't do enough to help existing businesses.

"We feel that we need to work with everybody in creating the conditions for all sectors to grow, and not put all our eggs in one basket, not chase after one industry sector over another," he said.

Finally, Valois said the loan program that gave 38 Studios its loan could have been used in different ways with more safeguards, but given the aftermath of that deal he understands why the legislature decided to eliminate it. He did say that the agency is looking into instituting new financing programs, though he declined to provide specifics.

The state of Rhode Island is currently suing Curt Schilling, officers from the now bankrupt studio, and former members of the EDC for their part in the $75 million loan that has left Rhode Island tax payers with a debt of over $100 million…

Source: The Republic

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