Rhode Islanders Think State Should Stop Paying 38 Studios Loan Debt

A new WPRI 12 Eyewitness News poll shows that a majority of Rhode Islanders have no problem defaulting on the bonds used to secure 38 Studios a $75 million loan in 2010. The company founded by Curt Schilling would later default on the loan payments and leave the state with a debt of $90 – $100 million.

Apparently tax payers in the state have had enough of the whole deal. A survey of 506 residents of the state found that 50 percent say the state shouldn't repay the bonds sold in 2010 to benefit Curt Schilling's 38 Studios, while 38 percent say the state should repay the debt and 13 percent were unsure just what to do.

Among female voters, 54 percent oppose paying back the bonds, as did 53 percent of respondents who identified themselves as 60-years-old or older. Only 44 percent of male respondents said the bonds should be paid for, while 49 percent said they shouldn't be. Respondents between the ages of 18 – 39 were also divided along the same lines.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who opposed the 38 Studios deal as a candidate in 2010, said that he supports repaying the bonds, but also understands how voters feel on the issue.

"Obviously nobody really wants to be on the hook for that dumb decision that was made by the previous administration," Chafee told WPRI 12. But in the same breath, he warned that not paying back the state's debt, "would have ramifications for years and years."

The state is currently pursuing a lawsuit against Schilling and others involved in putting the deal together in an effort to recoup some of the money.

Democrat Treasurer Gina Raimondo also defended the decision to repay the bonds. Raimondo said the $75 million deal was a “disaster” that “never should have happened,” but also said that her responsibility is to make sure the state pays its debts.

“We have to pay that back so we don't have our bond rating reduced,” Raimondo said. “I hate paying it as much as anyone, but it's the right thing to do for the state overall.”

Raimondo is expected to make a run for Governor of Rhode Island next year.

Source: WPRI

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