Opinion: No One Was Watching 38 Studios

Columnist Russell J. Moore (clearly not a fan of Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee and his Director of Administration) says in a new column that Richard Licht, the governor's Director of Administration, finally admitted publicly that the Governor's office "wasn't watching 38 Studios" after the Economic Development Corp. greenlit a $75 million loan and before it eventually defaulted on that loan and went bankrupt.

Licht made his comments to Channel 12 WPRI’s Tim White last week when asked if the 38 Studios situation was similar to another loan fund handled by Betaspring from the EDC that has come under fire. According to an independent auditor, those in charge of Betaspring spent 71 percent of the economic accelerator program's federal grant money on "operating expenses."

"We wanted to make sure we were in compliance, we wanted to make sure things were being done right, and that’s the difference. No one was watching 38 Studios," Licht told WPRI.

Moore goes on to point out that this is a particularly important admission because Gov. Lincoln Chafee was the chairman of the EDC board during the "whole implosion of 38 studios and during all the months preceding its demise."

So what did he do about it? According to Moore, he opposed the deal before it happened and ignored it thereafter. Later he told the public in so many words, "I told you so."

He also points out that Licht worked for the law firm Adler Pollock and Sheehan prior to going to work for the Governor's office and likely he worked there when the 38 Studios deal was being put together. That lawfirm is being used by the state.

He closes by saying that the attorney representing the EDC in the 38 Studios lawsuit should call Governor Chafee and Licht to testify in that trial because they know a lot more about the deal than they are letting on. He also urges the state legislative oversight committees to call Governor Chafee and Licht before them to get some "real answers and to account for these controversies."

You can read his column here.

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