The Rhode Island Secretary of State’s office held a hearing this morning in a continuation on the probe into possible lobbying violations by Providence attorney Michael Corso, according to WPRI Target 12 News. Corso represented 38 Studios to state officials without registering as a lobbyist in 2010, according to Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.
Today's hearing was more legal wrangling by Corso's attorney and the Secretary of State. Presiding hearing officer Louis DeSimone gave both sides until next Wednesday to submit final exhibits or statements. Corso was not present at the hearing, nor is he required to be because it is "not a legal preceding," according to what DeSimone told Target 12 earlier this summer.
Mollis’s office released a statement shortly after the hearing, saying that he will seek the maximum fine for Corso not filing lobbying reports. Documents show 38 Studios paid Corso $300,000 while he was interacting with government officials prior to the approval of a $75 million loan to Curt Schilling's development studio.
Lobbyists are required to register with the Secretary of State's office prior to engaging in any lobbying activities in the state. Corse denies that he has done anything wrong. If things don't go Corso's way, he could face a fines of up to $2,000 for legislative lobbying and $1,000 for executive-branch lobbying.
Meanwhile, The Providence Journal is reporting that Governor Chafee is scheduled to be deposed this Thursday as part of the state’s 38 Studios-related lawsuit. Lawyers are working to complete nearly all depositions by the end of the month, according to what Max Wistow, the lead lawyer for the state, tells the Journal. David M. Gilden, a managing partner with the law firm of Partridge Snow & Hahn, LLP will also be deposed this week.