Carcieri Accepts Responsibility for Approving Failed 38 Studios Deal
Friday, September 14, 2012
Former Governor Don Carcieri accepted responsibility for supporting the deal that brought Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios to Rhode Island, but questioned whether Governor Chafee and the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) administered proper oversight over the company, in an interview with WPRI Thursday.
“I’ll take responsibility for having it approved on my watch,” Carcieri said. “There’s no doubt about that. I’ll say I was a supporter, which I was.”
Schilling’s company filed for bankruptcy in June, less than two years after the EDC approved a $75 million loan guarantee for the company. The deal was highly scrutinized at the time and Chafee, then a candidate for Governor, was one its most vocal opponents.
Schilling has consistently blamed Chafee for playing a major role in the company’s downfall. The former Red Sox ace has suggested that the company was close to securing additional financing, but that it needed state film tax credits to seal the deal. After the company received initial approve for the credits, the state balked when 38 Studios defaulted on a $1.125 million payment due to the EDC in May.
Schilling has gone as far as suggesting that Chafee was rooting for the company to fail.
"I think he had an agenda and executed it,” Schilling said during a June interview on radio station WEEI.
Carcieri questioned whether the state handled the company’s collapse appropriately, suggesting that if all the company needed was tax credits or some flexibility within their deal, the EDC should have helped. Still, he said the failure ultimately falls on Schilling.
“When a company fails, it’s the leadership that’s responsible,” Carcieri said.
But Carcieri also said there is no excuse for state leadership only finding out in April that the company was struggling financially. He questioned whether there was proper oversight over 38 Studios.
Asked whether Chafee and other political leaders were correct in their criticism of the deal at the time, Carcieri suggested those who criticized 38 Studios weren’t part of the entire decision-making process and vetting of the company.
“They didn’t do the work we did,” he said. “It was easy to say ‘don’t do it.’”
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