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People Who Should Be Subpoenaed for the 38 Studios Investigation

Thursday, October 29, 2015

 

Photo: Quin Dombrowski

The House Oversight Committee has started its review of the 38 Studios collapse and much has been made about the need to subpoena 38 Studios founder Curt Schilling. 

Other key players, however, need to come before the House Oversight Committee and give testimony.

SLIDES: SEE THE LIST OF WHO SHOULD BE SUBPOENAED BELOW

Schilling, a former baseball star with the Boston Red Sox, was one of the most noticeably absent from giving a deposition as part of the 38 Studios lawsuit filed by the state of Rhode Island. 

Chair Karen MacBeth

Depositions in the State’s Lawsuit Include Three Governors

Three Governor’s have been deposed for their diverse roles relating to 38 Studios. Republican Don Carcieri testified about his role in creating the $125 Loan Guarantee Program and the funding of $75 Million to 38 Studios, then-Independent Governor Lincoln Chafee was deposed regarding his stewardship of the loan, and present-Governor Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, was questioned about her role as General Treasurer.

It is unclear why Schilling was not deposed by the State of Rhode Island. The state’s attorney, Max Wistow, told GoLocal that it was due to Schilling’s battle with cancer -- and then by the time he was healthy enough, the state "had what it needed." During the two years in which depositions were conducted, Schilling worked extensively as an analyst for ESPN during major portions of this period. 

The depositions to date have been conducted for the purposes of economic issues between the State of Rhode Island and a range of defendants including Wells Fargo Bank and others. Federal authorities at the US Attorney's office have repeatedly affirmed that there is not presently a federal investigation.

Goal of the Oversight Committee

Unlike the state’s pending law suit and the State Police’s investigation, the role of the House Oversight is to probe how the 38 Studios' deal came about and the need for sunlight on the deal. The committee is chaired by Representative Karen MacBeth, a Democrat from Cumberland. The purpose of the House Oversight Committee's role has been criticized for lacking definition.

Raid on Gordon Fox's State House Office

Former candidate for Governor Ken Block wrote in a GoLocal MINDSETTER™ column that the House Oversight Committee's role is critical to moving Rhode Island forward.

Block wrote, "Hold subpoena-based hearings to demand answers from everyone involved – especially those who were not deposed in the court case. Remember that the lawyers in the court case were only interested in winning their case – they were not trying to fully explain 38 Studios.  The public needs more information than is contained in the released depositions and documents.  If possible, the motivations of key players like Fox, Corso, Carcieri, Stokes, Murphy and Chafee need to be determined."

 

Related Slideshow: Who Should Be Subpoenaed in 38 Studios Hearings

See the seven that should be subpoenaed to testify on 38 Studios.

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1.

Chief of Staff to the Speaker, Frank Anzeveno

The former legislator was the go-to staff member who coordinated the Speaker’s office and was deeply involved with the management of legislation.

As GoLocal described him in 2012, “Nothing gets done in the House without a nod from Speaker Fox’s Chief of Staff, who has to play a prominent role in deciding which legislation even makes it to the Speaker’s desk and also which legislators need to be punished for not kissing the ring of leadership. He’s been successful so far. Anzeveno has helped Fox avoid much conflict with his chamber, even when he had a lot of unhappy members during controversial debates over pension reform and same-sex marriage last year."

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2.

Ruth Desmarais, formerly Fox’s Personal Secretary

Desmarais was Fox’s personal secretary in the Speaker’s office and his scheduler.  “If you wanted to see Fox you had to go through Ruthie” was the saying in the State House.

When the Feds were looking for key Fox documents, they first went to Desmarais’ home in East Providence seeking key documents.

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3.

Steven Costantino, Presently Commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access

The former Chair of the House Finance Committee was politically adjoined at the hip with Speaker Gordon Fox.

In the recent documents released in the state's 38 Studios lawsuit, an email from EDC legal council Robert Stolzman in April 2010  -- before the legislation was introduced to create the job creation program that enabled 38 Studios - shows that "at the suggestion of [Chairman] Costantino]" the program's size was increased from $50 million to $125 million. 

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4.

Curt Schilling, Founder of 38 Studios

The former Red Sox great can outline the timeline of the meetings with Fox, Mike Corso and former Speaker Bill Murphy -- but to date, has not.

Schilling knows the timeline, the promises, and at a minimum, some of the details of the deal within the deal.

It is clear that Schilling may have been the second largest financial loser in the collapse of 38 Studios (to the State of Rhode Island). 

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5.

Tom Zaccagnino, Financier

Zaccagnino, a Massachusetts financier, along with the ultimate Rhode Island insider Mike Corso were meeting and working on a deal to bring 38 Studios to Rhode Island at its earliest stages.

Communications between Zaccagnino and Corso started in the summer of 2009, months before the inception of the deal were publicly reported. Zaccagnino, a former Yale lacrosse great, was the deal-maker in bringing together 38 Studios and his ability to get Rhode Island to create a $75 million loan fund.  By working with Corso, Zaccagnino had access directly to Speaker of the House Gordon Fox. 

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6.

Michael Corso, Lawyer and Tax Credit Broker

Corso was the architect of the 38 Studios deal and made millions putting the deal together. 

In his deposition in the State’s lawsuit, he pled the 5th hundreds of times to questions ranging from the timeframe of the deal, his role, and his personal relationship with Fox.

Corso over the past two decades has been able to use his relationships and political connections to make millions in fees from historic tax credits, payments on the 38 Studios deal, and movie tax credits -- all taxpayer sponsored programs. His success in part was fueled by his close relationship with Gordon Fox, the former Speaker of the House and now an inmate in federal prison. 

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7.

Gordon Fox, Former Speaker, Now Inmate in Federal Prison

Presently, the former Speaker is serving his three year sentence at Canaan Federal Penitentiary in PA. Like Corso, Fox refused to answer any questions during the course of his deposition in the State’s lawsuit.

Fox evoked the 5th Amendment approximately 800 times.

The former Speaker says he is a good person who made mistakes. He could begin the reform process by appearing before his former Chamber and explaining what happened in the deal creation for 38 Studios.

 
 

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