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What Costantino Remembers and Forgot - 38 Studios’ Big Subpoena

Sunday, December 20, 2015

 

The new round of 38 Studios subpoenas have been issued. This time the House Oversight Committee has issued subpoenas to Speaker Gordon Fox’s crony, insider Michael Corso, and to Fox’s closest House leadership ally, former Chairman of the House Finance Committee Steven Costantino.

In addition, Speaker Nicholas Mattiello signed a second subpoena for former Red Sox great and founder of 38 Studios Curt Schilling, who took to his blog to blast a claim by a Springfield, MA newspaper’s website that said he ignored the first RI subpoena.

“Ignore'? How can you ignore something you never saw? I have not been served anything by anyone. There is not a person on this planet with even a smidgen of knowledge of the law who would say anything BUT “Hell no he shouldn’t testify” while there is a bogus and incredibly wasteful civil suit still hanging around," wrote Schilling. 

"The day that crap disappears I’ll sit down on RI radio and answer every single question asked, and take calls to allow anyone that wants an opportunity to speak to me about any of this. There are parts of this that are disappointing, humiliating, insulting, but on my behalf there is not one ounce of illegal in anything I ever did or said, ever. The tax paying citizen deserves the unfiltered and LIVE truth, and I sincerely hope that happens sooner rather than later. In the meantime people need to make sure everything is made public, every single page of every document,” continued Schilling.

Costantino in Spotlight

With one of the key players, former RI Finance Chairman Costantino, agreeing to testify before the House Oversight Committee, GoLocal has reviewed his sworn testimony during his deposition and identified the key information revealed -- and the questions that were’t answered.

It is important to remember that the questions asked during the deposition were relating to a civil financial law suit being pursued by the State of Rhode Island about a business deal.

 

Related Slideshow: What Costantino Remembered and Forgot in His Deposition

Editor's note - an earlier version misspelled Costantino's name.

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What Costantino Did and Did Not Remember About the First Meeting

Page 32

 

Q. Now, going back now to 2009/2010 and 38 Studios, when did you first learn of 38 Studios' interest in coming to Rhode Island?

A. Approximately the end of March, beginning of April of '10.

Q. Okay. And how did you come to learn of this interest?

A. Actually, got a call from the Speaker. Yes, the Speaker, to visit 38 Studios.

Q. Okay. And did you visit 38 Studios?
 
A. I did.

Q. Do you know -- do you recall when that was?
 
A. Like I said, it was around the end of March, beginning of April. It's in that time frame.

Q. Okay. Fair enough. And who attended this meeting?

A. I know, obviously, the Speaker was there.

Q. Okay.

A. Curt Schilling was there.
 
Q. Was Tom Zaccagnino there?

A. I don't remember.
 
Q. Okay. Was Michael Corso there?
 
A. I don't remember.

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What Costantino Did and Did Not Remember About the Creation of the Loan Guarantee

Page 37


Q. Okay. Who developed the legislation that was known as the Rhode Island Jobs Creation Guaranty Program?

A. EDC developed the legislation, but the staff
would review it.

Q. And can you -- did you have any meetings with
Keith Stokes relating to that legislation?

A. I do not remember.

Q. Okay. Do you ever recall telling Mr. Stokes that in order to accommodate the request of 38 Studios, a proposed $50 million program could be increased to 125 million?

A. No, I do not remember saying that.

Q. Do you know whose idea it was to increase the proposed $50 million Jobs Creation Guaranty Program to 125 million?

MR. DeSISTO: Objection. You can answer.
A. The reason it was $125 million was because that was the demand in the community.
 
Q. Could you explain what the demand in the community refers to?

A. So, I do remember -- and, again, I'm not sure with whom, but basically asking the question, well, "What's the demand out there in the business community that wants the program, that could use the program, the Loan Guarantee Program?" So what number would EDC need to fulfill its obligation to the entire need in the community? And that's what I remember as the figure being $125 million.

Q. Were you aware, at the time, that 38 Studios was looking for 75 million?

MR. DeSISTO: At the time of what?

Q. At the time that the program was proposed for 125
 million?

A. I knew they were interested.

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What Costantino Did and Did Not Remember About Michael Corso

Page 40 

 

Do you know who Michael Corso is?

A. Yes.

Q. And who is Michael Corso?
A. Michael Corso is someone who over the years has been involved in certain issues at the State House, predominantly historical tax credits, where I had much of my interaction with him in the past. So, he, you know -- I know he's involved in the brokering of tax credits and those issues.

Q. Did you know -- how long have you known Mr. Corso?

A. I don't remember when I first started knowing him. Probably -- I just don't remember. I just know it started with the historical tax credit program.
 
Q. So the first time you met Mr. Corso, you were the House Finance Chair; is that fair to say?

A. It may have been before I was House Finance Chair. I can't answer it only because it's really tied to the date of when the Historical Tax Credit Program started, and I don't remember that date.

Q. Okay. Other than the Historical Tax Credit Program, did you have any interactions with Mr. Corso?

A. Any interactions? You mean like if I met him in the corridor and said "hi" to him?

Q. No, I'm sorry, it's a bad question. Did you have a personal friendship, or do you have a personal friendship with Mr. Corso?

A. No.

Q. Has Mr. Corso ever held any fund-raisers for you?

A. No.

Q. Has he ever donated to any of your campaigns that you're aware of?

A. I don't remember.

Q. Have you ever met with Mr. Corso outside of the State House?

A. There were two occasions that I remember. But, again -- I once -- we were in a restaurant, and I think I had a drink with him at one time. They were in my family restaurant at one point, as well, that I sat down and had a drink with him with a group of people. And, again, I would see him at in the corridor, the State House, or at Venda Ravioli and stuff like that.

Q. All right. Did you select Mr. Corso to be on a working group, or subcommittee, to study tax credits?

A. No.

Q. Did you ever discuss tax credits as a means for the financing of 38 Studios with Mr. Corso?

A. No.

Q. Did you discuss tax credits as a means for financing 38 Studios with anyone else?

A. No.

Q. Do you recall that ever being explored as a means for financing?

A. No.

Q. Now, did you have any conversations with Mr. Corso regarding 38 Studios?

A. I do not remember.

Q. Do you know if Mr. Corso had any conversations with Speaker Fox regarding 38 Studios?

A. I have no idea.

Q. Do you recall Mr. Corso having any meetings with Speaker Fox about anything?

A. I don't know.

Q. Did Speaker Fox ever tell you he met with Mr.Corso?

A. On this issue?

Q. On 38 Studios.

A. No.

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What Costantino Did and Did Not Remember About Who Asked to Put in the Bill 

Page 45 

Okay. And who at EDC did you ask?

A. I don't remember --
Q. Okay.

A. -- who I asked, but I remember asking the question.

Q. Was this on a telephone conference or a meeting?

A. I don't remember.

Q. Now, I think you had said earlier you don't recall having any meetings with Keith Stokes regarding 38 Studios; is that correct?

A. Correct.

Q. Okay. Do you recall having any meetings with Keith Stokes regarding the Jobs Creation Guaranty Program?

A. I don't remember.

Q. Okay. Did you have any meetings with anyone from EDC regarding 38 Studios?

A. I don't remember.

Q. Did you have any meetings with anyone from EDC regarding the Rhode Island Jobs Creation Guaranty Program?

A. I don't remember. I don't remember.

Q. Did you have any meetings with Robert Stolzman regarding 38 Studios or the Jobs Creation Guaranty Program?

A. I do not remember.

Q. Okay. Did you have any meetings with Speaker Fox regarding --

A. I do not remember.

Q. Did you have any meetings with Governor Carcieri or anyone on his staff regarding either the Jobs Creation Guaranty Program or 38 Studios?

A. I don't remember.

Q. Did you have any meetings with anyone from the Senate regarding those issues?

A. 38 Studios, I don't remember. On the Loan Guarantee Program part of the process, if we can get back to the process.

Q. The process?

A. Obviously, the budget is an agreement between the House and Senate. So, we go through the articles together at meetings, so there was probably an agreement on the Loan Guarantee Program, and that's why it got into the budget.

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What Costantino Did and Did Not Remember About If you and Fox Kept it Secret form the Other House Members

Page 51


Q. Did you have any discussions with Speaker Fox to the effect that -- strike that. Did you have any conversations with Speaker Fox about keeping the interest of 38 Studios secret during this process?

A. I do not recall.

Q. Did you have any conversations with anyone else about keeping the interest of 38 Studios secret during the process of the adoption of the Rhode Island Jobs Creation Guaranty Program?

A. I do not recall.

Q. Did either you or the House Finance Office ever receive any financial information relating to 38 Studios?

A. I do not recall.

Q. Do you know if -- do you recall ever reviewing any financial information relating to 38 Studios?

A. No.

Q. Do you know if the staff at House Finance reviewed any financial information relating to 38 Studios?

A. No. Sorry, I do not know.

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What Costantino Did and Did Not Remember About a Key Memo

Page 56


Q. I've got what's been marked as Plaintiff's Exhibit 38, I'd like to provide to you. Now, this is an e-mail from Rob Stolzman dated Wednesday, March 31, 2010, to Keith Stokes, Michael Saul and Fred Hashway. I would direct your attention to the third paragraph. It says, "Michael Corso, for 38 Studios has already begun asking see the Kushner, and Sharon Reynolds from House Finance also called on behalf of Chairman Costantino, and we exchanged calls, so I imagine we will be under pressure to start circulating drafts tomorrow." Do you see that?

A. I see it.
 
Q. Have I read that accurately?

A. You have.

Q. Do you know why Sharon Reynolds would have been calling Rob Stolzman?

MR. DeSISTO: Objection, but, go ahead.

A. I do not.

Q. It indicates she was calling on your behalf?

A. Right.

Q. You don't recall?

A. No, I do not. Do I go through this memo?

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What Costantino Did and Did Not Remember About​ Key meetings with Corso

Page 72


Q. Okay. And this reads in the first paragraph, "Hello, all. I just got a call from Michael Corso. He told me that his post meeting meetings went well last night and that Gordon and Steve C want to put the 'moral ob program' in the FY10 supplemental budget, which currently might be heard as early as next week. This coincides with Sharon Reynolds calling me from the House Fiscal while I was at your office and leaving a message that Steve C said I'll have something for her (while she didn't say what or for the supplemental). I've returned her call. Good news." Do you recall having --


MR. SHEEHAN: I have to take this. Excuse me, it will take one second.


(SHORT RECESS WAS TAKEN)

MR. MARTLAND: Back on the record.

Q. Do you recall having a meeting on March -- the evening of March 30, 2010 with Gordon and Michael Corso?

A. I do not recall.

Q. Would you dispute that there was a meeting that occurred?

A. I'm not able to dispute or confirm it.

Q. Did the "moral ob program" get put into the FY2010 supplemental budget?

A. I do not remember.

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More than 200 times Costantino said he could not remember or recall key facts when asked during his deposition.

 
 

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