38 Studios


A bill slated to be considered Tuesday by the House Finance Committee would create a commission to investigate loan programs like the one that funded 38 Studios. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has opposed the idea of lawmakers using subpoenas to probe 38 Studios.

The bill sponsored by state Representative Michael Chippendale (R-Foster) would create a nine-member panel to investigate unsuccessful state loan programs. Chippendale said it’s important to press for answers even if the state budget being voted on later this week includes money to pay back 38 Studios’ investors.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

On a 14-2 margin, the House Finance Committee Thursday approved an $8.7 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July first.  Lawmakers say they hope tax cuts will bolster Rhode Island’s underperforming economy.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Representative Frank Ferri (D-Warwick), one of three Democrats running for lieutenant governor, joined Political Roundtable this week discuss his campaign and other issues, including 38 Studios and the Democratic race for governor.

Aaron Read / RIPR

The House Finance Committee is expected to vote this Thursday on a new state budget for the fiscal year beginning July first. The General Assembly traditionally makes significant revisions to the governor’s proposed spending plan.

A Superior Court judge has declined to quash a subpoena calling for former House speaker Gordon Fox to answer questions related to the state’s lawsuit over 38 Studios.

The ruling by Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein means that Fox must attend a deposition conducted by one of the 14 defendants being sued by the state over 38 Studios.

A variety of speakers from across the Rhode Island political spectrum will hold a Statehouse rally this afternoon to urge the General Assembly to oppose paying off the 38 Studios bonds.

Among those speaking are Larry Girouard of the R.I. Taxpayers group, spokes people from the R.I. Libertarian Party, the R.I. Green Party and Occupy Providence, the local offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Democratic Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and his Republican challenger, state Senator Dawson Hodgson (R-North Kingstown), are sparring over Hodgson’s first campaign commercial. Hodgson’s radio ad uses 38 Studios to criticize Kilmartin.

The spot states in part:38 Studios --- what a disaster. You’d think that Attorney General Peter Kilmartin would tell us which insiders got us into this mess and how much money they made.”

With all the attention given by R.I. media to economic inequality, one wonders why serious discussion of   solutions has gone AWOL.

Just about everybody agrees that inequality has grown for the past three decades. With Rhode Island’s anemic recovery from the Great Recession, the problem is deeper in our small corner of southeastern New England.

Wikimedia Commons

Once again, Rhode Islanders are making national news for the low regard we have for our tiny state. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to stop taking Rhode Island  for granted.

The Gallup poll discovered that Rhode Island is the state least appreciated by its own residents. Just 18 percent of Rhode Islanders said our small slice of southeastern New England was the best place or one of the best places to live.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Majority Leader John DeSimone plan to meet with representatives of two leading credit-rating agencies in New York City Wednesday to gather information about the possible consequences of not paying back bondholders in the failed video game company 38 Studios.


The judge overseeing the state’s lawsuit over 38 Studios warned lawyers Monday about what he called the dribbling out of information. The state is suing 14 defendants to try to cut taxpayers’ losses from the failed video-game company.

Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein gently advised lawyers on both sides of the case against the early release of facts that he calls better suited for discussion at trial. That came after Silverstein heard arguments about whether to release documents connected to the case. The judge did not make an immediate decision on that question.

Thanks for stopping by for my Friday column. You can follow me through the week on the twitters and your thoughts and feedback are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's head in.

While economists and media outlets from Providence to Seattle engage in hand-wringing over inequality, Rhode Island’s political leaders seem to have no solutions at all. Smith Hill is bogged down in ridiculous debates over the master lever and the never-ending tsunami that is 38 Studios. Yet, we don’t hear much of anything about raising the state’s minimum wage from the current $8 an hour rate.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin joins Bonus Q+A to talk about 38 Studios, Deepwater Wind, gun violence and gun control, and a host of other issues.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin joins Political Roundtable to discuss warnings to the state from credit-rating agencies over 38 Studios; the debating over repaying the company's debt; and other issues.