Fung Backs Independent Commission to Investigate 38 Studios

Dec 5, 2013

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, a Republican candidate for governor, is putting himself squarely behind state Senator Dawson Hodgson's latest call for an independent commission to investigate the state's losing investment in failed video-fame maker 38 Studios.

"I definitely support that idea," Fung said during a taping Thursday of RIPR's Bonus Q+A. "Right now, the taxpayers never had a vote on it, because it was a moral obligation bond, and I think I've been clear all throughout -- I don't support paying that 12 and a half million dollars back on our bond, based on the information that I know now."

Fung was referring to how the General Assembly, which approved a $2.5 million payment for 38 Studios' bondholders earlier this year, will be asked to approve payments of $12.5 million for the next seven years.

Legislative leaders have shown little interest in Hodgson's idea for an independent probe of 38 Studios, although the issue may resonate more in the election year of 2014 due to the exponentially higher cost for taxpayers. Hodgson is preparing for a GOP run for attorney general.

38 Studios was lured to Rhode Island in 2011 with a $75 million loan guaranty granted by the state Economic Development Corporation. The company started by former Red Sox star Curt Schilling went bankrupt last year.

Fung, who has joined other GOPers in balking at paying back the bonds for 38 Studios, announced his Republican run for governor last month. He faces a primary next September with Ken Block.

For more from Fung, tune in (or check online Friday morning) for Bonus Q+A, airing at 6:40 and 8:40 a.m., and Political Roundtable, airing at 5:40 and 7:40 a.m.