Latest Subpoenas Withdrawn In 38 Studios Case

Aug 3, 2014

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello on Tuesday told state reps that the law firm representing Adler Pollock & Sheehan "has withdrawn the subpoenas it was preparing for members of the General Assembly to offer deposition testimony in the civil litigation involving the Job Creation Guarantee Program of 2010."

The latest development comes after at least two current state representatives were contacted regarding subpoenas in the state's lawsuit over the failure of 38 Studios.

House spokesman Larry Berman previously declined to identify the subpoenaed reps, who, he says, told him they didn't want to be identified.

Berman says the lawmakers have been subpoenaed by Robert Stolzman, a former lawyer for the agency then known as the state Economic Development Corporation, and Adler Pollock & Sheehan. (Note: In a version of this story published Monday afternoon, Berman misidentified the source of the subpoenas. He says a lawmaker provided him with inaccurate information.)

In an email sent Saturday evening, Speaker Mattiello advised state reps that a House member had been contacted regarding a subpoena to testify "in the ongoing 38 Studios litigation," and that more subpoenas might follow.

Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

"We are formulating a plan to provide legal counsel for all members who may be asked to testify," Mattiello wrote in the email. "I anticipate that other members of the General Assembly who voted on the 2010 Job Creation Guarantee Program legislation may also be subpoenaed."

Berman says the speaker's office, following Mattiello's email, contacted the attorney general's office and was reminded of plans for two lawyers hired by the AG's office, Marc DeSisto and Lauren Jones, to represent lawmakers appearing in the 38 Studios case, at a rate of $150 an hour. Berman says DeSisto is representing House members in the case, and Jones senators.

On Saturday, Mattiello closed his email by asking reps who receive subpoenas to "please contact the Speaker's office to discuss legal representation."

The House version of the Job Creation Guarantee Program bill carried the names of three reps: former rep Steven Costantino, now secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services; Helio Melo (D-East Providence); and former rep Jon Brien (D-Woonsocket). The only lawmaker to vote against the final version of the bill was former rep Robert Watson (R-East Greenwich). Many reps have said they had no idea the Job Creation Guarantee Program would be used to lure 38 Studios from Massachusetts to Rhode Island.

The board of the agency then known as the state Economic Development Corporation subsequently voted to approve a $75 million loan guaranty for 38 Studios. The video-game company founded by former Red Sox star Curt Schilling went bankrupt in 2012, leaving taxpayers on the hook for about $90 million.

The state sued 14 individuals and entities in an attempt to cut those losses. The 38 Studios case also remains under investigation by state police.

This post has been updated.