38 Studios

Welcome back to my Friday politics + media column. As always, you can reach me at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's head in.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Democratic candidate for treasurer Ernest Almonte joins the Roundtable to discuss lingering questions about 38 Studios; the state pension fund's stake in hedge funds; and how John Robitaille could remake the GOP field for governor in 2014.


A legislative committee Wednesday held the fourth in an ongoing series of oversight hearings on Rhode Island’s investment in failed video game company 38 Studios. Committee members had different views on the value of the meeting.

Don Boorman / RIPR

The House Oversight Committee is set Wednesday to examine the state’s losing investment in failed video game maker 38 Studios.

The General Assembly ended the legislative session last month. But members of the House Oversight Committee are returning to Smith Hill  to examine Rhode Island’s misadventure with 38 Studios.

The discussion will focus on documents obtained from the state Economic Development Corporation about the EDC’s approval of bonds for 38 Studios. The video game company was lured here with a $75 million  state-backed guaranteed loan in 2010.

Bonus Q+A: Gordon Fox

Jul 19, 2013

Seldom does a politician have a chance to not only change history but the trajectory of his own life. That was the case this year with Rhode Island Speaker of the House Gordon Fox, who spearheaded the same sex marriage bill that passed the General Assembly after years of defeat. Fox, an openly gay politician, discussed how the law will affect his own life in an interview with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Flo Jonic and Scott MacKay.

John Bender / RIPR

Same sex marriage. Tolling the Sakonnet River Bridge. The 38 Studios taxpayer bailout. Those are some of the topics we touch on this morning. Our regular host, Ian Donnis, is out, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Flo Jonic is filling it.

The Bottom Line: Legislative Recap

Jul 12, 2013

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling "The Bottom Line." Each Friday they look at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.

This week Dave and mull over the recent legislative session. They discuss attempts to restructure the state’s Economic Development Corporation, historic tax credits and the new health insurance commissioner.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

State Representative Michael Marcello (D-Scituate), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, takes part in Bonus Q+A to discuss Oversight's hearings on 38 Studios, transit funding, the legislative process, and other issues.

State Representative Michael Marcello (D-Scituate), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, joins the Roundtable this week to discuss the bumpy end to the House session; new tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge; repaying bonds for 38 Studios; and other issues.

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is supporting the General Assembly’s inclusion of money to pay back bondholders who invested in failed video game maker 38 Studios.  The legislative budget includes two and a half million dollars for the bondholders.

Opponents say not paying back the bonds will be less costly than coughing up a total of 90 million dollars over 8 years. They point to how Rhode Island isn’t legally required to pay back moral obligation bonds. But Taveras agreed with those who say that not paying the money would hurt the state’s credit rating and reputation.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras joins the Roundtable this week to discuss the legislative budget; paying back 38 Studios bonds; immigration legislation in Congress; and his political future.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Rhode Island House of Representations Wednesday passed a budget that includes the first repayment for money owed over the state’s losing investment in video-game maker 38 Studios.  Taxpayers remain on the hook for a total of about 90 million dollars.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Rhode Island House resumed the budget debate Wednesday afternoon. It's the second day that followed an unusual defeat for House Speaker Gordon Fox which sent the state's spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1 into uncertainty.

On Wednesday the House voted 67-4  on a bill that freezes tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge until February 1, 2014. The legislation also creates a commission to study how East Bay bridges are funded. And a provision in the House budget blocks any toll hikes for Newport's Pell Bridge.

Legislative testimony shows that independent monitoring wasn’t put in place for 38 Studios before bonds were sold to fund the ill-fated video company.  The state Economic Development Corporation told investors that IBM would perform third-party monitoring of 38 Studios.

The issue of independent monitoring was discussed during a House Oversight Committee meeting earlier this month. In a document similar to a prospectus, the EDC told investors it hired IBM in September 2010 to monitor 38 Studios’ performance.

Don Boorman / RIPR

Will Rhode Island ever get beyond the shadow of the 38 Studios-Curt Schilling disaster. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on why state government so far has not developed options for putting this behind us.

President John F. Kennedy said famously that ``life is unfair.’’ Some men,’’ he noted, ‘’are killed in a war, some men are wounded and some men never leave the country.’’