don carcieri

Hurricane Joaquin blows toward Rhode Island as the state remains vexed by its own ring of challenges: the hangover of 38 Studios, trying to modernize state agencies, financially troubled fire districts, you name it. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As always your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

There will be a day when Rhode Island moves beyond 38 Studios, but that day is a long time off. The public release Thursday of tens of thousands of pages of documents is just one more step toward trying to get a better understanding of Rhode Island's most recent scandal. So with that in mind, thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me all week on the twitters. Here we go.

John Bender

Former Gov. Lincoln Chafee, now seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, weighed in this afternoon on the release of the 38 Studios court documents.

It was Chafee, a vigorous opponent of the 38 Studios deal when he was running for governor in 2010, who later hired lawyer Max Wistow to file suit against principals in the deal. 38 Studios went bankrupt, leaving taxpayers holding the bag for $75 million in state-backed bonds to the company run by former Boston Red Sox star pitcher Curt Schilling.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

During a closed session on June 9, 2010, the board of Rhode Island's Economic Development Corporation received a briefing on what then-Governor Don Carcieri suggested was a "fairly significant transaction" that had presented itself to the EDC.

Governor-elect Gina Raimondo has decided to keep A.T. Wall, Rhode Island’s longtime corrections director, and the nation’s longest serving corrections head, in his post.

Wall has served as director of corrections since 2000. A graduate of Yale University and  Yale Law School, Wall is a native Rhode Islander who worked as a prosecutor in Manhattan after law school. He is known as erudite and thoughtful and is well-respected within the corrections community locally and nationally.

A Superior Court judge is scheduled Tuesday to consider the first settlement growing out of the state’s lawsuit over 38 Studios. The settlement calls for the state to get a payment of $4.3 million.

After 38 Studios went bankrupt in 2012, the state sued 14 defendants to try to cut down the roughly $90 million owed by taxpayers. The first proposed settlement in the case was announced late last month. It involves the law firm of Moses Afonso Ryan, which served as bond counsel for the ill-fated 38 Studios project.

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.

Governor Lincoln Chafee has delivered his final state budget proposal and given his final State of the State speech. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses Chafee’s Last Hurrah.

The cliché says: show me your budget and I’ll figure out your priorities. When it comes to Gov. Chafee’s final budget, that may be a trite description, but it’s true.


What is the Tea Party’s future in Rhode Island Republican politics? Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay talks tea about two announced GOP candidates for governor.

Scott MacKay’s commentary can be heard every Monday on Morning Edition at 6:35 and 8:35 and on All Things Considered at 5:50. You can also follow his political analysis and reporting at our ‘On Politics’ blog at


Governor Lincoln Chafee is winning praise on his record of appointing women to state boards and commissions.

Chafee was cited by the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island for living up to a campaign pledge of putting more women in state positions.

A report by the Women’s Fund says that women hold 34 percent of state board and commission appointments.

That’s up from just 15 percent when Chafee took over the governor’s office from Don Carcieri in 2011.

Of the 1,071 appointments made by Chafee, 441 have been women.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Representative Karen MacBeth (D-Cumberland) wants the House Oversight Committee to use its subpoena power to extract documents and compel appearances by key figures in Rhode Island's losing investment in failed video game maker 38 Studios.

The state’s lawsuit over failed video game company 38 Studios will move forward. Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein dismissed some of the counts, but allowed key parts of the state’s lawsuit to move ahead.

Even President Obama is talking about rising college tuitions as students return to campus. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay  talks about what this all means for our flagship public university, the University of Rhode Island.

The days are getting shorter, the breezes off our cobalt coastline are cooler. The rhythms of fall return. In our cozy corner of New England, a timeless harbinger of the season is students thronging college campuses.

file / RIPR

Deepwater Wind is looking for a new location to connect its offshore wind farm to the mainland. The original plan was to run a line from its Block Island wind farm to Narragansett’s Town Beach.

Residents complained about the plan, and the town council voted to suspend talks with Deepwater back in May. Deepwater Wind insisted that the lines would be buried ten feet underground. After meeting with residents back in June, Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski withdrew an application request on Friday.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of the Narragansett Smoke Shop raid --- an event that turned into a brawl in which tribal members and state troopers were injured.  The tribe marked the occasion at the former site of the smoke shop in Charlestown.

Ten years may have passed since dozens of state troopers stormed the Narragansett smoke shop in Charlestown, but hard feelings remain.  At a 10th anniversary event Sunday, tribal members denounced what they still consider an excessive use of force.  Randy Noka is tribal ambassador: