State Police detectives poised to review docs from 38 Studios lawsuit

Official: 'If there is information out there we don't have already we want to see it'

SCITUATE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island State Police has a nine-member team poised to review the thousands of pages of documents from the 38 Studios lawsuit set to be released by the courts, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

Lt. Colonel Todd Catlow said the State Police Financial Crimes Unit has been charged with combing through the material.

“We have six sworn members and three civilian members that will be looking through those documents,” Catlow said. “Their goal is to uncover activity that would support a criminal charge.”

Catlow said the Financial Crimes Unit has been working an on-going probe into the controversial 38 Studios deal for years, making those investigators intimately familiar with the case.

“Some of the information we may already have through our own investigation,” Catlow said. “If there is information out there we don’t have already we want to see it, we want to see where it takes us.”

Late last month R.I. Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein ordered the materials be unsealed as requested by Max Wistow, the state’s lead attorney. Among the documents set to see the light of day are depositions among key players including disgraced former House Speaker Gordon Fox.

As Target 12 first reported, Silverstein issued an order late Tuesday seeking any objections to the release of certain material. The judge has scheduled two hearings for next week to hear any concerns and ultimately decide if some documents will remain under wraps.

Catlow said the state police could petition the court through the attorney general’s office to release any material that may remain sealed.

On Tuesday Superior Court Clerk Henry Kinch Jr. said the documents could get released next week. Kinch said they are leaning toward providing a link on the judiciary website for people to review for themselves.

“The Financial Crimes Unit has been in touch with the clerk’s office to get some type of idea on how they are going to proceed,” said Catlow.

In court last month Wistow said the lawsuit has involved more than 100 deposition days and 67 witnesses. The lawsuit was filed against the architects of the 38 Studios deal by the Chafee administration in November 2012, a few months after the company filed for bankruptcy. The failed deal left taxpayers on the hook to repay about $89 million on bonds floated to lure the company to Rhode Island.

Catlow said the long-running investigation into 38 Studios is still active.

“We’ve reviewed it with the attorney general’s office,” he said. “We’ve worked hand in hand with the attorney general, with his staff and this investigation is basically in the review stages at this point.”

Tim White ( ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter: @TimWhiteRI

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