PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island lawmakers are planning to subpoena former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling to testify about the deal between the state and his failed video-game company 38 Studios, a spokesman said Monday.
House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Karen MacBeth, who is leading a new round of hearings into the 38 Studios debacle, asked Schilling to come testify before her panel voluntarily. But Schilling declined to do so last week in a letter sent by his lawyer, who cited the state’s ongoing civil lawsuit against Schilling and other architects of the 38 Studios deal.
“In light of the pendency of that litigation, we have counselled Mr. Schilling that it would not be prudent for him to accept your invitation to appear at those hearings while any such litigation is outstanding,” the lawyer, Edward J. Hayes, wrote to MacBeth.
The House Oversight Committee was already scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss moral-obligation bonds, the type of debt issued to lure 38 Studios to Rhode Island in 2010. Larry Berman, a spokesman for House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, said the panel now plans to also take up the Schilling subpoena.
“At the House Oversight Committee meeting on Thursday, it will be on the agenda to ask the speaker to issue a subpoena to Curt Schilling,” Berman said. “Should the committee vote to approve such a request, the Speaker will grant it.”
Eyewitness News reached out to Schilling via Twitter to get his reaction into potentially being subpoenaed. He responded, bringing up former Gov. Lincoln Chafee.
Once chaffee’s charade of litigation goes to the dump no, not one issue with it. Everyone deserves to hear the truth finally”
Mattiello had previously opposed issuing subpoenas to over the 38 Studios affair, saying the General Assembly is not an investigative body. But he relented in recent weeks after the release of previously sealed court documents from the civil suit showed Rhode Island leaders were secretly involved with the company earlier than they had publicly let on.
“To our knowledge a speaker has never issued a subpoena – the Teitz commission issued subpoenas but that was not done by the speaker,” Berman said, referring to the panel created by then-Gov. Bruce Sundlun to investigate the 1990s credit-union crisis. “That was an executive commission that had legislators on it and it had subpoena power.”
“The law to give the speaker subpoena power passed in 1983 and we believe it has never been exercised,” he said.
38 Studios went bankrupt in 2012, leaving Rhode Island taxpayers on the hook for roughly $89 million in principal and interest payments on the bonds issued to lure the company to Rhode Island.
An earlier version of this story said the House Oversight Committee will meet Tuesday; it will meet Thursday.