House committee votes to subpoena Schilling on 38 Studios

Q&A: How much will 38 Studios cost RI taxpayers when all is said and done?

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island lawmakers voted unanimously Thursday to issue what appears to be their first-ever subpoena, demanding that former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling testify about his failed video-game company’s deal with the state.

The House Oversight Committee voted 9-0 to request that House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, who has the power to issue a subpoena, issue one for Schilling.

Mattiello’s office said the speaker plans to sign the subpoena on Friday. However, House Oversight Chairwoman Karen MacBeth acknowledged there are doubts about whether a subpoena issued by Rhode Island lawmakers will actually carry force in Massachusetts, where Schilling lives.

“Once the subpoena is issued, we’ll see if he comes to testify or if it becomes held up in Massachusetts with their laws,” she said.

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 through his lawyer, who sent a letter that cited the state’s ongoing civil lawsuit against Schilling and other architects of the 38 Studios deal.

Asked about his willingness to testify on Twitter last week, Schilling told Eyewitness News: “Once chaffee’s [sic] charade of litigation goes to the dump no, not one issue with it. Everyone deserves to hear the truth finally.” He was referring to the lawsuit, which was initiated by former Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

Mattiello had previously opposed issuing subpoenas 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.

Mattiello’s office said last week it is not aware of any previous occasion on which the speaker issued a subpoena. The law authorizing him to do so was enacted in 1983.

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.

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