Ex-Rep. Costantino agrees to testify on 38 Studios deal

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Former House Finance Committee Chairman Steven Costantino has agreed to testify before the House Oversight Committee as it investigates the state’s controversial $75 million deal with 38 Studios.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello signed subpoenas Tuesday night prompting Costantino and Providence attorney Michael Corso to testify before the committee. On Wednesday, Costantino’s lawyer sent a letter to Chairwoman Karen MacBeth that said he’s willing to give testimony without the need for a subpoena.

Costantino issued a statement in late September minimizing his role in the deal with Curt Schilling’s failed video game company.

“My only involvement in the matter in RI was because of my former position in the RI legislature,” he wrote. “I did not play any role in bringing the company to RI as did others in government. I was tasked with handling the legislation affecting the company by my superiors.”

Court documents unsealed in September revealed Costantino was credited with the idea of adding $75 million to the program that authorized the 38 Studios loan.

Costantino left Rhode Island in February to become the commissioner of Vermont’s Department of Health Access.

Michael Lepizzera, a lawyer for Michael Corso, said in a scathing text message that it’s unlikely his client will abide by the subpoena.

Corso is a well-connected lawyer and tax broker who was at the center of the 38 Studios deal and made seven figures through a patchwork of contracts, according to the court documents.

Along with approving subpoenas for Costantino and Corso, the House Finance Committee also voted Tuesday night to reissue a subpoena for Schilling. The committee’s first subpoena commanded Schilling to testify Tuesday, but it expired after a constable wasn’t able to serve it since Schilling lives in Massachusetts.

Tim White contributed to this report.

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