PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — In an opinion piece published online Saturday by The Providence Journal, former Red Sox ace and 38 Studios founder Curt Schilling slams former Governor Lincoln Chafee for the failure of the video game company that left taxpayers on the hook for nearly $90 million.
In the op-ed, Schilling calls Chafee an “inept, simple-minded phony,” and says while the former Governor promised to help make the 38 Studios deal work, he did nothing to aid in preventing its collapse.
“What he did, and did not do, for the people of Rhode Island, and especially for the employees of 38 Studios, is something I will not let people forget,” Schilling writes. His state-backed video game company went bankrupt in 2012.
Eyewitness News found at least one assertion in his op-ed that contradicts with facts from the time of the deal. In his commentary, Schilling writes that his company found out “less than two weeks prior to the move to Providence” that the bond amount had changed from $75 million to $49 million. He says the company had budgeted for that full amount. But a 2010 fact-sheet provided to Eyewitness News by the Economic Development Corporation two months before the bond deal closed stated the video game company would be receiving roughly $51 million, not the full $75 million.
Schilling’s scathing commentary against Lincoln Chafee contrasts him with his father, former Governor and Senator John Chafee, who was succeeded in the U.S. Senate by his son after his death. Schilling calls John Chafee “one of the great politicians we have had in New England.”
“I am proud that John Chafee was such a good and honorable man — so much so that all of his son Lincoln’s ineptness and stupidity could never tarnish his reputation,” Schilling wrote.
In response to the op-ed, Lincoln Chafee’s spokesperson sent a statement from him to Eyewitness News: “I am proud to have opposed the 38 Studios deal from the start, and look forward to recouping more Rhode Islander’s tax dollars through our lawsuit.”
An op-ed Chafee himself wrote for The Journal in September also offers his take on the failed deal.
“I was the state’s most vocal opponent of the 38 Studios deal from the first day it was announced,” Chafee wrote. “Regretfully, the taxpayers were in deep when I took the oath of office.”
Chafee wrote he did pledge to try and make the deal work once he took office. The op-ed does not respond to criticism that Chafee did not do enough to help prevent the company’s eventual collapse.
Once 38 Studios failed, Chafee initiated a lawsuit against Schilling and the other architects of the deal, including banks and financial advisers. All defendants except First Southwest have since settled with the state, which has now recouped $45 million.
Schilling has repeatedly denied interview requests from media outlets, promising he’ll tell the “whole story” of the 38 Studios deal in an “uncut” forum, such as on his own radio show.
Ted Nesi contributed to this report.