Pell, a Democratic candidate for governor, had signaled early in his campaign that he might not support including $12.5 million in the next state budget to pay investors who bought the 38 Studios bonds.
His two Democratic opponents, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, had already been on record at the time as saying the state should pay back the money.
On Monday, however, Pell campaign manager Devin Driscoll said his candidate has now come around to the same view as Taveras and Raimondo.
“Clay does not believe Rhode Island should default on its moral obligation bonds when they come due,” Driscoll told WPRI.com in an email. “38 Studios was a terrible mistake – and another example of why we need to change the culture of politics in Rhode Island.”
Driscoll said Pell would work to restore “faith in state government,” and added: “In the meantime, Clay believes the state must strongly pursue recovery of its original investment to the fullest extent of the law.”
Pell’s comments came the same day Standard & Poor’s threatened to downgrade Rhode Island’s bond ratings if lawmakers decline to pay the 38 Studios bonds. The two Republican candidates for governor – Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and Barrington businessman Ken Block – both oppose paying the bonds, which were authorized in 2010 by former Republican Gov. Don Carcieri’s administration.