RI taxpayer blunder: 38 Studios

The former headquarters for 38 Studios in downtown Providence.

There were high, and ultimately unrealistic hopes when former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said he wanted to move his video company, 38 Studios, to Rhode Island.

Top lawmakers first visited the Massachusetts-based company in 2009.

In the spring of 2010, Gov. Don Carcieri directed his appointments to the Economic Development Corp. to make the deal happen. It required the legislature to pass a bill authorizing the EDC to sell bonds for job creation, though lawmakers were not aware most of the money would be steered toward Schilling's company.

About $75 million in bonds were sold to bankroll 38 Studios, and it moved into downtown Providence.

Hundreds of jobs were created at the company as it grew throughout 2011, but by the spring of 2012 it was running out of money.

By June it was over. The company was bankrupt. The doors were locked, and all the employees were all gone.

What remained was the debt payment for the bonds, and that was a lot of money.

Principal and interest was $110 million. But after money from a reserved fund was expended, and two years of payments by the legislature, and a recent $4.4 million settlement, what's left for taxpayers to swallow is $73.3 million.

Added to the overruns for the computer upgrade at the Division of Motor Vehicles, the millions outlaid for non-existent tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge, and faulty construction at the state Training School, the total for taxpayers is $85.4 million.