I-Team: 38 Studios bond payment hot topic for House budget vote

38 Studios Logo

Some Rhode Island House lawmakers said Thursday they are prepared to vote against an $8.7 billion budget plan because it covers a $12.3 million bond payment to 38 Studios.

The state and its taxpayers owe $89 million in principal and interest to investors who purchased moral obligation bonds which back former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's failed video game company.

It's been two years since the company went bankrupt but the payments remain, and there's mixed reaction on the House floor.

"The members of the House of Representatives understand that although it's a controversial issue they can separate the issue from the responsibility to taxpayers. And a responsible thing to do is to pay and the irresponsible thing to do is to punt and not to fulfill our obligation," said House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello.

Some lawmakers who argue the state should default are likely to try to nix the payment during the floor debate.

"Let's hope that our representatives listen to the people and vote not to pay this thing. We can't keep tolerating corruption at any point. I think corruption hurts Rhode Island more than anything. It's built in the system, but we have to get serious about it and say no," said Republican state Rep. Patricia Morgan, who represents Coventry, Warwick and West Warwick.