I-Team: RI lawmakers to take closer look at 38 Studios deal
CRANSTON, R.I. —
The NBC 10 I-Team revealed an internal 38 Studios document that shows the names of former House Speakers William Murphy and Gordon Fox, and Providence attorney Michael Corso, who stood to make millions on the deal through lucrative contracts.
The October 2009 document calls into question when state power brokers became acquainted with Curt Schilling's now-failed video company.
"I think that's key there, the date of October 2009, and you have those key players that were there, certainly now with former speaker Murphy signing some type of memorandum of confidentiality or memorandum of agreement. That sets the timetable much different," said state Rep. Karen MacBeth of Cumberland, chairperson of the House Oversight Committee, currently investigating the 38 Studios deal.
The document obtained by the I-Team shows non-disclosure agreements between people and companies involved with 38 Studios.
"I'm not commenting on anything on the advice of counsel and that's all I can say right now," said former House Speaker Fox when approached last week.
"That's not my document. I don't know whose document that is," Murphy said. When asked to explain why his name appeared on the same day as Corso's and Fox's, Murphy told NBC 10 to, "Ask 38 Studios."
Schilling's company went bankrupt in 2012.
The former Boston Red Sox pitcher and 13 defendants are now being sued by Rhode Island's Economic Development Corp. At stake, $75 million in taxpayer-backed bonds used to help finance the company.
Publicly, the discussions to move 38 Studios from Massachusetts to Rhode lsland are said to have started when Gov. Don Carcieri attended a fundraiser at Schilling's home in March 2010. However, the documents obtained by the NBC 10 I-Team show state leaders connecting with 38 Studios at least five months before the fundraiser.
"And so far, that's the earliest document that's shown up, Oct. 8, 2009. That tells us this has been in the works for a while and what's more peculiar two of the names on it -- Fox and Corso," said state Rep. Michael Chippendale of Coventry, during a recent taping of "10 News Conference."
MacBeth said the 2009 date has more meaning in hindsight.
"What that tells me is that when this came to the floor for a vote and I asked the question, 'Was there an entity being considered?' and I was told 'No', those players that were on the floor at that point knew and, again, we were lied to on that," MacBeth said.
House Speaker Nicholas Matiello recently said he would not support subpoena power to the House Oversight Committee as it investigates what, if anything, went wrong in the 38 Studios deal.