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RI senator seeks 38 Studios records to answer questions

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Rhode Island state Senator James Sheehan requested copies of "all depositions and exhibits" pertaining to the civil lawsuit filed against the people and companies involved in the $75 million loan guarantee provided to 38 Studios.

According to a press release from the Rhode Island General Assembly, Sheehan believes "this information will help answer many questions still left unanswered about how the ill-fated deal came about."

Sheehan sent a letter earlier this week to Thomas E. Carlotto, the attorney from Shechtman Halperin Savage representing the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (formerly known as the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation). Sheehan, who is chairman of the state's Committee on Government Oversight, plans to present those documents to the Committee.

"I would like to make these records available for review by the Government Oversight Committee to help complete the public record as well as to help policymakers avoid a recurrence of such a failed deal in the future," he wrote.

Sheehan also explained that investigations and the lawsuit have hindered the Committee's work.

"I believe there is a way to accomplish this while minimizing any potential harm to the lawsuit."

"Public hearings involving witnesses to the 38 Studios deal potentially could have interfered with the criminal investigations or potentially injured the state's ability in ongoing efforts to recover monies from civil litigation against those responsible for the failure of that deal," he wrote.

Reviewing the documents within the committee, Sheehan believes, is a way for lawmakers to learn what transpired while minimizing harm to the ongoing lawsuit, which the state filed in November 2012 against executives at 38 Studios and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation.

"I believe there is a way to accomplish this while minimizing any potential harm to the lawsuit, and that is to review witness depositions and exhibits," he wrote.

The state of Rhode Island backed a $75 million loan guarantee for former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's development studio in 2010, designed to bring the developer and 450 jobs to the state. 38 Studios declared bankruptcy in June 2012, having shipped Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning but not its unfinished massively multiplayer online role-playing game codenamed Project Copernicus. The state filed suit maintaining that those involved in the loan guarantee did not fully disclosed the associated risks.

Earlier this month, the Rhode Island House of Representatives approved a bill that encourages settlements in the lawsuit. The Rhode Island Senate approved the bill in late January. Many of 38 Studios' remaining assets were auctioned off last year - including a recently discovered Rise of Nations mobile game.