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Rhode Island pursues 38 Studios figures on lobbying law grounds

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

38 Studios founder Curt Schilling, plus a board member of the defunct studio and and two others have been ordered to appear before a hearing in Rhode Island to determine if they violated that state's laws by lobbying for a $75 million state loan without registering with the state as lobbyists.

The development is the latest in the ongoing cleanup of 38 Studios' 2012 collapse. Schilling's studio set up shop in Rhode Island to get a $75 million loan guaranteed by the state, and with the money developed Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and started work on an MMO based on the Amalur canon.

But when Reckoning came nowhere near selling enough to keep the operation afloat, it folded, and the involvement of state funds in 38 Studios' activities has led to numerous legislative inquiries since.

Schilling, an all-star pitcher in a 19-year Major League Baseball career, has gone through personal bankruptcy in the aftermath. He, along with attorney Michael Corso, 38 Studios board member Thomas Zaccagnino, and Keith Stokes, the former executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, have been ordered to retroactively register themselves as lobbyists with the state and appear at a Tuesday hearing.

The four had not registered as lobbyists with the Rhode Island secretary of state in 2010, when the loan was secured. "It is our goal to uncover any lobbying violations, which may have occurred without our knowledge, which is why our office has sent letters of inquiry to all parties who we feel may have been involved in lobbying activity, and may be in violation of lobbying laws," wrote Rhode Island Secretary of State Ralph Mollis.

Rhode Island has recently debated willfully defaulting on the $89 million debt it guaranteed on 38 Studios' behalf, but the state ultimately approved paying $12.3 million for the next installment on the loan.

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