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Official drops out of lawsuit, but still no end in sight to 38 Studios mess

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The legal mess surrounding the failure of 38 Studios has one less plaintiff, though it doesn't resolve the state of Rhode Island's efforts to recover the $75 million loan to the studio for which it is still on the hook.

Keith W. Stokes, the former director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, is no longer suing the lawyers who advised him, basically. Stokes and his deputy, J. Michael Saul, crafted the guaranteed loan to 38 Studios, started by the former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.

When 38 went bust in 2012, the size of the loan and the fact it was guaranteed by taxpayers morphed into a scandal, and Rhode Island's legislature and economic development office has gone after those connected to the studio and the loan. Stokes and Saul, in turn, went after the attorneys who advised them and their law firms last week, though Stokes now has reconsidered and left the suit. Saul is still suing them.

"I decided to dismiss the suit relating to the attorneys today because it was clear that it was going to be a distraction to the main lawsuit, and I cannot devote the very limited resources I have to prosecute the litigation," Stokes told The Providence Journal in a statement. "While the personal and financial burden of defending the suit brought by EDC is devastating, I am hopeful that a public trial will allow for the full disclosure of all the facts and persons involved surrounding the 38 Studios transaction."

Stokes called the suit against him politically motivated.

The first settlement in the loan fiasco was set to be made until Stokes and Saul filed a separate lawsuit last week,calling the state law designed to extract those settlements unfair and unconstitutional.

The court-appointed receiver responsible for maintaining what's left of 38 Studios says it costs $15,000 a day to keep its assets in usable shape. 38 Studios had been working on an MMO set in the Kingdoms of Amalur canon when it went bust. "We've got what amounts to, in some respects, a playable game," the receiver said last week. "Does that mean you can buy a disc and pop it into your computer and run a game? No."

You can follow along with the continuing developments between former members of 38 Studios, the RICC and Rhode Island in Polygon's StoryStream.