PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling
on Friday called a lawsuit brought against him by Rhode Island economic
development officials "political" and denied wrongdoing in connection
with a $75 million state loan guarantee the state gave his failed video
game company, 38 Studios.
The Rhode Island Economic Development
Corp. on Thursday sued Schilling, some of its former employees and
others, saying they committed fraud and other acts that misled the state
into approving the deal. 38 Studios laid off all its employees and
declared bankruptcy earlier this year.
In his first public comments on the
lawsuit Friday, Schilling, in a written statement sent to The Associated
Press, said the EDC's decision was made "with its eyes wide open and
with full understanding of any risks."
Schilling said he had not yet seen the
lawsuit, but believes he's being sued in part because of critical
comments he made about Gov. Lincoln Chafee's handling of the situation.
The deal with 38 Studios was struck in
2010, under the leadership of former Republican Gov. Don Carcieri.
Chafee, an independent, was harshly critical of the deal as a candidate,
but said he wanted to see it succeed once he became governor.
Schilling has said Chafee didn't do
enough to help 38 Studios stay afloat. Chafee opposed giving the company
more financial support after it began having money troubles.
"I am confident that when the claims
against me are adjudicated, it will be determined that the claims were
brought against me for political reasons, not based on any alleged
wrongdoing on my part," Schilling wrote Friday.
Chafee, who serves as the chairman of
the board at the EDC, would not comment on Schilling's statement, and
when asked about the lawsuit Friday would only say, "My job is to
protect the taxpayers of Rhode Island."
The lawsuit asks that Schilling and
others pay back what is owed for 38 Studios, an amount that could top
$100 million when interest is included. It also asks for triple damages.
Schilling on Friday also held out the possibility of filing a lawsuit
of his own.
"To the extent my attorneys advise me
that these claims were improperly filed, I will consider taking such
action as necessary against those filing the claims," he said.
Also Friday, sate police col. Steven
O'Donnell told The AP a criminal investigation of the deal continues.
He said he had read part of the lawsuit and learned details that were
new to him, although he would not be specific. He would not say whether
he believes the state probe of the company will lead to criminal
charges, or give a timetable on when the investigation might finish.
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