Former Boston Red Sox pitcher and 38 Studios founder Curt Schilling has agreed to settle with the state of Rhode Island over a lawsuit that accused the company of failing to fulfill its promises after it received a $75 million development loan from the state. Schilling has not admitted liability, calling the investigation a “fake-ass witch hunt,” according to the Boston Globe, but he nevertheless agreed to settle for $2.5 million.
Between his two World Series victories with the Boston Red Sox, Schilling founded Green Monster Games in 2006, which was renamed 38 Studios, with the intent of developing a massively multiplayer online RPG in the wake of World of Warcraft‘s immense success. Following his retirement from baseball in 2009, 38 Studios announced two initial projects: the MMO, and a single-player RPG. The latter, which featured art by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane and writing from noted fantasy author R.A. Salvatore, became Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
In 2010, in an effort to bring more skilled jobs into the state, Rhode Island offered 38 Studios a package that included $75 million in bonds. However, in May 2012 – -just three months after the release of Reckoning — 38 Studios defaulted on a $1.1 million interest payment. Shortly thereafter, the studio shuttered entirely, declaring bankruptcy.
After auctioning off the studio’s IP, Rhode Island got the Securities Exchange Commission involved to investigate culpability in the studio’s taxpayer-funded failure and allegations of fraud. Schilling, for his part, has failed to acknowledge fault in the studio’s failure. He blamed then-Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee for making “devastating” remarks about the studio’s health, driving off theoretical investors that could have saved them.
Four years after the studio’s closure, Rhode Island officials have opted to finally settle for a mere $2.5 million now rather than dragging the studio through a costly court proceeding and risk leaving them with nothing left to collect.
“This financial settlement only underscores that there’s been no political accountability,” Monique Chartier, a spokeswoman for the conservative Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity told the Boston Globe. “The voters don’t know any more than they did years ago.” Chartier’s concern is that by settling and not releasing the gathered evidence, the state of Rhode Island is obfuscating its own role in the embarrassing waste of public resources.
The agreed settlement was announced on September 19, and is currently awaiting court approval