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EDC Head Resigns, Ehrhardt Calls For Loan Caps Following 38 Studios Controversy

The head of the state's Economic Development Corporation has stepped down following the controversy of Curt Schilling's 38 Studios.

Keith Stokes has stepped down as the head of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation amid the controversy surrounding Curt Schilling’s videogame company 38 Studios, according to the Providence Journal.

The company, headed by the former Red Sox pitcher, defaulted on a $1.125-million payment to the state on May 1. On Wednesday, Schilling and members of 38 Studios met with state and EDC officials in an emergency meeting that was closed to the public. In 2010, EDC approved a $75-million guaranteed loan to the videogame company following 38 Studios’ promise to bring 450 jobs to the state by the end of 2012 and moved its business from Massachusetts to Providence.

Stokes, a longtime board member of the EDC, was appointed by former Gov. Donald Carcieri in January 2010 and reappointed by Gov. Lincoln Chafee when he took office the following year.

"As a lifelong Rhode Islander, I am grateful for the opportunity to have served at the RIEDC," said Stokes.  "I have dedicated my entire career to a state I love very much with the desire to create a better place for Rhode Islanders to succeed and to raise their families. I will continue to be involved in the future."

A Newport native, Stokes said he plans to spend time with his family for now. 

"I thank Keith for his service to Rhode Island, not only at the helm of the EDC, but also as a former Board member of that agency and as the long-time Executive Director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce," said Chafee in an official statement issued Thursday morning.

The Providence Journal also reports that has asked Colin P. Kane – head of the Route 195 Redevelopment District Commission – to replace Stokes.

Amidst the 38 Studios dilemma, State Rep. Laurence Ehrhardt (R – North Kingstown) introduced legislation to the General Assembly Wednesday that would prohibit the EDC from providing loan guarantees of more than $10 million to any one entity – a measure Ehrhardt attempted to submit two years prior. According to the Journal, Ehrhardt said he was dissuaded from proposing the cap at that time by Stokes who told him it would “upset a transaction” that the EDC was working on.

“I feel that I was substantially betrayed,” Ehrhardt told the Journal.

Paul Marshall May 21, 2012 at 12:26 PM
@Common Sense: If you are a REPUBLICAN IN RI and run for office you get enormous abuse freom liberals like NKGOP. Guys like him do NOT stop at smears like you see here. Guys and women like him regularly key our cars, egg our houses, steal our signs, lie cheat and threaten. Don't take my word for it. Ask ANY incumbent or candidate. The police and A.G.'s office calls this "Campaign Hijinks". It's intimidation. It's WRONG. But "nice folks" like NKGOP here (who hide behind phoney names) think it's fun. And a good way to help their friends....but, is it? The unions put these simple-minded thugs up to this behavior. (Do you really think they have a half a brain?) In the "UNION STEWARDS PRAYER" they acknowledge and encourage supporters to be "Threatening". Threatening. How about that? I thought the liberals said that was unacceptable. Bullying by anyone for any purpose is wrong. But, this is why our state is so screwed. Guys like NKG abuse us and get away with it.
NKGOP Watch May 21, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I'm not a liberal, nor would I ever deface property or steal signs. I support good candidates of both parties. Using a nom de plume here is more common than a real name, and there are good reasons for it for some people. It seems Paul Marshall is a nut, losing it.
ru4real May 21, 2012 at 10:35 PM
You have made it a habit to call democrats--democRATS. I think maybe your protestations are a little about the pot calling the kettle black. I do not think calling someone a scumbag is acceptable either. It would really be refreshing to see the hack attacks and the whining stop. How about a novel approach--civil discussions of differences--hopefully leading to some progress for the good of RI. THAT WILL NEVER HAPPENED IN RI because the ideology of each party (blinders) is more important than progress. There is plenty of blame to pass around to both parties. Don't make the mistake of calling me on this, because the list is very long for both the Democrats and Republicans. (Need I say 38 Studios for openers) But ultimately the blame lies at the feet of the voters and residents of RI. As long as mediocrity is tolerated nothing will improve in RI. Both parties stock and trade is to white wash the dirty laundry and spin the obvious. The tortuous contortions and misrepresentations by both parties have strangled RI. However there is a positive side to all the political venom--Dunkin Donuts sells a lot of coffee! Maybe DD could install computer terminals where everyone could play the latest video game financed by the state.
CBA May 22, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Mr. Marshall: Your time (and posting space) might be better spent discussing issues instead of beating the "People Don't Use Their Real Names on This Site" horse to death. Welcome to the Internet: unless your are on Facebook, posters use a username/handle of their choice.
Kerri Hicks May 22, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I don't really mind which party you choose to affiliate with, because this is a house of cards no matter which side you're on. Really what I don't get is this. If you're Curt Schilling (pretty well-known guy, right?), and you've got a board like he's got for 38 Studios (some heavy hitters in finance and tech), and with all that you're still having such a hard time raising capital that you instead choose to ask the government for a loan, doesn't that say something about your business' prospects? Professional investors in the tech sector, venture capitalists, and angel funders weren't investing in Schilling's company -- if it were a good investment, don't you think they'd be beating down the doors? Did the RI EDC think they knew more than the VCs?

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