Jul 29, 2014

EDC Official Resigns; 38 Studios Staff Laid Off

Helena B. Foulkes is the second state official to resign in the last week amidst the 38 Studios controversy.

EDC Official Resigns; 38 Studios Staff Laid Off

Economic Development Corporation Vice Chairwoman Helena B. Foulkes has resigned, reports the Providence Journal, the second state official to resign amidst the controversy surrounding 38 Studios, which reportedly has laid off its staff.

"I have discussed with the governor his plans for the Board at the EDC, and I think it is best at this time I resign. I wish him good luck in this very difficult challenge," Foulkes said.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee appointed Foulkes to the EDC last year.

Foulkes' resignation comes a week after in the wake of the controversy surrounding Curt Shilling's video game company.

The company, headed by the former Red Sox pitcher, defaulted on a $1.125-million payment to the state on May 1, and faces financial turmoil after sales of its first game, "Reckoning," failed to meet expectations. Chafee criticized Schilling publicly last week, saying the company had been "stonewalling" the state. 38 Studios has reportedly laid off its entire staff, which numbers around 400, most of which were in Rhode Island.

I n 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.

Amidst the 38 Studios dilemma, State Rep. Lawrence 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.

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