News Column

Oversight Chair MacBeth demands Speaker 'discharge' bill banning 38 Studios payment

June 5, 2014

By Katherine Gregg, The Providence Journal, R.I.



June 05--PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- For a short time, they appeared as allies in an attempt to get to the bottom of the 38 Studios debacle: new House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and new House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Karen MacBeth.

But then Mattiello announced he would not authorize subpoenas to the key players in the failed $75 million loan deal. And on Wednesday, MacBeth sent Mattiello a letter formally objecting to the "failure of the House Finance Committee" to hold a hearing on her bill to prohibit payment of the 38 Studios bonds.

The legislation she and her co-sponsors introduced on January 30, the bill essentially says "the state shall not make payment on the moral obligation bonds related to 38 Studios."

Mattiello has publicly stated his belief that the state needs to pay the investors who purchased the $75 million in state-backed bonds that financed ex-Red Sox player Curt Schilling's now-bankrupt video game company, or risk taking an even bigger financial beating in the financial markets.

But in a letter to Mattiello dated Wednesday, MacBeth said the House rules guaranteed a hearing she never got on her bill.

She said she made the request on February 12, but in violation of House rules, the bill "was not given a hearing within the required 30 days of submission nor was it given consideration by the April [committee-action] deadline."

"I am objecting to the failure of the House finance Committee to adhere to the [House rules]...and hereby request that you order the immediate discharge of said bill," she wrote.

There has been no public response so far from Mattiello to the letter, which came to light a day before the finance committee is expected to vote on a new and as yet unseen budget bill that includes the next $12.3 million payment to the bondholders for the failed deal.

MacBeth's co-sponsors include Democrats J. Patrick O'Neill, James McLaughlin, Spencer Dickinson and Republican Michael Chippendale.

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(c)2014 The Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.)

Visit The Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.) at www.projo.com

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Source: Providence Journal (RI)


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