News Column

Stokes says he withdrew from lawsuit connected to 38 Studios because of financial burden

July 12, 2014

By Kate Bramson, The Providence Journal, R.I.

July 12--PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Keith W. Stokes, the former director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, has withdrawn from a lawsuit against the agency's former lawyer and bond counsel and their law firms, who helped craft the agency's $75-million loan guarantee to the now-defunct 38 Studios videogame company.

"I decided to dismiss the suit relating to the attorneys today because it was clear that it was going to be a distraction to the main lawsuit, and I cannot devote the very limited resources I have to prosecute the litigation," Stokes said in a statement he issued after a brief phone conversation. "While the personal and financial burden of defending the suit brought by EDC is devastating, I am hopeful that a public trial will allow for the full disclosure of all the facts and persons involved surrounding the 38 Studios transaction."

Stokes and his former deputy director at the EDC, J. Michael Saul, filed the lawsuit last week claiming that the agency's lawyers failed to advise them properly "and were otherwise negligent" as the EDC crafted the loan deal that ended with the collapse of former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's videogame company, 38 Studios.

The lawsuit further claims the lawyers failed to warn Stokes and Saul that their actions could later be considered negligent.

Saul's lawsuit remains active.

The lawyers and firms named as defendants in that suit are Antonio Afonso Jr., of Moses Afonso Ryan Ltd., and Robert I. Stolzman of Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C. The lawyers, their firms, Stokes and Saul are among 14 defendants named in the sweeping lawsuit filed in November of 2012 by the EDC against those involved in the deal.

Stokes and his attorney, David Martland, were not in court Friday.

Stokes now works for the Mayforth Group, a government relations firm.

Reached by phone Friday afternoon, he said, "I've dedicated my entire life to public service, and things that have been said about me, you know, are untruthful, have been politically motivated. All that I hope for is eventually the truth comes out, the entire truth, so that the taxpayers can understand exactly what happened."


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Source: Providence Journal (RI)

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