In 2014 the RI General Assembly specifically created a ‘NEW’ RI law 42-64-40 “solely and exclusively” designed for the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation for the settlement of claims relating to “THE RHODE ISLAND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION JOB CREATION GUARANTY PROGRAM of seventy-five million dollars ($75,000,000) for 38 STUDIOS.” They crafted this new Law in anticipation of the RI Judiciary’s future need to utilize it, and as predicted, this is just what it did.
On May 8, 2015, when the court had run out of excuses in legally withholding the 38 Studio’s court files from the public, Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Michael A. Silverstein postponed the hearing on the public release of the documents, depositions and other filings in the 38 Studios case and instead, on May 19, 2015, Judge Silverstein appointed Frank Williams, the former Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice, as mediator to settle the entire 38 Studios lawsuit. By invoking the newly tailored law, RIGL 42-64-40, in their continued effort to keep the documents in the case sealed forever and to maintain the cover-up of the truth through settlements, there will be no trial or testimony ‘on-the-record’, or findings of guilt concerning anyone involved!
So, for all the grandstanding and bellyaching about how the General Assembly members were deliberately mislead by the Economic Development Corporation, aka The Commerce Corporation, by their own actions in creating special 38 Studio settlement legislation for the court to later rely on, they wittingly, or unwittingly, have once again assisted in the maintenance of the 38 Studio cover-up.
LEGAL STRATEGY OR COVER-UP?
However, what our judges, members of the general assembly and elected officials should begin to understand is that their sham inquiries have only proven that NO ONE connected to Rhode Island’s political Machine can be trusted to provide the course of action the People are demanding and deserve… a full investigation!
Instead we are insulted by this facade of justice amounting to nothing more than “Private Quid Pro Quo Deals” made with the defendant’s insurance companies for payment of moneys, in lieu of a full investigation for SEALED SETTLEMENTS WITH NO ADMISSIONS OF GUILT!!!
As Fed Up in RI always maintained right from the beginning – the EDC action was initiated and remains in reality a “collusive lawsuit”.
Look this way…not that!
So while they exchange pittance for silence under the guise of “using hush money to help repay the state’s debt related to 38 Studios”. What they fail to reveal is;
1. The reason for the settlements are to avoid a trial involving full public disclosure, and
2. The amount of money that could be realistically collected via the defendant’s insurance policy limits will likely not even cover the interest payments due on the loan, and
3. Last but not least, THE TAXPAYERS OF THE STATE HAVE NO DEBT RELATED TO 38 STUDIOS. THE EDC, aka COMMERCE CORP. DOES!
With the final payment due on Nov. 1, 2020
If we can’t get this much straight…God help us, because ‘This is exactly the kind of engineered insider-dealing and backroom decision-making we need to put an end to in Rhode Island.’
Unfortunately, this State is a sad reflection of those who belong to the Village that have and continue to enable this corruption to reign with impunity, and why Fed Up in RI will be looking carefully into this latest honed illusion in posing the ultimate 100 million dollar question… “Are these so-called ‘good faith’ settlements, in and of themselves, additional acts of collusion, fraud and dishonesty?”
Fed Up in RI
August 11, 2015
RHODE ISLAND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION,
WELLS FARGO SECURITIES, LLC;
BARCLAYS CAPITAL, INC.;
FIRST SOUTHWEST COMPANY;
STARR INDEMNITY AND LIABILITY COMPANY;
ROBERT I. STOLZMAN;
ADLER POLLOCK & SHEEHAN, P.C.;
ANTONIO AFONSO, JR.;
and J. MICHAELS,
Senate Bill S-2008
RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT — RHODE ISLAND COMMERCE CORPORATION
Introduced By: Senators McCaffrey, Sheehan, DaPonte, Ruggerio, and Bates
Date Introduced: January 08, 2014
This act would provide that a person or entity who resolved its liability to the Rhode Island commerce corporation as it relates to the issuance by the Rhode Island economic development corporation of seventy-five million dollars ($75,000,000) in revenue bonds denominated “THE RHODE ISLAND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION JOB CREATION GUARANTY PROGRAM TAXABLE REVENUE BOND (38 STUDIOS,
PROJECT) SERIES 2010″ in a judicially approved good faith settlement would not be liable for claims for contribution or equitable indemnity to other potential joint tortfeasors, in regard to matters addressed in such good faith settlement.
State Affairs and Government
Rhode Island Commerce Corporation
§ 42-64-40 Court-approved settlements. –
(a) Notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary, a person, corporation, or other entity who has resolved its liability to the Rhode Island commerce corporation in a judicially approved good faith settlement is not liable for claims for contribution or equitable indemnity regarding matters addressed in the settlement. The settlement does not discharge any other joint tortfeasors unless its terms provide, but it reduces the potential liability of the joint tortfeasors by the amount of the settlement.
(b) The provisions of this section apply solely and exclusively to settlements of claims asserted or previously asserted by the Rhode Island economic development corporation or the Rhode Island commerce corporation or hereafter asserted by the Rhode Island commerce corporation arising out of or relating to the issuance by the Rhode Island economic development corporation of seventy-five million dollars ($75,000,000) in revenue bonds denominated “THE RHODE ISLAND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION JOB CREATION GUARANTY PROGRAM TAXABLE REVENUE BOND (38 STUDIOS, LLC PROJECT) SERIES 2010” and shall not be construed to amend or repeal the provisions of chapter 6 of title 10 relating to contributions among joint tortfeasors, other than as specifically provided in this section.
(c) For purposes of this section, a good faith settlement is one that does not exhibit collusion, fraud, dishonesty, or other wrongful or tortious conduct intended to prejudice the non-settling tortfeasor(s), irrespective of the settling or non-settling tortfeasors’ proportionate share of liability.
History of Section.
(P.L. 2014, ch. 3, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 4, § 1.)
Bond lawyer to settle 38 Studios suit for $4.37 million
R.I. reaches $12.5M settlement with 4 more defendants in 38 Studios lawsuit
*As of 2014 “Out of the settlement money, the state will pay $728,333 to Wistow and his firm, based on the agreement reached in June 2012 when Governor Chafee hired Wistow to sue those involved with the loan deal. Wistow has been working on a contingency basis, with the understanding he would earn 16.66 percent of any money recovered through the lawsuit.”
“The state will also pay $470,225 out of the settlement money for some legal expenses incurred by the corporation during the lawsuit. Those include payments to law firms, Wistow said, for costs incurred by the corporation as it responded to multiple requests for information from media outlets and out-of-pocket legal expenses his agency has incurred. Those costs include Wistow’s hiring of experts for the case and significant costs to copy hundreds of thousands of documents culled by the legal team…”
*2015 expenditures currently unreported/pending