NEFAC, Open Government Advocates Call for Release of 38 Studios Grand Jury Records

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |


The New England First Amendment Coalition today joined fellow Rhode Island open government groups to call for the release of testimony given in the 38 Studios grand jury proceedings.

The organizations — NEFAC, Access/RI, League of Women Voters of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Press Association — expressed support for Gov. Gina Raimondo’s petition to have the testimony disclosed and concurred with the arguments for disclosure made by the ACLU of Rhode Island in an April 12 amicus brief.

The groups said today:

“As organizations deeply committed to open government in the state, we fully concur with the arguments made by the ACLU in its brief. In particular, we agree with the amicus’s statement that ‘in a well-functioning democracy, the people have a need to know how the state decides to spend public funds, and this need vastly outweighs any minimal interests in secrecy present here.’ It is our hope that the governor’s petition is granted and the public’s right to know upheld.”

The 38 Studios case began in 2010 when retired Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling asked for and received a $75 million loan guarantee in Rhode Island state bonds to develop and produce a single player action video game at a headquarters in Providence.

Work had just begun on the video game when 38 Studios made a loan payment to the state of $1.25 million in the form of a check that bounced. The new company eventually declared bankruptcy leaving the state’s taxpayers to repay the $75 million loan.

News media and open government advocates have since struggled to gain access to details of the deliberations to bring Schilling’s company to Rhode Island and the bankruptcy that resulted.

NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, academics and private citizens.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

Major Supporters of NEFAC for this year include the Barr Foundation, The Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund, The Robertson Foundation, Lois Howe McClure, The Boston Globe and Boston University. Celebration Supporters include The Hartford Courant and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.