Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee said Tuesday that former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s troubled video game company has been “stonewalling” state officials trying to find out what happened to the company.
“There’s been a lot of stonewalling going on,” Chafee said on former Providence mayor Buddy Cianci’s radio talk show on WPRO-AM. “It’s been difficult to deal with them.”
Rhode Island lured 38 Studios from Massachusetts with a $75 million loan guarantee in 2010. But 38 Studios has asked the state to approve millions more in state tax credits — which 38 Studios could sell to other companies — to help keep the Providence company afloat.
Chafee said his administration has held up releasing the tax credits until it can find out more about the company’s future and to make sure the money won’t be squandered. Schilling’s company has qualified for $2.1 million in tax credits and applied for another $6 million on Friday.
“We were able to stop immediate access to millions more in tax credits,” Chafee said Tuesday. “We have to have a high degree of confidence that it was going to lead somewhere.”
The company set off alarms in the state after it belatedly made a $1.1 million loan payment due May 1 and told state officials it would be unable to make its payroll last week. It has also started to lay off some workers, Chafee said Monday.
Chafee said the company ran into trouble attracting outside investors after sales for its first game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, fell short of the company’s hopes. “If that was successful, that's when the private money would have gone in,” Chafee said. “Kingdoms of Amalur did not perform.”
The company needs the money because it has been spending tens of millions of dollars developing a more ambitious multiplayer online game, code-named Copernicus.
The company hasn’t returned calls and e-mail from reporters. But Schilling praised the company’s staff for their ‘‘breathtaking resilience” on Facebook Tuesday.