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Schilling says R.I. suit over 38 Studios is ‘political’

PROVIDENCE — Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling on Friday called a lawsuit brought against him by Rhode Island’s economic development agency ‘‘political’’ and denied wrongdoing in connection with a $75 million loan guarantee the state gave his failed video game company, 38 Studios.

The Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. on Thursday sued Schilling, some of its former employees, and others, saying they committed fraud and other acts that misled the state into approving the deal. 38 Studios laid off all its employees and declared bankruptcy earlier this year.

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In his first public comments on the lawsuit, Schilling, in a written statement sent Friday to the Associated Press, said the economic development agency’s decision was made ‘‘with its eyes wide open and with full understanding of any risks.’’

Schilling said he had not seen the lawsuit, but believes he is being sued in part because of critical comments he made about Governor Lincoln Chafee’s handling of the situation.

The deal with 38 Studios was struck in 2010, under the leadership of former Republican governor Don Carcieri. Chafee, an independent, was harshly critical of the deal as a candidate, but said he wanted to see the company succeed once he became governor.

Schilling has accused Chafee of not doing enough to help 38 Studios stay afloat and publicly called him a ‘‘buffoon’’ and a ‘‘dunce of epic proportions.’’ Chafee opposed giving the company more financial support after it began having money troubles, saying it did not have a viable plan for survival.

‘‘I am confident that when the claims against me are adjudicated, it will be determined that the claims were brought against me for political reasons, not based on any alleged wrongdoing on my part,’’ Schilling said in the statement.

Chafee, who serves as the economic development corporation’s board chairman, would not comment on Schilling’s statement and when asked about the lawsuit Friday would say only, ‘‘My job is to protect the taxpayers of Rhode Island.’’

The lawsuit asserts that Schilling and various 38 Studios executives, as well as former economic development corporation executive director Keith Stokes and others, knew the company would run out of money by 2012, but concealed that from the economic development corporation board, which made the final decision on whether to back the deal.

The suit asks that Schilling and others pay back the bonds floated on the company’s behalf, an amount that could top $100 million when interest is included. It also asks for triple damages.

Schilling on Friday also held out the possibility of filing a lawsuit of his own.

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