Business

Ex-official calls Schilling suit political

Keith Stokes, in July 2009. Stokes resigned as head of the Economic Development Corp. last May.
Keith Stokes, in July 2009. Stokes resigned as head of the Economic Development Corp. last May.

PROVIDENCE — The former head of the Rhode Island economic development agency that backed a $75 million investment in former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s now-defunct video game company claims the lawsuit over its collapse is politically motivated and sends a ‘‘chilling message’’ to public officials.

An attorney for Keith Stokes asked a Rhode Island judge last week to toss the suit brought by the Economic Development Corp. against him and other former officials there. The suit alleges they misled the board into approving the loan guarantee for 38 Studios, withholding information that the company needed millions more in funding to complete a video game in Providence.

But the court filing says the EDC board knew the risks associated with the loan guarantee and that the agency was ‘‘equally responsible’’ for proceeding.

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Stokes resigned as EDC’s executive director last May as 38 Studios was imploding. The company filed for bankruptcy a few weeks later, leaving the state on the hook for some $100 million including interest. Stokes has not commented publicly on the suit.

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The suit ‘‘sends a chilling message to all public employees and officials who carry out their duties in a professional manner — when the political winds change, the government will turn around and sue them to make a political statement,’’ Stokes’s attorney wrote.

Associated Press