Schilling: Company crash cost me baseball fortune

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said Friday that the collapse of his 38 Studios video game company has probably cost him his entire baseball fortune, and he placed part of the blame on Rhode Island officials, including Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

Schilling said during a 90-minute interview on WEEI-FM in Boston that he put more than $50 million of his own money in the company and that he’s had to tell his family that “the money I saved during baseball was probably all gone.”

Schilling said he hopes to return to work soon as an analyst for ESPN. He took a leave of absence from the network after 38 Studios filed for bankruptcy protection on June 7. The firm was lured to Providence from Massachusetts in 2010 after Rhode Island offered a $75 million loan guarantee. The state is working to determine how much it’s on the hook for after the company’s collapse.

While he conceded that he “absolutely” was part of the reason the company failed, he said public comments made by Chafee last month questioning the firm’s solvency were harmful as the firm tried — but failed — to raise private capital to stay afloat.

“I think he had an agenda,” Schilling said about Chafee.

Chafee vocally opposed the state’s loan guarantee to 38 Studios when he was running for governor in 2010. But after it was a done deal, he was the company’s “biggest cheerleader,” Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger said Friday. She had no other immediate comments on Schilling’s interview.

Schilling also accused Chafee of failing to work with an investor who was willing to put $15 million to $20 million into the company to help it succeed. He said the investor walked away because of Chafee’s inaction.

38 Studios laid off its entire workforce — nearly 300 employees in Providence and more in Maryland — last month. That move came after it was more than two weeks late on a $1.1 million payment to the state; officials have said that was the first indication the company was in financial trouble.

The firm had sought millions of dollars in tax credits from Rhode Island as it struggled to stay afloat, but Schilling said Friday that he wasn’t looking for a bailout.

State and federal authorities, meanwhile, are investigating 38 Studios’ finances. Citizens Bank also has sued Schilling to recover $2.4 million in loans it made to 38 Studios.

Schilling, who also pitched for Baltimore, Houston, Philadelphia and Arizona, won the World Series three times and is perhaps best remembered for pitching Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series with an injured ankle that stained his sock with blood.

Schilling said he hasn’t done anything wrong. He said he never took any money from the company, not even a salary. He said the company was close to succeeding but just couldn’t raise enough private capital. He also said he never intended to hurt the firm’s workers.

“It’s been kind of a surreal 60 days or 65 days,” Schilling said. “It’s crushing and devastating to see it fail the way it did.”

Schilling was asked how the company’s collapse has affected him personally.

“I don’t know. … It’s not over yet,” he said. “I would imagine the next foreseeable time in our lives is going to be consumed by this. It’s a life-changing thing.”

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