- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - State officials have raised questions about the use of state grants awarded to the Newport County Chamber of Commerce and paid to a lobbying firm.

The Providence Journal reports (https://bit.ly/1S0bKgd) RI Commerce Corporation President Darin Early wrote in a letter this month that the chamber used part of the funding to compensate the Mayforth Group, which employs former Commerce Corp. executive director Keith Stokes.

Early says using the funds to lobby the General Assembly would be inappropriate.

Erin Donovan-Boyle, the chamber’s executive director, told Early the funds weren’t used for lobbying.

Mayforth Group Founder Richard McAuliffe denied the money had gone to lobbying.

Stokes and other state officials agreed last year to settle a lawsuit over the agency’s $75 million deal with ex-Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios.

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