James Skeffington, a legal fixture in Providence, R.I., and part of a group that envisioned a new minor-league baseball stadium in Rhode Island's capital city, died of a heart attack Sunday night. He was 73.
Skeffington collapsed while jogging near his Barrington, R.I., home, the Boston Globe reported.
Skeffington, a partner at Locke Lord LLP, a newly merged firm that traces its Providence roots to its Edwards & Angell days - later Edwards Wildman Palmer - was part of an investor group that purchased the Class AAA Pawtucket Red Sox recently. Boston Red Sox president Larry Luccino was part of the consortium that bought the team over the winter.
"Jim was committed to keeping the PawSox in Rhode Island and sharing his vision for a new ballpark," the ballclub said in a statement. "Jim will be remembered as an outstanding and respected lawyer who was a pillar of the Providence community," the law firm said of Skeffington, who also served as lead Boston Red Sox counsel on real estate development projects.
Skeffington served as lead counsel in the development of the Rhode Island Convention Center, the Providence Westin Hotel and the $350 million Providence Place Mall.
He had coordinated discussions with Gov. Gina Raimondo and other state officials about financing for an $85 million, 10,000-seat ballpark just southeast of downtown Providence, using land vacated by the relocation of Interstate 195.
"We're at the exact same place we were before," House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, D-Cranston, said of Skeffington's death. "If the governor, myself and the Senate president can put together a deal that works for the taxpayers and works for the PawSox, we'd love to have them in Rhode Island."
Raimondo said last month that the owners' request from the state for $4 million over 30 years "isn't fair for Rhode Islanders."