The Rhode Island Economic Development Corp.’s board of directors approved the selection of Salesforce as its client relationship management system, which the agency says will help it better provide data-driven assistance to Rhode Island businesses.
The EDC has come under fire the past two years for the $75 million loan guarantee it issued in 2010, backed by Rhode Island’s moral obligation, to 38 Studios, the video-game company owned by former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.
The company filed for Chapter 7 liquidation last year, with taxpayers on the hook to pay the bonds.
Through Salesforce, the EDC will implement a cloud-based system to centralize activity tracking and develop a comprehensive database for statewide economic development using data imported from multiple sources and interactions with businesses. The agency also hired Buan Consulting Services of Annapolis, Md., to help in the transition and implement the new system.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the loan to 38 Studios. Rhode Island, meanwhile, is suing 38 Studios, claiming that Schilling conspired with Wells Fargo & Co. bankers and other advisers to persuade the state to lend the company the $75 million, knowing it would still fall short to finish development of a new video game.
Lawmakers in June approved a $2.5 million payment to cover bond payments this year and avoid a credit-rating downgrade. Moody’s Investors Service in June threatened to cut the state’s Aa2 rating, the third-highest, if Rhode Island failed to follow through with its obligation.