Two leading Rhode Island lawmakers have scheduled meetings on May 21 in New York with Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s to discuss the possible fallout of missing bond payments related to failed video-game company 38 Studios.
House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, D-Cranston, and Majority Leader John DeSimone, D-Providence, will bring House chief of staff Leo Skenyon and chief legal counsel Richard Raspallo, according to House spokesman Larry Berman. They are expected to return to Providence by the scheduled start of the 4:30 p.m. session.
“They will have meetings scheduled with both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s as part of their fact-finding mission to be fully informed about the repayment of the 38 Studios moral obligation bond,” Berman said in a statement. “They will utilize this information, along with the input provided by the House finance and oversight committees and the House members, to formulate a position on the bond repayment in the weeks ahead.”
Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s budget proposal includes a $12.5 million payment toward moral obligation debt a state agency issued for video game developer 38 Studios.
The firm, owned by former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2012 and closed its doors.
Robert Cusack, a portfolio manager at Whalerock Point Partners LLC in Providence, suggested at a public hearing last week that Mattiello and DeSimone travel to New York. “I think [Mattiello] will leave those meetings with a pretty good idea of what our new ratings will be,” he told the House Committee on Oversight.
Cusack made a similar request last year, when Rhode Island made an initial $2.5 million payment to the debt after rating agencies threatened to downgrade the state’s general obligation bonds.
“We met with the speaker and we urged him to go to New York and meet with these guys. It’s one day. You will have shown a lot of leadership,” said Cusack. “We don’t have a prescription about whether to pay or not to pay, but we just think you have to take it a little bit further and you’ll know a lot more.”