Oversight Committee issues more subpoenas

The House Oversight committee investigating the failed $75 million 38 Studios deal unanimously voted to subpoena attorney Michael Corso and former Finance Chairman Steven Costantino Tuesday night.

The Committee also decided to re-issue a subpoena for Curt Schilling. A constable has not yet been able to serve him because he lives in Massachusetts. Chairwoman Karen MacBeth says he will be served if he comes to Rhode Island.

Members of the committee say Corso and Costantino both have vital information about the deal.

"He (Michael Corso) played a key role in just about every aspect of the deal and the collapse. He was involved right up until the day it went under,” said State Rep. Michael Chippendale.

The thousands of documents recently released in the case show Corso negotiated a 5 percent success fee standing to gain $3.75 million.

In a statement regarding the subpoena, Corso’s attorney says he is disappointed that the committee chose to do this.

"The tactics he is using is like a child in a sandbox throwing out insults, instead of throwing out the facts. If his client is supposedly as innocent as he says he is then certainly come in front of our committee and tell us your story,” said MacBeth.

Former House Finance Chairman Steven Costantino  is accused of manipulating the loan, adding $75 million to the program. He could not be reached for comment.

"The real question for him is who gave you the deal?” said State Rep. Daniel Reily. “How far along was that deal? And, did you merely package together the legislation as chairman of the committee as you’ve indicated in your limited public remarks or were you more involved at a more detailed level before that?"

House Speaker Mattiello still needs to officially sign off on the two new subpoenas that will order Corso and Costantino to appear before the committee January 14th.

Below is the full statement from Corso’s attorney, Michael Lepizzera:

Unfortunately, I am unable to provide you with a formal response to a subpoena that has not been served upon my client.  Until I receive an actual copy and have an opportunity to examine the legal validity and scope of the subpoena, there is not much of a legal response I can give you at this time.  Notwithstanding, I will say that I am very disappointed by the House Oversight Committee’s decision to issue a subpoena for my client.  

I am also perplexed why the Chairwoman of this legislative Committee has continuously focused her efforts in targeting my client who lost millions of dollars in the 38 Studios transaction.  If the Chairwoman is truly interested in making sure that a transaction like this doesn’t happen again, she should be issuing subpoenas for EDC Board and staff members who approved this transaction (and especially any Board members who have purportedly taken the position that they never read the 38 Studios Board package before voting in favor of the transaction since they didn’t have time to read the package).  The House Oversight Committee should be examining those acts and omissions and reviewing the identity and qualifications of persons sitting on the boards and commissions of this State.

Again, I urge the Chairwoman and her legislative colleagues to focus their efforts on issues that will move Rhode Island forward, not backwards.