We are going to wear out the memory of poor old Claude Rains, but like his Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca, Phillipe and Jorge are shocked – shocked! – to find that there was fraud involved by leaders of the state’s Economic Development Corporation (now RI Commerce) and Wells Fargo in regard to the 38 Studios debacle that left Little Rhody taxpayers on the hook for tens of millions of dollars.
The federal Securities and Exchange Commission has filed suit against EDC Keith Stokes and Michael Saul, and Wells Fargo for not letting investors, and in the case of the EDC execs, their board (Gov. Donald Carcieri, proprietor), know that the $75 million loan the legislature slyly earmarked for 38 Studios was nowhere near enough to fund their video game enterprise after insiders took their cuts, in a deal that stinks like a car trunk occupied by a dead mobster at JFK Airport, Mafia Cemetery of the Stars.
If the EDC officials and their comrades were to be said to be screwing the pooch on this deal, Wells Fargo appears to have been humping two great danes. That’s because not only did Wells Fargo allegedly not tip the wink to the EDC about this hummer, but they went ahead and sold the 38 Studio bonds without disclosing the fact that the deal was a hummer, and had no more chance of yielding a profit than a Kentucky Derby horse with 300-lb. jockey on his back and dragging a refrigerator behind it as it went around the track.
Stokes and Saul have already copped pleas and settled with the SEC, but Wells Fargo is fighting the commission’s charges at this point. Although P&J find it hard to be surprised by any new revelations in regard to the 38 Studios scandal, we will be looking for Wells Fargo to now make some moves that would make “House of Cards’” Frank Underwood blush. Hey, it’s Rhode Island, go for it. We have without a doubt seen more absurd gyrations from our own political leaders, and appreciate outrageous moves when we see them.