As if Rhode Island needed another black eye on its national reputation as a place to do business, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee has taken on the Sisyphean task of trying to extract more revenue from the 38 Studios LLC bankruptcy.
But the tool the governor is using is a lawsuit against 14 individuals and organizations, including the former No. 1 and No. 2 executives of the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, the former lawyer for the EDC, the banks that placed the 38 Studios bonds, a number of advisers and others, not to mention a handful of 38 Studios executives.
This is a decidedly bad idea.
By coming close to alleging criminal behavior by the defendants – in what was one of the worst economic-development ideas in many a year – the governor (and his contingency-fee lawyer) are likely to destroy the impulse of civic-minded business leaders to volunteer their services as well as shrink the talent pool of job applicants for state positions. •