WOONSOCKET – CVS Caremark Corp. Executive Vice President Helena B. Foulkes resigned as vice chairwoman of the R.I. Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors Thursday as continued controversy over the handling of 38 Studios LLC’s $75 million loan guarantee wracks the quasi state agency.
In an afternoon e-mail statement announcing the resignation, Foulkes gave no direct explanation for quitting the board, but said it came in response to recent conversations with Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee about his vision for the EDC’s future.
“I have discussed with the Governor his plans for the Board at the EDC, and I think it is best at this time I resign,” Foulkes said. “I wish him good luck in this very difficult challenge.”
Through CVS Spokeswoman Carolyn Castel, Foulkes said she would have no further comment about the EDC or her decision.
Chafee, who is chairman of the EDC Board, hand-picked Foulkes to be his second-in-command on the board in late January of 2011 to replace Alfred J. Verrecchia, chairman of Hasbro Inc.
Before being named to the EDC Board, Foulkes had been part of Chafee’s transition team and sat on a panel at Chafee’s 2010 budget summit.
Since it was revealed that 38 Studios missed a $1.1 million guarantee fee payment to the state May 1, the EDC has been stung by criticism about its oversight or the $75 million state-backed loan.
In each of the last two weeks, the EDC Board has held lengthy closed-door meetings with 38 Studios executives about ways to rescue the Providence video game maker, but both times have taken no action.
After discussions described by EDC staffers last week as “candid,” Chafee said he was resisting appeals to make further taxpayer investments in 38 Studios, which is owned by former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.
Last week EDC Executive Director Keith W. Stokes stepped down amid the fallout and has been replaced only on an interim basis by Deputy Director William Parsons.
As of Wednesday, Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger said the governor was still talking to “many people” about leading the beleaguered agency.
Interstate 195 Redevelopment Commission Chairman Colin Kane turned down an offer to head the EDC last week.
The 38 Studios loan guarantee was approved by the EDC Board in the fall of 2010, before Foukles was appointed.
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