PROVIDENCE – It has been an exciting, if tumultuous, year in the Ocean State. As 2012 comes to a close, Providence Business News notes the biggest news stories of the year.
Pension reform - Continuing off work beginning in 2011, 2012 was a banner year for pension reform in the Ocean State. Municipalities across Rhode Island, including Providence, Cranston and Warwick, reached deals with unions over cost-of-living increases for pension recipients.
In December, R.I. Superior Court Associate Justice Sarah Taft-Carter ordered the parties involved in the state pension reform litigation into mediation. According to a release, the judge has said that the parties were in agreement to try mediation to solve their differences.
38 Studios - The very public demise of former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s videogame company 38 Studios LLC made headlines for much of 2012. The now-defunct gaming company, which was lured to Rhode Island from Massachusetts thanks to a $75 million loan guarantee from the R.I. Economic Development Corporation at the behest of former Gov. Donald L. Carcieri, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in June, leaving its 400-plus employees out of work.
Since declaring bankruptcy, the company’s assets have gone to auction, earning the state back only a fraction of the $75 million it paid to lure the Schilling and his company to the capital. Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee and the EDC filed a lawsuit against Schilling, former EDC Director Keith W. Stokes and 12 other institutions and individuals connected with the failed company for allegedly misleading state officials about the deal’s risks.
The R.I. Economic Development Corporation - Amid the collapse of 38 Studios, Rhode Island’s quasi-state organization has undergone a major overhaul. The EDC’s Executive Director Keith W. Stokes resigned and six of the 13 members of the board of directors either stepped down or were not reappointed.