Former Assistant Attorney General Hired by GoLocal to Secure Release of 38 Studios Documents
Saturday, August 06, 2016
"The public interest is here is a totally different dimension [than other cases]. Millions of taxpayer dollars, questions of how a public process involving two branches of government functions -- and we've got an investigative undertaking of so much public interest that it consumed an hour of news conference time. If the [Attorney General and State Police] didn't think it's of public interest, they wouldn't have opened the door,” said Dickinson.
Last Friday, RI Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and RI State Police Colonel Steven O’Donnell announced that they had been unable to bring any charges against any individual or business entity after a four-year investigation of the state's loss of $75 million in the failed investment in the gaming company founded by former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.
Kilmartin said that more than 100 individuals were interviewed in the investigation, but refused to identify any of the individuals and announced he would not release any documents relating to the investigation.
To date, nearly thirty leading elected officials and civic organizations have called on the Attorney General to release the records of the investigation. On Thursday, Mayor Scott Avedisian of Warwick and Allan Fung of Cranston joined the chorus of voices in the state calling for transparency.
SEE RI LEADERS AND ORGANIZATIONS REQUESTING RELEASE OF THE RECORDS
"The collapse of 38 Studios will burden the taxpayers of Rhode Island with millions of dollars of debt for years to come and has brought about another cycle of enormous cynicism in the state,” said the Mayors in a joint statement emailed to GoLocal. “After a four-year investigation, taxpayers of Rhode Island deserve to have a clear picture of how the state ended up on the hook for the debts of 38 Studios - and who is ultimately responsible for the costs related to this failed business venture. As we learned this week, although the investigation remains open, it is now inactive. We echo the calls of numerous public officials demanding that the Attorney General release all documents and related information pertaining to the investigation so taxpayers may have a clear and more complete story."
On Friday afternoon, Dickinson on behalf of GoLocal filed a detailed Access to Public Records Act request.
“As was stated in last week's joint 38 Studios report, this remains an open, albeit currently inactive investigation. Release of documents could jeopardize the integrity of the investigation should new information come to light that would warrant it to be reactivated. The law and Court rules prohibit the Attorney General and the Rhode Island State Police from releasing grand jury proceedings," said Amy Kempe, spokesperson for Kilmartin, when Speaker Nicholas Mattiello had requested the documents. "This request appears to be a political reaction, not a legal reaction."
Dickinson question the logic of the Attorney General’s argument, “Their rationale about the case being re-opened if more information came to light -- that could happen with any case. And that's the basis of their defense?”
In Dickinson’s letter to Kilmartin he wrote,”As you know, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has recently reiterated that public interest is a factor in determining whether items such as the ones described above are to be considered public records. It is my client’s position that in this situation public interest in disclosure is incalculably high and therefore outweighs any countervailing consideration.”
"I have not seen [the letter], and APRA requests go through our records unit. And in general, we don't comment on those requests," said Kempe on Friday, in response to questions about Dickinson's request for documents.
When asked if the Attorney General was in RI, Kempe said, "The AG was in the office in the earlier part of the week; he was at the National AG's Conference in San Diego at the end of the week," and Kempe added. "Has he been in Florida? No."
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