Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling—a once-beloved figure in New England after leading the pitching staff of the 2004 World Series Champions—continues his ignominious fall from grace.
According to The Boston Globe, "Schilling agreed to participate in a $2.5 million settlement" with Rhode Island authorities, who sued him and his business partners over a $75 million taxpayer-funded subsidy to his now-defunct video game company, 38 Studios. Rhode Island taxpayers, even after all the settlements, will still be on the hook for more than $50 million as a result of this fiasco, the Providence Journal reports.
In 2013, I reported for Reason on how this disastrous display of crony capitalism came to be:
Gov. Donald Carcieri (R-R.I.), term-limited and searching for a legacy after presiding over one of the worst state economies in the U.S., featuring long spells of double-digit unemployment and frequent last-place finishes in rankings of business friendliness. In a classic spasm of "do something, anything" government desperation, Carcieri made it his mission to lure 38 Studios from its headquarters in Maynard, Massachusetts to Rhode Island.
Using his bully pulpit as both governor and chairman of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC), a quasi-public agency whose mission is to promote business in the state, Carcieri pushed hard for 38 Studios to receive a $75 million taxpayer-guaranteed loan.
Each loan guarantee must be approved by the Rhode Island legislature, and when the votes were cast in 2010, only one lawmaker voted against it. Rep. Bob Watson (R-Greenwich) noted "a lot of red flags" in a "very risky" deal that was "too fast, too loose, and frankly, a scandal waiting to happen." Watson added "more often than not, politicians are very poor when it comes to making business decisions."
Watson is clearly on to something, at least in the Ocean State. Some legislators later admitted that they did not realize that the loan guarantee meant to stimulate Rhode Island business, was in fact, only going to stimulate one business, 38 Studios.
The Globe notes that Schilling referred to the state's investigation over his company's allegedly unethical business practices as a "fake ass witch hunt," and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin cleared the company of criminal wrongdoing in June, saying "Bad politics, bad public policy, bad business decisions simply do not always rise to the level of criminal conduct."
Schilling, an outspoken Republican conservative, was fired from his job as a baseball commentator for ESPN earlier this year for repeatedly sharing social media memes which could reasonably be described as transphobic and Islamophobic. He's hinted at a run for political office, and eventually the presidency.
On his Facebook page yesterday, he offered a glimpse of what a Schilling Administration might look like. Responding to the bombings in New York and New Jersey and the ISIS-inspired mass stabbings in Minnesota, Schilling called for an immediate end to immigration or even "foreign nationals from entering this country via air," adding, "Unless an immigrant can PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt no links with terrorism, they cannot come here."
He bizarrely called for "a version of the Berlin Wall on our southern border"—unsuprisingly not understanding that the Berlin Wall was built to keep East Germans from fleeing their prison-state, not to discourage immigration—and called for terror suspects to be executed without trial.
No word yet on whether or not President Schilling would establish a Department of Publicly-Financed Video Games.
Watch my Reason TV report on 38 Studios below: