Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Postscript: What The Chicago Cubs Could Learn From...Curt Schilling

Postscript: What The Chicago Cubs Could Learn From….Curt Schilling

Yesterday, I posted “What The Chicago Cubs Could Learn From Drip Pans”
http://syncopatedpolitics.blogspot.com/2012/05/what-chicago-cubs-could-learn-from-drip.html which reviewed the Ricketts' family’s ill-timed entry into the world of Super-Pac negative advertising while trying to scoop up $150 million or so of taxpayer dollars for the renovation of Wrigley Field. 

I published too soon.  The moderately tawdry tale of how a small but well connected Kentucky company manages to sell $17,000 drip pans to the Army thanks to a little help from Republican Representative Hal Rogers is simply not in the same class as the story of Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks legend Curt Schilling’s drinking deeply into the waters of the public trough.

Schilling’s company, 38 Studios, is a creator of videogames.  In July of 2010, the good people of Rhode Island, a small state with significant budget problems and one municipality that went bankrupt, reached into its pocket to hand Mr. Schilling a $75 Million loan guarantee in return for him relocating.  Then Governor Donald Carcieri (R) hailed the initial agreement as a way to generate 300 new jobs for his beleaguered state, which, if my math holds, amounts to $250,000.00 per job, a true bargain when stacked up against wasteful spending on sanitation, education, and public health. 

Two months ago, Mr. Schilling went on Fox News to crow over the deal, hanging with his good buddy Sean Hannity, ripping the socialist Obama Administration, and complaining about the oppressiveness of government.  “Every dollar I can’t commit to my company that’s paid in taxes is paying a government that I believe is too big and doing way too much that I don’t want done.”  He went on to prattle about how great life was in Rhode Island; it was good to see the “Republicans and independents to do right by the people.”

Two months later, the warm glow that emanated from the burning of public funds seems to have dissipated, and 38 Studios seems ever more oppressed by the power of the government.  Mr. Schilling’s company has now bounced a check for $1.1 Million to a state agency, and is apparently laying off some of those $250K-a pop employees.  Not surprisingly, he’s asked for even more support.

So, how did this all come to pass?  Well, in 2010, Rhode Island, eager to attract new businesses, created a $125 Million Economic Development Corporation loan guarantee program.  And how did Mr. Schilling’s company manage to vacuum up 60% of that money all on its own?  Apparently no one in the State Legislature knows, as they never signed off on the deal.  That would leave only the former Governor Carcieri, and the former baseball star Curt Schilling with the answers.  Mr. Carcieri hasn’t responded yet.  As for the extraordinarily voluble Mr. Schilling, cat’s got his tongue right now.

I wonder if they might make themselves available to the ownership of the Cubs?  When it comes to taking from the public, it always helps to have an experienced hand.