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Lawmakers say former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling likely won't comply with subpoena

Posted at 11:47 AM, Dec 12, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Curt Schilling may not comply with a subpoena to appear before a legislative committee probing Rhode Island's $75 million deal with his failed video game company, but state lawmakers felt they at least needed to attempt to get answers from the former Boston Red Sox pitcher.

The subpoena — requested by the House Oversight Committee and issued by Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello — commands Schilling to testify before the committee at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

A constable has the subpoena, but hasn't been able to serve it, Mattiello's spokesman, Larry Berman, said Friday.

That might not matter, anyway.

Schilling lives in Massachusetts. The legislative subpoena isn't expected to be legally effective or enforceable outside of Rhode Island, according to the House legal counsel. It's the first legislative subpoena that has been issued, Berman said.

Schilling has never publicly answered questions about how the 38 Studios deal went wrong. He is one of several people being sued over the deal.

"While I'm not an attorney, I don't know of any attorney who would recommend that he speaks publicly about something ongoing in a civil trial," said Republican Rep. Michael Chippendale, the Oversight Committee's co-vice chairman. "I'm very pragmatic about it and I don't have any expectations of him appearing."

But, Chippendale said, the committee wants answers from the major players in the 38 Studios deal.

"We shouldn't let the difficulties of the subpoena process stop us from following all of the steps we possibly can," he said. "These are answers Rhode Islanders deserve right now. We are paying for this."

Schilling's attorneys did not respond to requests for comment about the subpoena.

38 Studios relocated to Rhode Island from Massachusetts in 2010 in exchange for a $75 million state loan guarantee. The company ran out of money less than two years later, leaving taxpayers on the hook.

The committee previously invited Schilling to come voluntarily, but he declined. His lawyers cited the lawsuit.

Democratic Rep. Patricia Serpa, who also serves on the Oversight Committee, said it was a public service to pursue all avenues to question Schilling, but there's probably not another way for the committee to do so if he doesn't comply with the subpoena.

"The subpoena is the strongest tool in the tool kit," she said. "If he ignores that, and I expect he will, what else can we do? We can't lasso him and shackle him."

Chippendale and Serpa said they think the committee should still subpoena others involved in the deal. The committee chairwoman has said she would.

Republican Rep. Daniel Reilly, a lawyer who serves on the committee, said the committee may not be the proper forum for this fact-finding endeavor.

"We should be tasked with finding reforms to put into place rather than conducting a thorough investigation," he said. "I just don't see legally how that's possible for us to do."

The current subpoena expires on Tuesday if it's not served. In that case, Mattiello would issue a new one, Berman said.