Chafee taps 3 more for EDC


Gov. Lincoln Chafee on Monday tapped three more people to serve on the board of the state’s economic development agency, which has come under fire for approving a $75 million loan guarantee for the now troubled video game company of former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.

Chafee announced he was nominating South Kingstown businessman Roland Fiore, bank executive Stephen Hardy and labor leader William Holmes to serve on the Economic Development Corp. Board. The appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

“I don’t think EDC has irrevocably lost credibility because of 38 Studios. There’s too much solid foundation of good work that’s occurred,” Chafee said.

Chafee said his plan for the new EDC board is to be conservative.

“This is a new day.  It’s a new day on what happens with taxpayer dollars.  We’ve been scorched. We’ve been burned,” Chafee said.

The governor also said he would wait until at least September to nominate a permanent successor for Keith Stokes, who resigned as executive director last month as the EDC faced questions about the board’s approval in 2010 of the loan guarantee for 38 Studios. The company laid off its entire staff in Rhode Island and Maryland last month, and the state would likely pay some of its debts if the firm collapses. Chafee said talks continue with potential investors in the company.

The EDC’s deputy director, William Parsons, is currently serving in Stokes’ place.

Chafee, an independent, also appointed a special adviser to help stabilize the EDC. Paul McGreevy, director of the state Department of Business Regulation, will fill that role. Chafee said McGreevy will work with the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, which is conducting a review of EDC operations.

“He will conduct a thorough and disciplined review of the organization as a whole and help us address complex questions and decisions about its future,” Chafee said.

Chafee last week said he had ordered a review of operations at the EDC, to be carried out by the council. The business-backed nonprofit public policy organization will examine the agency’s structure and effectiveness.

The governor said he wanted to wait until that review was complete before he named a permanent successor for Stokes.

The EDC has been in disarray in recent weeks, as Chafee sought the resignations of board members who supported the loan guarantee in 2010.

Last week, Chafee nominated Marcia Blount, Pablo Rodriguez and Alison Vareika to replace Helena Foulkes, Lynn Singleton and Stephen Lane, who had resigned from the board.

The nominees named Monday would replace former board members Timothy Babineau, Daniel Sullivan and George Nee.

Fiore is president of South County Sand Gravel Co. Inc. and Hardy is senior vice president at Bristol County Savings Bank. Holmes is business manager for Rhode Island Carpenters Local 94.

The board has 12 appointed members and is chaired by Chafee.

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