By Kim Kalunian, WPRO News
Who are the 38 Studios bondholders?
It was a question a lot of people were asking in the wake of the 38 Studios debacle, which left the state high and dry and out an estimated $100 million.
Now there’s an answer, thanks to documents obtained by WPRI 12.
The documents show USAA, an insurance company that specializes in military clients, bought nearly $36 million of the $75 million in bonds. Financial services firm Transamerica Corp. bought about $19 million. There were eight other bondholders, all of which were financial or insurance companies. The documents accounted for $67.7 million of the $75 million, leaving us to continue to wonder who the bondholders of the remaining $7.3 million are.
Rep. Charlene Lima (D-Cranston), who introduced a bill to allow Rhode Island to default on the EDC loan entirely, and subsequently introduced a bill that would prevent the state from making repayment until the bondholders were identified, said even with the new information, the state shouldn’t pay the money back.
She said it doesn’t make sense to pay back such “extremely wealthy” groups; she said, if anything, the Fortune 500 companies should be paying the state.
She said there are still too many unanswered questions surrounding the loans: did the bondholders sell them to someone else? Are there special interest ties?
She also wants to know the identify of the remaining bondholders before the state moves forward on payments.
Still, Governor Chafee’s proposed budget calls for the state to make an initial $2.5 million payment to the bondholders in the next fiscal year, and Lima said she believes leaders are set on paying back the money.