PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A judge approved a $16 million settlement with the final defendant in the 38 Studios case Friday, ending the lawsuit over Rhode Island’s failed $75 million deal with former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s video game company.
Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein approved the settlement after hearing from lawyers for both sides: the state’s economic development agency and Dallas-based Hilltop Securities Inc. Hilltop was formerly the First Southwest Co., the state’s financial adviser on the deal, and agreed to pay $16 million to get out of the case.
The total settlements in the case end up at about $61 million. A number of other parties previously settled, including Schilling and other 38 Studios executives, lawyers and companies that worked on the deal, and officials at the economic development agency.
“It was easy to get started, not so easy to get finished,” Max Wistow, who represented the Commerce Corporation, the state’s economic development agency, said of the 2012 lawsuit. “We feel like it was worthwhile.”
38 Studios moved from Massachusetts to Rhode Island in 2010 in exchange for a $75 million loan guarantee, and then went bankrupt.
Last September, Schilling and others agreed to a $2.5 million settlement to end their part of a lawsuit. Neither he nor the other company officials admitted liability in the settlement, which 38 Studios’ insurance company would pay.
Schilling has said his company failed because it didn’t raise enough money, not because he did anything malicious or illegal. He also has faulted Rhode Island politicians for giving him a loan guarantee in the first place.
Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Friday she’ll file a petition in court to seek the release of documents from the state grand jury investigation into the deal that never resulted in any criminal charges.
“Now that the civil case and criminal case is closed, we should make all the documents available to the public and give the people of our state closure,” Raimondo said in a statement.
Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, also a Democrat, has voiced concerns about releasing investigative records from the case. Raimondo says Rhode Island residents have a right to know what happened.
Rhode Island State Police Col. Ann Assumpico has directed her agency to review and release the non-grand jury documents in their possession, Raimondo said Friday.
Still pending is a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit against Wells Fargo and the economic development agency, accusing them of making misleading statements about bonds used to fund the deal.
The SEC and the economic development agency have entered into a tentative settlement agreement, but they are still awaiting approval from the SEC, Wistow said. He said they’re hoping to get that “momentarily.” The terms of the tentative agreement haven’t been released.
PARIS (AP) — French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron on Friday urged researchers, entrepreneurs and engineers working on climate change in the U.S. to leave for France — a bid to capitalize on the doubt expressed by U.S. President Donald Trump about global warming.
In a video posted on his Twitter account, Macron said in English: “I do know how your new president now has decided to jeopardize your budget, your initiatives — as he’s extremely skeptical about climate change.”
Trump has voiced skepticism that global warming is man-made and has suggested taking the U.S. out of the global Paris Agreement on fighting climate change.
In the appeal, the centrist, pro-business Macron vowed to boost public and private investment in sectors linked to climate change in France. He evoked the landmark COP21 agreement that got signatory nations to agree to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The 39-year-old told U.S. scientists to “please come to France, you are welcome … we want people working on climate change, energy, renewables and new technologies.”
Macron is among the top candidates in France’s presidential election, alongside Marine Le Pen, 48, the far-right National Front’s leader. The first ballot will take place on April 23 and the two top candidates from that go into the presidential runoff on May 7.
Conservative Francois Fillon, 62, once the favorite to capture the Elysee Palace, has seen his popularity sink in recent weeks following an national embezzlement probe into paid — but allegedly fake — political jobs that he gave to his wife and two children. Despite the controversy, Fillon is heading to the French overseas territory of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean, on Saturday to show that his campaign is continuing as normal.
Other candidates in France’s presidential election include the Socialist Benoit Hamon, 49, and the leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, 65. The current president, Socialist Francois Hollande, is so unpopular that he decided not to seek re-election.
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong authorities have arrested a man for arson after a fire broke out in a subway car during rush hour Friday in a busy tourist district, injuring 18 people, two of them critically.
Police said there was no evidence to indicate the fire was a terror attack. Police District Commander Kwok Pak-chung said the 60-year-old man told rescuers as he was being taken to a hospital that he was the one who set the fire, and that he had done so for an unspecified personal reason.
“He was incoherent,” Kwok said, adding that police believe he used a flammable liquid.
Videos circulating on social media showed a chaotic scene of a fire inside the subway car and a man lying on the platform as people frantically used clothing to try to put out flames on his pants.
In addition to the two in critical condition, six others were in serious condition, and 10 were stable, police said. The injured included seven males and 11 females, but the information provided by the government did not indicate whether it included the suspect.
Hundreds of police and firefighters responded at 7:14 p.m. to the fire, which shut down the busy Tsim Sha Tsui station in downtown Kowloon.
Such incidents are rare in Hong Kong, a wealthy Asian financial center that has a reputation for being safe and has relatively little violent crime.
MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s highest court has upheld the conviction of the former deputy commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department.
William Flanagan was convicted in 2013 on official misconduct and conspiracy charges following a scandal linked to a high school burglary. Prosecutors said Flanagan pulled strings to help the son of a wealthy department benefactor accused of stealing $11,000 worth of equipment from his high school.
Despite video evidence, an eyewitness and the principal’s urging that he be arrested, police never charged the student. Prosecutors argued his father was as a longtime benefactor of the police department.
Flanagan was sentenced to 60 days in jail. His attorney tells Newsday (http://nwsdy.li/2kQhkaL ) she will seek to re-argue the appeal. The court ruled Thursday.
Two other police officials also were convicted in the case.
Information from: Newsday, http://www.newsday.com
CINCINNATI (AP) — Bengals player Adam “Pacman” Jones is getting more time to work on personal issues before anything happens with the latest criminal case against him.
Hamilton County court records show the date for possible grand jury action has been delayed from Friday until March 23. Jones has been getting treatment for alcohol and anger issues. His attorney has said he is getting professional help in the Cincinnati area.
“He is being treated like anyone else,” said Prosecutor Joe Deters, whose delay in proceeding in the case has drawn some local criticism. “He is in treatment and the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s office is awaiting those reports before deciding how this case will be resolved.”
Deters said in a statement that he expects the reports to be ready for review next month.
The 33-year-old cornerback was arrested Jan. 3 on charges of assault, disorderly conduct and obstructing official business after an altercation with a hotel security employee. He subsequently was charged with spitting on a jail nurse. An attorney for the nurse told The Cincinnati Enquirer she is “very upset” about the way the case is being handled.
A Cincinnati police video released last month showed Jones in the back of a police vehicle repeatedly using profanity toward the officers and telling one: “I hope you die tomorrow.” He apologized through his attorneys and the Bengals also apologized for his behavior.
Jones had said after coming out of jail Jan. 4 that he shouldn’t have been arrested and expected to have the charges dropped.
Deters has said he’d like to know what NFL discipline Jones faces, noting that a suspension would cost Jones millions of dollars.
The NFL has said it’s reviewing the matter under its personal conduct policy. The league could discipline Jones regardless of the outcome of the criminal charges.
Arrests and suspensions nearly ended Jones’ NFL career before the Bengals signed him in 2010 and he became a starting defensive back and kick returner.
He was suspended for the 2007 season as a member of the Tennessee Titans after a violent Las Vegas strip club melee, and was suspended for six games in 2008 when he was with the Dallas Cowboys over an alcohol-related altercation. He didn’t play in the NFL in 2009.
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NEW YORK (AP) — Charles Oakley maintains he did nothing wrong before he was surrounded by Madison Square Garden security officials.
Something has happened, though, to turn him from popular player to persona non grata within his former franchise.
Oakley blamed his strained relationship with the Knicks and owner James Dolan on Thursday for the altercation that led to his ejection and arrest from New York’s 119-115 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
Oakley said during an ESPN Radio interview that he had been in his seat for just a few minutes when he was surrounded by security, denying that they approached him after he shouted at Dolan.
“Now I’m four rows from this guy, so I’m going to walk in this place and just start hollering, ‘James Dolan! James Dolan!’ I mean, that’s embarrassing, man. I did not do none of that,” Oakley said. “I didn’t know the man was sitting in front of me at first until they walked over there.”
Oakley said he has been told that Dolan must be informed by security whenever he is in the arena, and that MSG staff follows him when he leaves his seat to go the bathroom.
But the Knicks said he was causing trouble Wednesday even before security reached his seat.
“There are dozens of security staff, employees and NYPD that witnessed Oakley’s abusive behavior,” the team said in a statement. “It started when he entered the building and continued until he was arrested and left the building. Every single statement we have received is consistent in describing his actions. Everything he said since the incident is pure fiction.”
Clippers forward Blake Griffin said he recognized Oakley right away and saw him say something to Dolan before the altercation at his seat.
“I was walking down and I saw him. He stopped and he started talking to Dolan,” Griffin said. “But it was crazy. I didn’t know what it was about or anything. I just saw a bunch of commotion.”
Oakley was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of criminal trespass. He is accused of striking one security guard in the face with a closed fist, and when two other people tried to intervene, both were pushed and received cuts.
He is due back in court April 11.
Oakley pushed and shoved his way around the basketball court at MSG for 10 years as a fighting forward during an era of excellence for the Knicks, who made one NBA Finals appearance and became an Eastern Conference power while Oakley played for them from 1988-98.
He was back there brawling again Wednesday, only this time it was a sad sight in what’s perhaps the team’s sorriest era.
The Knicks have become one of the league’s worst teams, winning just one playoff series since 2001 and falling to a franchise-worst 17 wins two years ago. Oakley has been a vocal critic of the performance and that’s led to his falling out with the organization.
The team gave him complimentary tickets and acknowledged him on the video board when he first retired, but stopped giving him passes after he blasted the team to reporters at a game. He is no longer invited to official team events and when he does go to games, pays his own way. He’s not sure if will keep going.
“My thing is, I would love to be able to go to the Garden, but I don’t want to keep going to the Garden if all this is going to keep happening,” Oakley said. “My thing is, I feel sorry for the fans because those fans like me, and they appreciate me and I appreciate them.”
Oakley was also appreciated by teammates, from Michael Jordan in Chicago to Patrick Ewing in New York, and he remains respected by current players. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade posted pictures of Oakley on their Instagram pages, and Clippers coach Doc Rivers said it was difficult watching his former Knicks teammate being dragged away and handcuffed during the first quarter of Wednesday’s game.
“Listen, he was my teammate and he was a great teammate,” Rivers said. “I don’t know what happened. Obviously they had to do what they had to do. They were in the right. Security has to do what they have to do. But at the end of the day it’s still your teammate. So that was tough.”