'Czar of Amalur' puts blame on RI governor

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May 25, 2012, 12:57 pm

(NECN: Eileen Curran, Providence, RI) - "We just needed a little more help, and we thought the state would have our backs on that," said Steve Danuser, one of the creative minds at Curt Schillings 38 Studios.  "We thought the governor was an ally. It didn't turn out that way."

 Strong words from Danuser, who describes himself as the "Czar of Amalur," the fantasy kingdom created for the company's video games.  But now, he's unemployed, along with hundreds of other 38 Studios employees, many of whom moved their families here for the job.

"We've really loved it here...we bought homes, we've helped the businesses in the area," said Danuser.

"The governor has turned his back on a lot of taxpaying Rhode Island citizens who work here and it's unfortunate because we had a lot of great people who wanted to contribute to Rhode Island and now they can't."

 But the governor says it was a bad deal to begin with.

 The state gave Schilling and 38 Studios $75 million in loan guarantees to move his business from Massachusetts to Providence two years ago.

 If Schilling failed, Rhode Island taxpayers would be responsible for the money.

"That's the way it's set up, unfortunately," said Governor Lincoln Chafee Rhode Island.  "Let's hope that doesn't occur. It doesn't look good, I will say that to the Rhode Islanders."

 When Schilling was having a hard time making his loan payment and missed payroll, the governor said he wouldn't give the company any more "easy" money. That's why Schilling laid off his entire staff on Thursday.

"This is just a company being formed by an ex-baseball player," said Chafee.  "It defies imagination to think the state would risk so much money in this kind of venture."

 Employees found their key cards no longer worked when they showed up Friday to pack up their belongings.

 Someone put a sign on the door saying "We love Curt" to show their support for Schilling.

 The "Czar of Amalur" says he has a few questions for the governor.

"Why did you do it? Why didn't you help us?" asked Danuser. "He (the governor) said a lot of things, he's broken confidentiality. He's done a lot of things to materially hurt us and I don't understand it."

 The governor said he would see if there were any investors interested in the company, but most likely this would end up with the lawyers.

Tags: Curt Schilling, 38 Studios, Eileen Curran, Steve Danuser, Czar of Amalur
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