slides: TIMELINE: Fox and Corso
Friday, May 09, 2014
Corso emerged as the go-to-guy in many key development sectors. From Historic Tax Credits to Movie Tax Credits to 38 Studios gaining approval to $75 million in loan guarantees -- they all had to go through Corso.
Corso needed Fox for legislation and Corso was a fundraiser and landlord to Fox.
Take a tour of some of the biggest milestones in these complex and intertwined business structures.
Related Slideshow: INVESTIGATION: Fox, Corso and 38 Studios
The Early Years
Fox was emerging as a powerful leader in the House via his role on the Finance Committee and later as Finance Committee Chair. Corso served on the management team at developer's Buff Chace's Cornish Associates.
The two worked together to write and pass the Historic Tax Credit Legislation.
Bio attached from the early 2000's - Cornish Assoicates Website.
Insiders Had Hands All Over Schilling’s 38 Studios Deal
The owner of the construction company that was awarded a contract to work on the interior of 38 Studios’ downtown headquarters has close ties to House leadership and other prominent local politicians, GoLocalProv has learned.
Steven Nappa, who owns Nappa Construction Management, has contributed over $16,000 over the last decade to top politicians including House Speaker Gordon Fox, Congressman and former Providence Mayor David Cicilline, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, former House Speaker William Murphy and former House Finance chairman Steven Costantino. In June 2011, Nappa also contributed $1,000 to the Fund for Democratic Priorities, a political action committee maintained by House leadership.
Nappa is also connected with Michael Corso, a Providence lawyer who has made a fortune helping to sell state tax credits and was involved in the earliest meetings between Schilling and Rhode Island officials. The two hosted a private fundraiser at the Peerless Lofts for then-Majority Leader Fox in 2007. Nappa also helped build the movie screen located in the open space next to Tazza, the downtown café owned by Corso.
Corso himself has contributed $11,625 to Fox, Cicilline, Taveras, Murphy and other local politicians in recent years.
Movie Tax Credits
Corso and Movie Tax Credits
The Providence lawyer who pledged more than $14 million in Rhode Island motion picture tax credits that had not actually been issued as collateral in order to obtain an $8.5 million loan for Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios is now playing a behind-the-scenes role in a Michael Corrente movie that is slated to receive $625,000 in state tax credits, GoLocalProv has learned.
Michael Corso, a top tax credit broker whose loan agreement with BankRI is among several 38 Studios-related matters currently being investigated by state and federal authorities, is one of seven producers for “Backmask,” a horror film currently being shot in Exeter, according to IMDB. Corso’s business partner, Anthony Gudas, is listed as the executive producer and former State Rep. John Loughlin has a small role in the film.
On Monday, the Rhode Island Film and TV Office confirmed the film has received an “Initial Certification Letter” for the tax credits. Corso did not respond to a request for comment.
Questions Surround Speaker Fox’s Relationship with 38 Studios Insider
Several weeks after initial inquiries from GoLocalProv, House Speaker Gordon Fox still isn’t answering questions about a 2007 fundraiser held for him by the lawyer who would play a pivotal role in bringing Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios to Rhode Island three years later.
In March 2007, Michael Corso, Steven Nappa and Robert Britto of Nappa Building Corp. and former State Representative Ray Rickman were listed as the hosts of a private fundraiser held in the Peerless Lofts for the then-Majority Leader. The event, which helped Fox rake in approximately $10,000, was catered by Tazza, the downtown café owned by Corso.
But while Fox’s campaign finance reports from the time include details about several other fundraising events held during the first quarter of 2007, there is no information listed about expenses incurred for the Corso-hosted event, which may constitute a campaign finance violation.
“Speaker Fox has been extremely busy entering the final two weeks of the session, but he will soon be checking the campaign records from five years ago,” Fox spokesman Larry Berman told GoLocalProv on June 4. “If corrections are necessary to the report, he will make them.”
Fox and Corso
38 Studios Insiders Have Been Connected Since May 2009
The lawyer at the center of the deal that brought Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios to Rhode Island had a business relationship with a top executive at the video game company a year before a piece of legislation that expanded the EDC’s Job Creation Guaranty Program was pushed rapidly through the General Assembly.
On May 29, 2009, Michael Corso, a top tax credit broker whose relationship with House Speaker Gordon Fox helped steer 38 Studios to the Ocean State, struck a deal to purchase credits handed out for the multi-million dollar Stone House hotel project in Little Compton from the Round Pond Management Corporation, whose President was Tom Zaccagnino.
By June of that year, Zaccagnino, who was also the co-managing director at the Wellesley Advisors Corporation in Maynard, MA, had become Vice Chairman and Lead Director of 38 Studios. A month later, Haymarket Capital, an LLC with the same address as the Wellesley Advisors Corporation, was involved with the seven-figure bridge loan a group of Rhode Island investors provided to 38 Studios.
In March of 2010, Zaccagnino and Schilling met with Speaker Fox and former EDC director Keith Stokes in Corso’s downtown law office. By May, the General Assembly had expanded the EDC’s loan guarantee fund from $50 million to $125 million, the exact amount the EDC awarded to 38 Studios later that summer.
38 Studios Contractor Ordered to Install Equipment in Fox’s Crony’s Bar
- 38 Studios Contractor Ordered to Install Equipment in Fox’s Crony’s Bar
- 38 Studios Secret Documents - See Copies
- Chippendale Requests Corso, Esten for Hearing on 38 Studios
- E-Mails Reveal 38 Studios’ Desperate Attempts to Secure Tax Credits
- Future Remains Uncertain for Schilling’s 38 Studios
- Insider Lawyer Paid $232,000 as 38 Studios Went Belly Up
- Momentum Builds For 38 Studios Anti-Bailout Plan
- NEW: Brien Rips Speaker Fox on 38 Studios
- NEW: Lawmakers Refute Speaker Fox’s Claims on 38 Studios
- NEW: Schilling’s 38 Studios Makes $1.125 Million Payment to EDC
- RI State Report: Fung’s Governor Moves + 38 Studios Hearings
- Schilling has Invested ‘Majority of Money I’ve Earned in My Life’ in 38 Studios
- State Report: 38 Studios, Legislative Raises & Casino Gaming
- Who Created the 38 Studios Deal?
- 38 Studios Debacle - A Timeline
- 38 Studios Tried to Keep Public in the Dark, E-Mails Say
- EDC Buried in Legal Fees over 38 Studios
- GoLocal’s Coverage of 38 Studios is Featured on CBS Radio - Listen
- Insiders Had Hands All Over Schilling’s 38 Studios Deal
- NEW: 38 Studios Assets to Be Sold at Two Auctions
- NEW: Chafee Releases Video on 38 Studios Lawsuit
- NEW: Meeting Notes Show Fox, Paiva-Weed Pushing for 38 Studios
- NEW: Schilling’s 38 Studios is Bankrupt
- RICO, Fraud & Negligence Claimed in 38 Studios Lawsuit
- Schilling’s 38 Studios Deal Hatched Earlier than Disclosed
- State Report: Gemma’s Investigation, Governor Carcieri & a 38 Studios Lawsuit
- Who Fought Against the 38 Studios Deal?
- 38 Studios Debacle: Top Stories in RI in 2012
- 38 Studios: The More We Learn the Worse it Gets
- Dan Lawlor: The Political 1% Need to be Held Accountable for 38 Studios
- EDC Buried in Legal Fees over 38 Studios
- GoLocalTV: Medieval Weapons and Software Auctioned off from Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios
- Insurance Policy Would Pay Back 38 Studios Bonds
- NEW: 38 Studios Auction Brings in $650k
- NEW: Chafee Supports Initial Ruling in 38 Studios Case
- NEW: Preview to 38 Studios $50 Million Game Released
- NEW: Schilling’s 38 Studios to Owe $395,000 Tax Bill in Providence
- Rep O’Neill Criticizes Fox & Superman Plan - Similar to 38 Studios
- Schilling’s 38 Studios Lays Off Entire Staff—Taxpayers May Be Stiffed
- State Report: Hurricane Aftermath, the 38 Studios Lawsuit & House Oversight
- Who Has Been Effective Responding to 38 Studios Crisis?
- 38 Studios Fallout—What Next?
- Arthur C. Schaper: 2013 So Far–38 Studios, Babysitters, and Guns
- De Ramel Blasts Pacheco on 38 Studios
- EDC Never Discussed 38 Studios After September 2010
- GoLocalTV: Sen. DaPonte Says Senate Did Not Know About 38 Studios
- Is Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios Going Broke?
- NEW: 38 Studios Bankruptcy Case Moving to RI
- NEW: Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios has Insufficient Funds in Bank Account
- NEW: RIEDC Statement on 38 Studios
- NEW: Speaker Fox Backtracks on 38 Studios Comments
- Rhode Island EDC Paid $40K to Bond Agencies for 38 Studios
- Sony Boss Blames Gov Chafee for 38 Studios Failure
- State Report: Problem Gambling, 38 Studios & Millions for Medicare
- 38 Studios Insider Gets $625k in New Film Tax Credits
- Arthur Schaper: The Politics of 38 Studios: Junk
- Defaulting on 38 Studios Bonds May Not Hurt State Finances
- EXCLUSIVE: O’Neill Says Fox Lied About 38 Studios
- Guest MINDSETTER™ Dr. Edward Mazze: 10 Questions for 38 Studios
- LISTEN: EDC Paid $40K to Bond Agencies for 38 Studios
- NEW: 38 Studios Defaulted on $1.125 Million
- NEW: EDC takes No Action on 38 Studios
- NEW: RISC Opposes Any Bailout for 38 Studios
- NEW: State’s Wistow Responds to 38 Studios Defendants’ Charges
- Russell J. Moore: Licht Admits Negligence on 38 Studios
- Special 920 WHJJ Radio Report: 38 Studios
- State Report: Racial Profiling, Master Lever Ban + 38 Studios
- 38 Studios Bankruptcy Hearing Begins Today: Company Owes $150 Million
- 38 Studios Insiders Have Been Connected Since May 2009
- BREAKING: Governor Chafee to Return Campaign Contributions from Defendants in 38 Studios Suit
- Does Carcieri’s 38 Studios Legacy Hurt Fung?
- EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Attorney Investigating Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios
- House Leadership Scrambles for Budget Vote on 38 Studios Provision
- LISTEN: Insurance Covers 38 Studios Bonds + Who’s Hot & Who’s Not
- NEW: Binder Rips Fox on 38 Studios; Taveras Endorses Fox
- NEW: Feds No Longer Investigating 38 Studios
- NEW: Rhode Island Gets Back $713K from 38 Studios Video Game Sales
- New RIPEC Report: RI Begins Post-38 Studios Recovery
- Russell Moore: 38 Studios Taints RI House Budget
- Special Report 38 Studios: GoLocal on WHJJ Podcast
- State Report: Speaker Fox’s Battle, Tax Amnesty & the 38 Studios Debacle
- 38 Studios Bankruptcy: Executives Say Tax Credits Could have Saved Company
- 38 Studios Relocates Ahead of Schedule
- Bonds Sold for 38 Studios Deal
- Does Carcieri’s 38 Studios Legacy Hurt Fung?
- EXPERTS: State Should Consider Defaulting on 38 Studios Bonds
- INVESTIGATION: Fox, Corso and 38 Studios
- LISTEN: O’Neill Says Fox Lied About 38 Studios
- NEW: Block Says Superman Building Has All the Makings of 38 Studios
- NEW: Full Documents - 38 Studios Defendants’ Responses to Suit
- NEW: Richard J. Land Named 38 Studios Receiver
- PolitiFact Fraud - Projo Changes Its Truth-O-Meter Score on 38 Studios
- Russell Moore: Don’t Pay 38 Studios Bonds
- State House Report: Death Penalty, Chafee’s Son & 38 Studios
- State Sues Key 38 Studios Players—See the Complaint
- 38 Studios Company-wide Layoff
- 38 Studios Scandal Could Spell Trouble for Incumbents
- Carcieri Accepts Responsibility for Approving Failed 38 Studios Deal
- Don Roach: 38 Studios Was Never a Good Investment
- Few Lawmakers Voted Against Deal that Paved Way for 38 Studios