As Head Of The Economic Development Corporation, The Predecessor to The Rhode Island Commerce Corp, Stokes Oversaw The Negotiations That Led To A Statewide Investment In The Doomed Gaming Company 38 Studios

From A September 2013 Article Published In Newport This Week

“Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein ruled that the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, where Newport’s Keith Stokes served as executive director until his May 2012 resignation, can proceed with its lawsuit against former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s video game company, 38 Studios, its former executives, and former EDC officials. The EDC sued in November, naming 14 defendants, nine of whom worked for the agency, including Stokes and former Deputy Director Michael Saul, in addition to several attorneys and financial advisers.

The lawsuit alleges fraud, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, racketeering and conspiracy. It claims the EDC board was misled into approving the $75 million loan guarantee for Schilling’s company in 2010. Among other things, the lawsuit claims the defendants knew the company would run out of money by 2012, but concealed that from the EDC board, which made the final decision to back the deal. Indeed, 38 Studios filed for bankruptcy last year.”

Statement From Providence Mayor Elorza:

Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today announced Keith Stokes will serve as Business and Development Director for the City of Providence, starting October 12, 2021.

“Keith is a person of strong character and leadership whose robust community and business relationships will be an asset to the City of Providence,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “He brings special talents in business and economic development honed through many years of experience in both government and private business sectors. As our business community recovers from the pandemic, I know Keith will hit the ground running to develop business and workforce recovery plans with community members to ensure that Providence continues to be a City that works.”

Stokes will be responsible for leading the City’s comprehensive business support and development programs and work with departments that contribute to the City’s business growth and retention efforts, such as the City’s Minority and Women-Owned Business (M/WBE) efforts and Office of Economic Opportunity. The position will have an emphasis on coordinating consensus among business, government, and community stakeholders to identify specific and actionable business development and COVID-19 recovery priorities, including recovery issues, programs, services, and plans.

Stokes is a graduate of Cornell University with a BS in Public Policy and an MA in Policy from the University of Chicago. He most recently served for nine years as an Economic Planning and Planning Consultant with Mayforth Group where he led and managed a dynamic business function that served institutions with strategic economic planning, government relations, development, grant writing, and implementation services. Previously, he was appointed Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Center and has served as the Executive Director of the Newport Chamber of Commerce. Stokes is a leading voice in Black heritage where he has received many local, state and national awards of recognition and is a frequent public lecturer on the topic.

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