Responding to a question related to my finding that ShapeUp, which made news recently when its new owner, Virgin Pulse, agreed to remain in Rhode Island in exchange for $5.7 million in state-government subsidies, a Rhode Island House spokesman tells me that the Economic Development Corp. (EDC, now the Commerce Corp.) and Dept. of Health weren’t the only government agencies that whet the company’s appetite for taxpayer dollars.
Disgraced and imprisoned former Speaker of the House Gordon Fox, a progressive Providence Democrat, directed $12,000 to ShapeUp through the General Assembly’s controversial legislative grant program. The first $7,000 installment of that money arrived in 2007, shortly after the non-profit started. Another $5,000, half in 2010 and half in 2012, flowed the company’s way as it moved toward for-profit status and received its $100,000 EDC handout.
One wonders how much companies that buy Rhode Island start-ups consider the many paths of claiming Rhode Island taxpayer dollars when shopping for acquisitions.