It seemed like the bird of fortune had landed in Midcoast Maine two years ago.
The Kestral Aircraft Co. announced it would build a new type of aircraft at the decommissioned Brunswick Naval Air Station.
But last January that deal collapsed with the company claiming Maine had reneged on millions of dollars in public financing. CEO Alan Klapmeier had hoped to receive $39 million in tax credits, but said he received only a fifth of that.
State development officials said Kestral never provided "updated and thorough financial information," according to a press release from Gov. Paul LePage.
Then we learned another reason for the switch: the conservative governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, had stepped in with an even more liberal bundle of incentives.
Only time will tell whether that investment will pay off for the badger state, nicknamed for that short-legged member of the skunk family.
But in states desperate for jobs, it is tempting to use the public treasury to get a potential employer up and running.
As the rapidly deteriorating fate of former Red Sox star Curt Schilling's company shows, those bets can quickly go awry.
At about the same time Maine was being romanced by Kestral, Schilling and his company, 38 Studios, was working out a similar deal with Rhode Island.
Schilling, a pitcher who spent a lot of time playing video games while on the road during his career, was trying to raise money and obtain tax breaks so his company could build a new fantasy game.
Schilling and outgoing Gov. Donald Carcieri reached agreement on $75 million in public funding two weeks before the Republican left office.
But investing in the gaming industry is risky, experts say. It is extremely competitive and timing is critical.
Meanwhile, the money spent generally results in no hard assets — land, buildings or manufacturing equipment — that can be used to help secure a loan.
Even worse, a new software venture can run out of money before the project has been completed, which seems to be what has happened to Schilling's company.
"To be successful in the space requires superb timing, superb management, superb talent and a good dose of luck," one industry expert told the Boston Globe.
Schilling's company has burned through $50 million and is seeking to delay a $1.1 million payment to the state. Friday, 38 Studios applied for a $14 million film tax credit and last week its workers went unpaid, according to the Providence Journal.
Republican Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who opposed the Schilling deal as a candidate, said the company should now seek private funding.
"Taxpayers have had a very generous deal for 38 Studios," he told the Huffington Post. "We're in deep."
Which is a place no state, particularly a small, struggling state like Rhode Island, wants to be.
There's no way of knowing yet whether the Kestral Aircraft bet will pay off for Wisconsin or if Schilling's company will survive.
But both companies demonstrate that luring speculative start-ups can be risky and costly for taxpayers.
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.