OAN’s Brooke Mallory
1:12 PM – Tuesday, February 13, 2024
State Attorney General Dave Yost announced on Monday that two former officials of FirstEnergy Corp., including the company’s fired CEO Chuck Jones and a former state utility regulator, have been indicted in a public corruption case connected to a law intended to save Ohio’s nuclear power reactors.
Charles “Chuck” Jones, Michael Dowling, the former senior vice president of external affairs at FirstEnergy, and Samuel Randazzo, the former chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), were all indicted by a grand jury in Summit County, Ohio.
There are a total of 27 felony counts against the three of them.
The indictments are related to legislation from 2019 on nuclear subsidies and other measures that would favor FirstEnergy, an electric utility, which was later withdrawn.
“This indictment is about more than one piece of legislation,” Yost said. “It is about the hostile capture of a significant portion of Ohio’s state government by deception, betrayal, and dishonesty.”
Jones and Dowling are facing their first criminal charges from the state. Meanwhile, Randazzo and others were also charged and are currently being prosecuted in federal court.
Jones’s lawyer said that her client had acted in the best interest of FirstEnergy and its investors and had also not broken any laws.
“When those facts are presented, they will set the record straight and restore the excellent reputation that Mr. Jones built over a lifetime of service to Ohio electric customers, FirstEnergy employees, his industry, and his community,” Jones’ lawyer Carole Rendon said.
“Today, FirstEnergy is a different, stronger company with new leadership, a sound strategy, and a best-in-class compliance program,” FirstEnergy spokesperson Jennifer Young said.
Previously, FirstEnergy had acknowledged paying Randazzo and then-Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder a total of $64 million through organizations they controlled in return for favorable legislation and regulatory treatment.
In 2020, Jones lost his job at FirstEnergy when Householder was charged with racketeering by federal investigators.
Four investigations of PUCO’s own are still continuing, according to spokesman Matt Schilling. Schilling went on to say that the commission placed a high value on its investigations not getting in the way of federal or state investigations.
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