COLUMBUS (WCMH) — FirstEnergy’s motion to dismiss the federal racketeering conspiracy case against it has been denied by a U.S. district judge.
Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr. released his decision Wednesday on the case involving FirstEnergy, former Speaker of the Ohio House Larry Householder, and his political associates.
The case alleges that FirstEnergy Corp., known as “Company A” in the court filings, bribed Householder and his associates to pass House Bill 6, a near billion-dollar nuclear power plant bailout for FirstEnergy and its affiliates.
FirstEnergy is a public utility that owned two failing nuclear power plants and allegedly pursued a “legislative solution” through Householder to avoid financial disaster.
The company is accused of committing mail fraud, wire fraud, bribery, money laundering, and other offenses to obtain the bill’s passage. All are in violation of the federal Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO.
In response to the charges, FirstEnergy filed a motion to have the case thrown out, which was dismissed Wednesday.
In July 2020, Householder and four others were charged with taking bribes totaling approximately $60 million to pass the 2019 bill. Householder was removed as house speaker shortly after the racketeering charges were filed. All five defendants pleaded not guilty in court.
In December 2020, a Franklin County Common Pleas judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking FirstEnergy from collecting a surcharge related to the bailout by raising customer rates.