PUCO chairman Sam Randazzo resigns days after FBI searches his house

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Sam Randazzo resigned Friday as chairman of PUCO, the state agency that oversees public utilities, days after the FBI conducted a search of his residence.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Randazzo’s resignation Friday morning.

Randazzo has ties to FirstEnergy, a company at the center of a $61 million bribery scheme to pass House Bill 6, a $1 billion bailout of two of FirstEnergy’s nuclear power plants.

Randazzo has not been implicated in the bribery scandal, but a company of his was listed in bankruptcy documents as being used by a FirstEnergy subsidiary, FirstEnergy Solutions. Two people have pleaded guilty in the bribery scandal, and former House Speaker Larry Householder was arrested in July on charges related to it.

In a news release, DeWine said that Randazzo’s resignation was voluntary. Vice Chairman M. Beth Trombold will take over as acting chairman, and a 12-person nominating council will conduct a search for a permanent replacement. PUCO stands for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

On Monday morning, FBI agents searched Randazzo’s residence in German Village. An agent present said they were executing a federal search warrant for “unauthorized legal activity.”

When asked about Randazzo on Tuesday, DeWine said that Randazzo was not the target of any investigation to his knowledge.

“I hired him,” DeWine said. “I think he’s a good person. If there’s evidence to the contrary, we’ll act accordingly. But I’m not going to act without facts.”

Randazzo previously worked as an attorney and lobbyist who specialized in energy, communications and utility law. DeWine appointed him as PUCO chairman in 2019.

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