A.G. seizes $8M in assets from defendant in FirstEnergy bribery scandal

Politics

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said Friday that he is seizing up to $8 million in assets from Sam Randazzo, former chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Ohio, who was allegedly bribed by FirstEnergy in the House Bill 6 scandal.

Yost announced Friday that he has obtained a court order to freeze Randazzo’s assets as the former PUCO chairman faces racketeering charges. Yost said in a statement that the freeze will prevent Randazzo from transferring or selling his personal property.

“Since February, Randazzo has transferred a $500,000 home to his son and sold four other properties worth a combined $4.8 million,” the statement read.

FirstEnergy admitted to bribing Randazzo to the tune of $4.3 million to help construct House Bill 6, and he should be accountable for those actions. Randazzo is making moves that will make it harder to hold him financially accountable for accepting bribes. As the federal investigation continues, we need to make sure that his assets are available for recovery when his time comes to pay. 

Attorney General Dave Yost

Randazzo resigned as PUCO chair in November 2020 after the FBI searched his German Village home in connection with the bribery scandal. Randazzo was added to Yost’s racketeering lawsuit earlier this month.

According to the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, FirstEnergy has admitted to conspiring to pay millions of dollars to public officials in exchange for passing House Bill 6 and bailing out two nuclear power plants. The bill was signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine.

FirstEnergy is cooperating with the government and has agreed to pay a $230 million fine in order to avoid federal charges. The company is still facing charges of conspiring to commit honest services wire fraud.

In addition to Randazzo stepping down from PUCO, the scandal has led to Larry Householder being forced out of his position as Speaker of the Ohio House. Householder and other defendants have pleaded not guilty. Randazzo has not yet entered a plea.

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