COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has announced he was expanding his racketeering lawsuit in the FirstEnergy case to include more people, including former Public Utility Commission of Ohio Chairman Sam Randazzo.
In a release, Yost stated that, based on recent filings by the U.S. Department of Justice in its criminal case, he was adding Randazzo, and several entities associated with Randazzo, as well as Charles Jones, the now-fired CEO of FirstEnergy, and Michael Dowling, also fired senior vice president for FirstEnergy, to the racketeering lawsuit in the FirstEnergy/Larry Householder scandal.
Yost says he is also seeking to recover a $4.3 million bribe FirstEnergy admitted it paid to Randazzo to help construct House Bill 6, a $1 billion bailout of two nuclear power plants..
The release from Yost’s office states:
As layers of the corrupt enterprise continue to be pried apart, it became clear that Jones, Dowling and Randazzo were significant players in what one of the participants labeled “an unholy alliance.”
Attorney General Yost’s amended lawsuit adds allegations that Randazzo and the FirstEnergy executives engaged in extortion, money laundering, coercion, intimidation and an attempted coverup by a politically-connected group trying to enrich themselves.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine appointed Randazzo as chairman of PUCO in 2019. Randazzo resigned in November after the FBI searched his German Village residence.
“This is the justice system working, holding bad actors accountable,” Yost said. “To restore public trust, everyone involved in this sordid matter needs to pay a price. The goal is to leave no doubt – among politicians, the powerful and the rich – that engaging in public corruption will ruin you.”
The amended lawsuit includes three civil claims:
- Engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (ORC 2923.32 and 2923.34)
- Civil damages for criminal acts (OCR 2307.60)
- Damages for reputable harm (ORC 2307.60 and 2923.34)
FirstEnergy is cooperating with a Department of Justice investigation and has agreed to pay a $230 million fine.