FirstEnergy, HB 6: Ohio Supreme Court to hear appeal of civil case

Larry Limpf

News Editor

The Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from the Ohio Attorney General, who is seeking to freeze the funds of a former chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio linked to a corruption scandal involving FirstEnergy Corp.
At issue, is whether the accounts of Sam Randazzo should be re-frozen.
“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,” Attorney General Dave Yost said in August 2021 when he announced he was seeking to seize up to $8 million of assets controlled by Randazzo. “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.”
At the time Yost said Randazzo had transferred the title of a $500,000 home to his son and sold four other properties worth a combined $4.8 million.
Yost then filed a motion with the Franklin County Common Pleas Court for a pre-judgment attachment to freeze Randazzo assets and prevent the future transfer or sale of his personal property.
Randazzo resigned his position with the PUCO in November 2020 after the FBI searched his home as part of an investigation into the HB 6 bribery scandal that focused on FirstEnergy and former Ohio House of Representatives Speaker Larry Householder, who has entered a not guilty plea. Householder’s trial was scheduled to begin last week.
Randazzo is not charged in relation to the Householder/FirstEnergy case but Yost filed a civil suit in September 2020 against Householder, FirstEnergy, Energy Harbor and accomplices, aiming to freeze profits they realized from the scheme.
An amended lawsuit by Yost alleges that Randazzo and FirstEnergy executives “engaged in money laundering, coercion, intimidation and an attempted cover-up by a politically connected group trying to enrich themselves.”
In August 2021, the Franklin County court granted Yost’s motion to freeze Randazzo’s assets. But on appeal, a panel of the 10th District Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision.
Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed to hear Yost’s appeal.
House Bill 6 was passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Mike DeWine in 2019. It has drawn criticism from environmentalists and others who called it little more than a financial bailout of coal and nuclear power plants in the state.


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