Feds: FirstEnergy to Pay nearly a Quarter Billion Dollars in HB6 Settlement

( Cincinnati ) - Continuing the prosecution of what's been called the biggest public corruption case in the history of Ohio, the utility accused of paying bribes to get a billion dollar bailout has agreed to a deferred prosecution settlement.

The US Attorney of the Southern District of Ohio says Akron-based FirstEnergy will pay a $230 million fine for bribing former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and the former chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Sam Randazzo. FirstEnergy was accused of paying nearly $60 million to Householder, through his dark money group called Generation Now, to get House Bill 6 passed into law. House Bill 6 adds a fee to all Ohio electric bills to bail out nuclear power plants owned by FirstEnergy to the tune of $1 billion. Since the announcement of federal charges against Householder almost exactly a year ago, much of the bill has been dismantled by lawmakers.

FirstEnergy is accused of paying Randazzo over $4 million so he could make decisions in favor of the company.

The FBI and US Attorney held a news conference Thursday morning in Cincinnati. Acting US Attny Vipal Patel says that $230 million is the largest criminal penalty ever paid in the history of the district office. He says FirstEnergy is not allowed to pass those costs on to ratepayers, either. Patel says it's critical that FirstEnergy continue to assist in the investigation, also hinting it's possible that other people could still be charged in the conspiracy.

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