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Sam Randazzo resigns as chairman of the Ohio Public Services Commission

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COLUMBUS, Ohio: Sam Randazzo resigned as chairman of the Ohio Public Services Commission just days after the FBI raided his home in Columbus as part of an investigation into the corruption scandal of House Bill 6, according to Governor Mike DeWines’ office.

Randazzos’ resignation comes a day after FirstEnergy Corp. revealed she fired CEO Chuck Jones and two other top executives last month over a questionable $ 4 million payment the company made in early 2019 to an entity associated with an unnamed person who was later hired by the state. to regulate utilities.

In a resignation letter, Randazzo said that the impression left by the FBI raid and the FirstEnergys filing, as well as the publicity that went with it, will, rightly or wrongly, fuel suspicion and controversy about the decisions I might make in my current quality.

Right now, when you, my dear sir, are fighting valiantly to save the people of Ohio from the growing attack of COVID-19, there is no room or time for me to be a distraction, Randazzo wrote to DeWine.

I regret having to walk away but it is the right and necessary thing to do, he concluded.

PUCO Vice-President, Mr. Beth Trombold, will serve as Interim PUCO President until DeWine chooses a new President.

DeWine, speaking to reporters on Friday morning, thanked Randazzo for his service at PUCO. He has done a very, very good job as president, the governor said.

The governor said on Tuesday, after the FBI searched Randazzos’ house, that there was no indication that Randazzo was the target of an investigation.

Randazzo, a long-time lawyer and utility consultant, was appointed by DeWine in 2019.

Randazzo worked for FirstEnergy Solutions, then a subsidiary of FirstEnergy. FirstEnergy Solutions, now a separate company called Energy Harbor, owns two nuclear power plants in northern Ohio that are slated to receive a taxpayer bailout of more than $ 1 billion starting in January, thanks to HB6.

In July, Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four allies were arrested and charged with directing a $ 60 million bribery scheme using FirstEnergy money to secure the passage of HB6. and postpone a potential referendum to overturn it.

Two of Householders’ allies – political aide Jeff Longstreth and former FirstEnergy Solutions lobbyist Juan Cespedes – have pleaded guilty to their role in the scandal, although Householder and the other two remaining defendants have maintained their innocence.

Neither Randazzo, nor any FirstEnergy or Energy Harbor official, have been charged with wrongdoing so far.

Read Randazzos’ full resignation letter here:

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