Former PUCO chairman Sam Randazzo, accused in First Energy scheme, passes away

Details of the Tragic Incident Involving Sam Randazzo

Former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Sam Randazzo, who was embroiled in a bribery scandal, tragically passed away by suicide.

A spokesperson for the Franklin County Coroner confirmed that Randazzo was discovered in a Columbus warehouse that he owned.

Allegations and Legal Issues

Accused of accepting a substantial sum of $4.3 million from Akron-based FirstEnergy, Randazzo was implicated in assisting the company secure a $1 billion bailout for two nuclear plants while also manipulating regulations that would have financially impacted the company. Additionally, allegations of embezzlement from his clients were made against him. Despite the charges in state and federal court, Randazzo had pleaded not guilty.

His legal team had requested that he be exempted from wearing a GPS monitor.

Concerns Surrounding Health and Legal Proceedings

Randazzo’s legal representative did not disclose the medical reasons behind the exemption request. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office indicated that a mental health professional had expressed concerns about the negative health effects that the GPS monitor had on Randazzo.

Notably, Randazzo is the second individual implicated in the House Bill 6 case who has taken their own life. Long-time lobbyist Neil Clark also died by suicide while awaiting trial.

Background of Sam Randazzo

Initially appointed by Governor Mike DeWine to lead the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in February 2019, Randazzo’s legal career focused on representing significant industrial energy consumers. With extensive expertise in energy policies, he was viewed as a knowledgeable and skilled legal professional within the energy sector.

The PUCO, responsible for regulating telecom, natural gas, and electric companies, saw Randazzo playing a crucial role in guiding the commission despite having only one vote.

Relationship with FirstEnergy and Legislative Influence

Notably, FirstEnergy had suggested Randazzo for the PUCO position. Text messages unveiled a close relationship between Randazzo and FirstEnergy executives.

Advocating for House Bill 6, which aimed to provide a substantial bailout to FirstEnergy and other utilities, Randazzo’s support of the bill was evident. The bill was ultimately signed into law by DeWine in July 2019. Following an FBI search of his condo in November 2020, Randazzo resigned from his position.

Laura Bischoff and Jessie Balmert are reporters for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal, and other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.

Read More of this Story at – 2024-04-09 21:33:45

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