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Politics

Democratic Lawmaker Wants Independent Probe Into Former PUCO Chair's Actions

Rep. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma), right, stands next to Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson), left. Crossman is asking for an investigation into former PUCO Chair Sam Randazzo, which he hopes will bring out more information on Randazzo's relationship with FirstEnergy.
Andy Chow
/
Ohio Public Radio
Rep. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma), right, stands next to Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson), left. Crossman is asking for an investigation into former PUCO Chair Sam Randazzo, which he hopes will bring out more information on Randazzo's relationship with FirstEnergy.

A Democratic state lawmaker says he wants more information on the relationship between the former chair of the state’s utility regulating panel and FirstEnergy.

It's the latest in the federal nuclear power plant bailout case that’s seen several plea deals, while Republican former House Speaker Larry Householder and former Ohio GOP chair Matt Borges maintain their innocence.

Rep. Jeffrey Crossman (D-Parma) wants an independent investigation into FirstEnergy and Sam Randazzo when he was Public Utilities Commission chair. Randazzo resigned in November after his home was raided by the FBI.

Crossman said he met with current PUCO chair Jenifer French last week. In a letter to her following up on that conversation, Crossman said he wants her to launch an ethics investigation into Randazzo, to file a bar complaint against him as an attorney, and to release Randazzo’s emails and other records on the Icebreaker wind project in Lake Erie that Crossman said Randazzo tried to kill.

"We need to get clarification as to what was happening and when during his 10 years co-chair, because it seems to have conflicted with his duties as PUCO chair," Crossman said. “I expect to get documents as requested. If I don't, then we'll take a look at filing a lawsuit."

Crossman said the PUCO has started some internal investigations, but he said, "internal investigations smell like a cover-up to me. We need to hire an independent investigator that's going to consolidate all these investigations, turn over every rock and every leaf and figure out what exactly happened during the time that Sam Randazzo was there and apparently working at FirstEnergy's behest."

FirstEnergy admitted to paying a $4.3 million bribe to Randazzo, who has not been charged.

A Franklin County judge has ruled that Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost can continue to move to seize $8 million in Randazzo’s assets.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.