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Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp Fires CEO Chuck Jones

Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. has terminated CEO Charles Jones and two Senior Vice Presidents after an Independent Review Committee determined the executives "violated certain FirstEnergy policies and its code of conduct." The entire statement from the company is below.

The move comes on the same day that two people -- Juan Cespedes and Jeffrey Longstreth -- pleaded guilty in the $61 million HB6 energy bill racketeering case after reaching a deal with prosecutors.

The investigation alleges former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) and others of orchestrating one of the largest corruption scandals in Ohio history.

Cespedes was a lobbyist for FirstEnergy as the legislature worked on passing HB6. Longstreth has been known to be Householder's chief political strategist.

Federal investigators say an unnamed utility, listed as "Company A" in the affidavit, funneled millions of dollars into a dark money group which went on to put pressure on legislators to vote for HB6 through ads and mailers. The dark money group, Generation Now, also funded an aggressive campaign against an attempted citizen's referendum on HB6.

The investigation accuses Householder of having control of Generation Now and the decisions it made. Prosecutors say Householder was able to use that money to also help political allies get elected to the House which helped him become speaker in 2019.

"Company A" is widely believed to be FirstEnergy, which matches the description in the federal affidavit.

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Kabir Bhatia joined WKSU as a Reporter/Producer and weekend host in 2010. A graduate of Hudson High School, he received his Bachelor's from Kent State University. While a Kent student, Bhatia served as a WKSU student assistant, working in the newsroom and for production.
Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.
A Northeast Ohio native, Sarah Taylor graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she worked at her first NPR station, WMUB. She began her professional career at WCKY-AM in Cincinnati and spent two decades in television news, the bulk of them at WKBN in Youngstown (as Sarah Eisler). For the past three years, Sarah has taught a variety of courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State, where she is also pursuing a Master’s degree. Sarah and her husband Scott, have two children. They live in Tallmadge.