Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine answers questions about FirstEnergy deal

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday he only learned of an alleged bribe from FirstEnergy Corp. to the state’s top utility regulator after he appointed him to the post.

Akron-based FirstEnergy said last week in a statement of facts document that it paid former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio chairman Sam Randazzo and his companies $22 million between 2010 and 2019, including a $4.33 million payment on Jan. 2, 2019. Fifteen days later, Randazzo applied for a seat on the PUCO, an enormously powerful board that regulates public utilities, including FirstEnergy.

DeWine, who appointed Randazzo to lead the PUCO on Feb. 4, 2019, said Monday he knew Randazzo had worked for FirstEnergy but he was unaware of the $4.33 million payment until Randazzo disclosed it to DeWine’s chief of staff in the fall of 2020. DeWine initially said the disclosure came in October 2020 but then said he was uncertain of the exact date. 

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