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Former FirstEnergy CEO, prominent lobbyist and former Ohio utility regulator, incarcerated in Summit County Jail, released on bond

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Former FirstEnergy Corp. executives facing public corruption charges in the state were arrested and released from the Summit County Jail Monday after posting 10 percent of $100,000 bail.

Former FirstEnergy CEO Charles Jones and top lobbyist Michael Dowling, along with the state’s former top utility regulator, Samuel Randazzo, are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in County Common Pleas Court. Summit.

At a news conference Monday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said a Summit County grand jury indicted Jones, Dowling and Randazzo on Friday. They promised to report to the Summit County Jail Monday morning.

Judge Susan Baker Ross, who is presiding over the case, set the men’s bonds after speaking with attorneys Monday morning, and the three were formally charged at the jail. She will oversee the men’s first court appearances Tuesday. The 10% bond of $100,000 is somewhat standard for people charged with major non-violent crimes in Summit County Common Pleas Court.

The three men were charged with 27 counts, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activities, robbery, bribery and money laundering. In addition to the three men, two companies controlled by Randazzo also face charges.

The indictments announced Monday are the latest development in a larger, years-long corruption scandal that has already sent former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and lobbyist Matthew Borges in federal prison and resulted in charges and convictions of two others. Randazzo was indicted last month in federal court for the scheme.

Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer does not regularly publish booking photos, but it made an exception due to the notoriety and seriousness of the crimes.

Read more about the Ohio corruption scandal

State prosecutors say the new charges stem from payments Jones and Dowling made to Randazzo, who was chairman of the state Public Utilities Commission. Prosecutors said the payments were intended to curry favor with Randazzo, who authorities say helped write House Bill 6. The controversial bill involved Jones and Dowling directing $60 million in payments to Householder and his allies in exchange for a $1.3 billion bailout of two nuclear power plants. factories owned by a FirstEnergy subsidiary, according to court documents.

Monday’s charges mark the first time charges have been filed against current or former FirstEnergy officials. This is also the first time charges have been filed at the state level in connection with the scandal.

In a statement, Carole Rendon, Jones’ attorney, said authorities had spread a false narrative about the case.

“Mr. Jones did not violate the law,” Rendon said. “He did not bribe anyone. He acted in the best interests of FirstEnergy’s customers, as well as its employees and investors, and never betrayed their trust…”

Dowling’s defense attorneys released a statement denying the charges.

“The allegations in this indictment are completely false and are not supported by any credible evidence,” the statement said. “It is shocking that a prosecution would issue an irresponsible indictment and have no evidence to support the accusations made in the indictment. »

Dowling’s defense attorneys released a statement denying the charges.

“The allegations in this indictment are completely false and are not supported by any credible evidence,” the statement said. “It is shocking that a prosecution would issue an irresponsible indictment and have no evidence to support the accusations made in the indictment. »

Randazzo’s attorney, Richard Blake, could not be reached for comment. In civil filings, Randazzo’s lawyers have denied any wrongdoing.

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