Ohio's Top Utility Regulator Resigns; FBI Recently Searched Home

(AP) — Samuel Randazzo, Ohio’s top utility regulator, resigned from the Public Utilities Commission, a day after First Energy Corp. reported to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that former executives had directed a $4 million payment to an official who fits Randazzo’s description.

Randazzo, 71, submitted his resignation letter to Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, who had appointed him chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and the Ohio Power Siting Board in February 2019. 

Randazzo said in the letter that the “event and news of this week have undoubtedly been disturbing or worse to many stakeholders.” 

FBI agents had carried boxes from Randazzo’s Columbus townhome during a search Nov. 16.

Randazzo wrote the search and SEC filing by FirstEnergy Corp. “will, right or wrong, fuel suspicions about and controversy over decisions I may render in my current capacity.”

A spokesperson with the utilities commission did not respond to a request for comment.

The FBI has not said whether the search of his home is tied to federal investigation of a $60 million bribery scheme secretly funded by FirstEnergy Corp. to win passage of a $1 billion bailout.

DeWine’s office said in a statement that it would name another commission member as acting chair.

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