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Rep. Crossman urges PUCO to release records on First Energy's direction of Randazzo

Calls for independent investigation, public disclosure of information and potential ethics charge against former PUCO Chair
August 25, 2021
Jeffrey A. Crossman News

Rep. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma) today sent correspondence to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Chair Jenifer French urging an independent investigation into First Energy’s alleged manipulation of the PUCO through its former chair Sam Randazzo. First Energy recently admitted that it had paid Randazzo to take actions on its behalf while he was serving for PUCO, the state’s utilities regulator. 

“According to First Energy, Randazzo was paid to work for First Energy while he was serving as PUCO chair.  This must be fully investigated and all of the information publicly disclosed," said Rep. Crossman. "We cannot begin to restore the people's trust in their state government by only talking about the need for transparency--we must follow through and disclose everything."  

Additionally, Crossman requested that records of Randazzo's conduct be fully disclosed as well as a formal bar complaint be filed by current PUCO Chair French against Sam Randazzo if PUCO has information confirming First Energy's recent admissions.

Crossman's correspondence requests a series of records related to Randazzo's involvement in the attempt to kill the "Icebreaker" project in 2020.  Icebreaker's developer is attempting to build wind turbines in Lake Erie, a $250 million project that would be among the first of its kind if achieved.  

In early 2020, the Ohio Power Siting Board, also chaired by Sam Randazzo, sought to impose "shutdown" conditions on the project that would have rendered the project unfeasible if it was forced to shut its turbines down every night as the original order required.  The Ohio Power Siting Board later reversed its decision to impose these conditions and removed them after non-voting OPSB members Crossman and Senator Sandra Williams began questioning Randazzo how those conditions were slipped into the approval order without notice.

Crossman also called for Chair French to initiate an ethics investigation of Sam Randazzo, an attorney, by the Ohio Supreme Court's Office of Disciplinary Counsel.  

"To my knowledge this has not yet been done but must be,” said Rep. Crossman. “Ethics investigators should determine whether Sam Randazzo's conduct during his tenure as PUCO chair violated his ethical duties and whether any violations justify sanctions, including the possibility of taking away his law license."