DeWine, Husted get subpoenas in FirstEnergy investors' lawsuit over HB 6 scandal
There’s new action in the civil case involving the billion-dollar nuclear power plant bailout known as House Bill 6. It comes almost five months after Republican former House Speaker Larry Householder went to prison in the criminal case surrounding that law.
FirstEnergy investors, including investment and pension funds, are suing over losses they took after news broke about the $60 million bribery scheme in June 2020, when the company's stock dropped 40%.
Gov. Mike DeWine has received a subpoena for documents related to any communications he might have had with former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio chair Sam Randazzo, who was appointed to that position by DeWine a few months before HB 6 was signed into law in July 2019. FirstEnergy admitted to bribing Householder and Randazzo in a deferred prosecution agreement in the HB 6 case in July 2021. Randazzo's Columbus home was searched by the FBI in November 2020, but he has never been charged.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted received a similar subpoena, and is set for a deposition between Feb. 28 and Mar. 19.
"I would say a great deal of this information is already out. It is out in requests that we've received either from somebody in the news media or someone else to supply information," DeWine said when asked by reporters about the subpoena he received. “It’s a civil suit. We are not a party to the suit. But a subpoena has been issued for information we might have."
Attorney General Dave Yost added the request is to provide facts for a case, and pushed back on a question about whether DeWine could be added to the suit.
"The bottom line is anybody can sue for anything with a sheet of paper and $150. This is America. That's the way it works," Yost said. "I just I don't think that that's an appropriate thing for us to talk about. The governor and the lieutenant governor have been subpoenaed in a civil suit as fact witnesses. And you could be subpoenaed in as a fact witness in a lawsuit and you don't have anything to say about it."
Husted's spokesperson said in a written statement: “The Lt. Governor has already provided public records pertaining to this, and we will continue to comply as we have done in the past. There’s no new information to disclose."
Householder was convicted of racketeering and was sentenced to 20 years in prison in June. Former Ohio Republican Party chair Matt Borges is serving five years in prison for his role in the scheme, called the largest corruption scandal in state history.