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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

FirstEnergy Fires CEO Chuck Jones After Internal Investigation

Chuck Jones after testifying before a Senate committee in May 2017. [Andy Chow / Statehouse News Bureau]
Chuck Jones, FirstEnergy Corp CEO, after testifying before a Senate committee in May 2017.

The FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Jones was fired by the company’s board of directors Thursday after an internal investigation into the ongoing federal racketeering case.

The announcement came just hours after two of the five defendants struck plea deals in the $60 million corruption scandal involving former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) and House Bill 6, the nuclear bailout law.

An internal investigation found Jones violated certain company policies and its code of conduct, according to a statement from FirstEnergy.

Federal prosecutors allege a utility widely believed to be FirstEnergy funneled millions of dollars into a dark money which was used to get the nuclear power plant bailout passed by lawmakers. 

The nuclear power plants, Davis-Besse and Perry, were owned by a FirstEnergy subsidiary, FirstEnergy Solutions. Earlier this year, that company separated from FirstEnergy and emerged from bankruptcy proceedings under the name Energy Harbor.

Two defendants have now admitted to playing a role in the scheme, saying the money was also used to help get Householder elected as House speaker. 

Two other FirstEnergy vice presidents, Michael Dowling and Dennis Chack, were also fired.

Jones said during an earnings call in late July, days after Householder and the other defendants were arrested: "I believe that FirstEnergy acted properly in this matter and we intend to cooperate fully in the investigation."

The board named Steven E. Strah as acting CEO of the company.

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