Firstenergy Settles Ratepayer Lawsuits For $37.5M

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — FirstEnergy Corp. has settled four ratepayer lawsuits filed after the utility giant became ensnared in a $60 million bribery scheme to win a $1 billion legislative bailout for two Ohio nuclear plants operated by a company subsidiary when the bill passed in 2019.

FirstEnergy CEO Steven Strah announced the settlements reached last week totaling $37.5 million during an earnings call Friday, cleveland.com reported.

One of the lawsuits was filed in Cuyahoga County and the other three in federal court in Columbus. It’s not clear who gets the money. Settlement documents have not yet been filed in either court.

Akron-based FirstEnergy admitted last year in a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice that it funded a dark money group to help elect supporters of then-Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, win passage of the bailout and prevent an anti-bailout referendum from reaching the ballot.

The prosecution agreement called for FirstEnergy to pay a $230 million fine.

Householder, four associates and a dark money group were indicted on racketeering charges in July 2020. Householder has pleaded not guilty and awaits trial in federal court.