Former Ohio House Speaker Hit With 10 Additional Felony Charges

A former speaker of the Ohio State House of Representatives, now serving a 20-year federal prison sentence, was indicted on 10 more state felony charges on Monday in connection with a sprawling bribery scheme that handed a $1.3 billion bailout to a major regional energy utility.

The charges against the former speaker, Larry Householder, followed an inquiry by the Ohio Organized Crime Commission that also produced indictments last month of two former executives of the Akron-based utility, FirstEnergy Corporation.

The two men — Chuck Jones, a former FirstEnergy chief executive officer, and Michael Dowling, a senior vice president — were charged with funneling $4.3 million in bribes to the former chairman of the Ohio Public Utility Commission, Sam Randazzo. They and Mr. Randazzo, who was also indicted, have pleaded not guilty to a total of 27 charges.

The FirstEnergy case has been called the largest political scandal in Ohio history. Mr. Householder was convicted of accepting $60 million in bribes in exchange for shepherding into law a mammoth bailout of two unprofitable nuclear power plants owned by a subsidiary of the utility, as well as two coal-fired electric plants and solar energy projects.

Mr. Householder, 64, is appealing his racketeering conviction, which took place in federal court last June. Among other things, the new state charges assert that he illegally tapped a campaign account to pay $750,000 in legal fees for his defense and that he failed to disclose loans, debts, legal fees and gifts from lobbyists in ethics statements required of members of the state legislature.

The charges — three counts of theft, five counts of record-tampering and single counts of money laundering and telecommunications fraud — could permanently bar Mr. Householder from public office if convicted.

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