After more than nine hours of deliberation, a jury on Thursday found former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and state Republican Chairman Matt Borges guilty of felony racketeering charges in connection with a billion-dollar utility bailout that was passed in 2019.
Both men face maximum sentences of 20 years. U.S. District Judge Timothy Black will schedule a sentencing hearing shortly.
Akron-based FirstEnergy and other utilities paid tens of millions into an effort to elect friendly lawmakers in 2018 who would vote to make Householder speaker the following year. Immediately after taking the speaker’s gavel, Householder worked furiously to pass a $1.3 billion bailout, the vast majority of which benefited FirstEnergy subsidiary FirstEnergy Services. The company was being dragged down by losses from its nuclear and coal plants and executives were seeking a bailout.
When opponents started gathering signatures to repeal the bailout law, House Bill 6, FirstEnergy poured $36 million into an effort to block it. Householder took control of the push to block the repeal, while Borges assisted — both by pressuring Attorney General Dave Yost and by paying $15,000 for inside information about the petition campaign.
This story was originally published by the Ohio Capital Journal and republished here with permission.
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