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Ohio AG files lawsuit to block subsidies for nuclear plants

Perry Nuclear plant along Lake Erie in North Perry was one of two Ohio nuclear plants bailed...
Perry Nuclear plant along Lake Erie in North Perry was one of two Ohio nuclear plants bailed out by passage of House Bill 6.(Mark Duncan/AP)
Updated: Sep. 23, 2020 at 7:47 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has filed a lawsuit to block the payment of nuclear bailout money stemming from House Bill 6.

The nuclear bailout law is at the center of a $61 million federal corruption case that led to former House Speaker Larry Householder’s arrest.

House Bill 6 would create subsidies for two northern Ohio nuclear plants at the center of the scandal.

They will begin next year and are expected to generate $150 million a year by way of fees on electricity bills in Ohio.

Yost’s office sent letters on July 24 that FOX19 NOW has confirmed went to state lawmakers and to FirstEnergy, the plants' previous owner.

The letters, including ones to the Ohio House and Senate, went out after Householder and four others were arrested July 21.

The letters warn they are on “notice to preserve all HB 6 documents and communications.”

The letters also states Yost is considering a corrupt-activity lawsuit and may seek fines, damages and property seizures from those “alleged to have improperly or criminally influenced Ohio’s political process.”

“I am writing today to notify you of your duty to preserve, and not destroy, documents in your custody and/or control regarding the passage of Ohio House Bill 6 (132nd General Assembly),” the letter states.

“As you have likely heard, this past week the United States Attorney’s Office announced that charges were being filed against Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and several others related to the largest bribery scheme in Ohio history. H.B. 6 lies at the heart of the scheme," the letter reads.

"The announcement by the United States Attorney’s Office detailed the great lengths to which the criminal enterprise went to ensure H.B. 6′s passage. It is evident from the 82 page affidavit that was made public that Ohio’s legislative process was corrupted. A copy of the charging affidavit has been included with this letter for your reference and convenience.

“Ohio law is not for sale. This Office is considering legal action ... against all of the co-conspirators who treated it as if it was.”

Federal officials have accused a company believed to be FirstEnergy and its affiliates funneled more than $60 million in bribes to Householder and four allies to help secure the bill’s passage.

They describe it as one of the largest public corruption cases in Ohio history.

Householder and an aide, Jeff Longstreth, and three lobbyists, Matt Borges, Neil Clark and Juan Cespedes, were arrested in July and have since been indicted.

FirstEnergy has denied wrongdoing, and its executives have not been charged.

The plants are now owned by Energy Harbor, a former FirstEnergy subsidiary previously known as FirstEnergy Solutions.

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