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File #: 2299-2021    Version: 1
Type: Ordinance Status: Passed
File created: 9/1/2021 In control: Criminal Justice & Judiciary Committee
On agenda: 9/27/2021 Final action: 9/29/2021
Title: To approve the settlement in the case of the Cities of Cincinnati and Columbus v. First Energy, et al., Case No. 20-cv-7005 and to accept a deposit of $35,750.00 to be deposited into the General Fund.

HB 6 was passed by the 133rd General Assembly and signed into law. It included a rider on all electrical bills that would be paid to First Energy for a period starting January 1, 2021 and ending in 2027. On July 21, 2020, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio unsealed an indictment against then House Speaker Larry Householder and lobbyists Matt Borges, Juan Cespedes, Neil Clark, and Jeffrey Longstreth alleging a bribery scheme and violations of the federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Practices Act). Specifically, the US Attorney alleged that Householder and entities controlled by him were paid $61 million in bribes in order to pass HB 6.

The Ohio Attorney General initially filed suit asking that First Energy be enjoined from lobbying against the repeal of HB 6. The Franklin County Common Pleas Court denied the AG’s TRO request. As a result, the City of Columbus, in partnership with the City of Cincinnati, filed a lawsuit against First Energy. The cities of Columbus and Cincinnati worked with Edelson PC in bringing this litigation. As trial counsel, Edelson agreed to represent the cities in the litigation and not charge the cities an hourly fee. If the cities recovered any money as a result of the litigation, Edelson agreed to take 10% of any such recovery, pending approval by Council.

The litigation that Columbus filed included a claim that First Energy violated the State’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Practices Act (State RICO). The litigation included a claim for attorneys’ fees.

After the cities filed their RICO case, the Attorney General filed a second lawsuit in which he claimed a violation of State RICO laws. Over the Attorney General’s objections, the Franklin County Common Pleas Court consolidated the three actions against First Energy and its related entities. Prior to the electric bill rider taking effect, the Common Pleas Court granted Columbus’ motion for a preliminary injunction. As...

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