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FirstEnergy Fires CEO Chuck Jones After Internal Investigation

Chuck Jones, FirstEnergy Corp CEO, after testifying before a Senate committee in May 2017.
Andy Chow
Chuck Jones, FirstEnergy Corp CEO, after testifying before a Senate committee in May 2017.

The FirstEnergy Board of Directors has fired its CEO Chuck Jones after an internal investigation into the ongoing federal racketeering case. The announcement came just hours after two defendants in that case entered a plea agreement in court saying they're guilty of the accusations.

A statement from FirstEnergy says an internal investigation found that Jones violated certain company policies and its code of conduct. 

Federal prosecutors allege a utility widely believed to be FirstEnergy funneled millions of dollars into a dark money which was used to get a nuclear power plant bailout passed by lawmakers. 

The nuclear power plants, Davis-Besse and Perry, were owned by a FirstEnergy subsidiary, FirstEnergy Solutions. This year the company separated from FirstEnergy under the new name, Energy Harbor.

Two defendants have now admitted to playing a role in the $61 million scheme, saying the money was also used to help get Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) elected as House speaker. 

Two other vice presidents of the company, Michael Dowling and Dennis Chack, were also fired.

Jones said on an earnings call in late July, days after Householder and the other defendants were arrested, "I believe that FirstEnergy acted properly in this matter and we intend to cooperate fully in the investigation."

The board has placed Steven E. Strah as acting CEO of the company.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.