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Statement by Councilman Brian Kazy on Resolution Calling on First Energy to Relinquish Naming Rights

May 20, 2022

The resolution I am sponsoring is self-explanatory. First Energy spent nearly $61 million to get Ohio HB 6 passed to secure a $1.3 billion dollar bailout by ratepayers for its nuclear power plants. A federal investigation led to felony charges in connection to the bribery scheme to influence state legislators to pass the legislation.

FirstEnergy Corp. has agreed to pay a $230 million fine for its central role in a bribery scheme. A corruption trial on the issue is scheduled for early next year.

“This Council believes that First Energy applied political pressure using phony citizen groups and paid out significant dollars to restrict or destroy Cleveland Public Power and to influence or control this Council,” the resolution states.  “That First Energy continues to market itself using the public’s taxpayer-funded stadium signifies its failure to fully acknowledge its criminal behavior and unintentionally implies community support for a criminal enterprise.”

Simply, I don’t believe that the municipally owned stadium that the Cleveland Browns play in should bear the name of this tainted company. The sign, seen as people enter Cleveland, gives the impression that they represent the city. This is false.                                         

Resolutions are typically sponsored by an individual council member and after introduction other council members decide whether to become co-sponsors. This resolution is number 541-2022.