Timing key in consulting deal between FirstEnergy, regulator

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Shortly before utility lawyer and lobbyist Sam Randazzo was appointed Ohio’s top regulator over electric and power generating companies, he received $4.3 million from top executives at one of the companies whose fortunes would soon be in his hands. In the months that followed, utilities giant FirstEnergy Corp. won a string of legislative and regulatory victories worth well over $1 billion over time to it and its subsidiaries, including a nuclear plant bailout that’s at the center of a $60 million federal bribery probe. Investigators are now probing whether any of those deals were tainted by the payment.