Cleveland City Council Seeks Name Change at FirstEnergy

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The Cleveland City Council is calling on FirstEnergy to relinquish its naming rights to the Cleveland Browns' football stadium. 

Lawmakers say that FirstEnergy's admitted role in a bribery scheme is cause for the name to be removed from the stadium. 

FirstEnergy bought the naming right for the Browns' stadium back in 2013 for $107 million. 

The name likely won't immediately change even after the council voted 16-1 to have it removed. 

“I take offense to the fact that FirstEnergy’s name, a company that admitted to multiple felonies, is on our marquee building down here in downtown Cleveland,” Ohio state lawmaker Jeff Crossman, who represents the Parma area, told WKBN

Councilman Brian Kazy sponsored the resolution after the company agreed to pay $230 million for its role in a bribery scheme to influence state lawmakers to pass House Bill 6, a billion dollar bail-out of FirstEnergy’s nuclear power plants. 

“FirstEnergy has admitted in court to the misuse of corporate funds to influence lawmakers, as part of a dark money political campaign to undermine Cleveland Public Power. Therefore, we would like to see this relationship ended in a timely and, if possible, voluntary fashion,” said the president of the Citizens Utility Board of Ohio. 

After the resolution passed Monday night, FirstEnergy released a statement, reading, in part:

“FirstEnergy is extremely proud of our longstanding commitment to community involvement through philanthropic giving, employee volunteerism and sponsoring local events and organizations. It’s disappointing that the resolution overlooks the important community benefits afforded by our partnership with the Cleveland Browns, which represents so much more than just a name on the stadium.”

Earlier in the day, the council also passed a resolution that any time they pass legislation that deals with the stadium, they will refer to it as the “Municipal facility at 100 Alfred Lerner Way.”

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