Cleveland city councilperson says FirstEnergy should give up naming rights to football stadium

Cleveland Browns and First Energy Stadium. Jan. 29, 2021
Cleveland Browns and First Energy Stadium. Jan. 29, 2021((WOIO - Tim Dubravetz))
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 9:13 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A Cleveland city councilperson is expected to introduce a resolution next week calling on the FirstEnergy Corp. to relinquish its naming rights to the Browns football stadium.

Ward 16 Councilperson Brian Kazy cited the House Bill 6 bribery scheme in the resolution.

The Akron-based utility company was charged in the political corruption scandal for allegedly manipulating the passage of HB 6.

Kazy said FirstEnergy has failed to acknowledge its criminal behavior by continuing to market itself using the public’s taxpayer-funded stadium.

He also released the following statement, which said, in part:

“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.

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.”

In 2021, two Ohio lawmakers sent a letter asking the city of Cleveland and the Browns’ owners to have FirstEnergy’s name removed from the stadium.

FirstEnergy purchased the naming rights of Cleveland’s football stadium in 2013 as part of a 17-year deal.

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