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Ghosts of McClendon

Gazette staff March 25th, 2014

Chesapeake Energy Corp. only thought it had heard the last of its co-founder and former CEO who was pushed out last year. News9 reported Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette recently filed criminal charges against Chesapeake for what he alleged were dirty dealings back in 2010 when Oklahoma native Aubrey McClendon was still at the helm.

The lawsuit, which also named Encana Oil and Gas USA, claims both energy companies took part in a 2010 public auctions for oil and gas leases by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The Michigan AG claims if the companies worked together after an initial auction so as not to bid against one another, it is an antitrust violation.

A Reuters story uncovered communications between the two companies after the first auction and before the second one, which didn’t sit well with those in the Great Lake State.

Chesapeake reported it conducted an investigation, using independent council, and found no wrongdoing.

Nevertheless, the reports showed that at a May 2010 auction, the two companies each paid $1,540 per acre and just five short months later, leases sold to both companies for less than $40 per acre.

Even if both companies are exonerated, Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler, who came onboard last year, said that Chesapeake did nothing wrong in Michigan but the company will not be doing business the way it was done under McClendon’s watch, News9 reported.

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