It’s been awhile since I have written about Aubrey McClendon, the wealth oil magnate working to develop a sensitive Lake Michigan dune area in Saugatuck. Back in 2011, I shared his close ties to Congressman Fred Upton and other very wealthy, very powerful men HERE and HERE.
Well, McClendon is back in the news today, this time after being indicted for bid rigging in Oklahoma:
Aubrey McClendon, the Oklahoma oil magnate whose plans to develop Saugatuck Township’s “Denison property” riled conservationists, has a bigger fight: he has been indicted for “masterminding” a conspiracy to curtail competition for oil and natural gas leases.
A federal grand jury accused McClendon, the former CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp., of conspiring to rig bids for oil and natural gas leases in Oklahoma, the U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday, March 1.
“While serving as CEO of a major oil and gas company, the defendant formed and led a conspiracy to suppress prices paid to leaseholders in northwest Oklahoma,” Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division said in a statement.
“His actions put company profits ahead of the interests of leaseholders entitled to competitive bids for oil and gas rights on their land. Executives who abuse their positions as leaders of major corporations to organize criminal activity must be held accountable for their actions.”
Federal officials say McClendon “orchestrated a conspiracy” with another large company so that they would not bid against each other for certain oil and natural gas leases. […]
McClendon is also at the center of a federal lawsuit in Northern Michigan over price-fixing allegations similar to those claimed in Oklahoma.
McClendon is wealthy because he has spent his life living on the edge of the law. Using his power and influence and friendships with powerful and influential politicians, he has pushed the limits of what the law allows to enrich himself, even if it means destroying sensitive environmental areas.
Thankfully, it appears that, this time at least, he has stepped over the line into outright criminal behavior. Here’s hoping he pays the price this time. After nearly bankrupting Saugatuck, Michigan in his effort to build in the Saugatuck Dunes, it would be poetic justice.
If you want to know just how shady he has operated, I highly recommend reading my piece Saugatuck Dunes threatened by a web of Republican influence in Michigan. It will blow your mind.
UPDATE: About an hour after I posted this piece, KFOR News broke the story that Aubrey McClendon was killed in a horrific car accident. He was the only person in the car:
Police officers confirm that a man killed in a car wreck early Wednesday morning is the former CEO of Chesapeake Aubrey McClendon. […]
Officials with the Oklahoma City Police Department held a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, confirming the fatality is McClendon.
Capt. Paco Balderrama says police are still investigating the crash, but added that he was traveling at a “high rate of speed,” well over the posted speed limit.
Balderrama says McClendon died instantly from the crash. After that, the 2013 Chevy Tahoe caught fire.
“He pretty much drove straight into the wall,” Balderrama said. “The information out there at the scene is that he went left of center, went through a grassy area right before colliding into the embankment. There was plenty of opportunity for him to correct and get back on the roadway and that didn’t occur.”
My sincerest condolences go out to Mr. McClendon’s family.
[Photo credit: McNeese Studios | Wikimedia Commons]