Federal class action civil lawsuit filed against Chesapeake, Sandridge

The class-action suit followed an indictment against former Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon for conspiracy to rig the leasing process in Oklahoma.

McClendon had been indicted one day earlier by a federal grand jury on charges of gas-lease bid rigging.

In the email obtained by News9, McClendon took aim at the Department of Justice, saying, "Our business will continue to be successful despite these wrongful accusations." he also said he would continue to work during the investigation saying "I will continue to focus on new oil and gas businesses".

Aubrey K. McClendon, a well-known oil executive and part owner of the Oklahoma Thunder NBA basketball team, died Wednesday morning when his Chevrolet Tahoe struck a concrete bridge underpass wall in Oklahoma City Wednesday. They said the vehicle was traveling above the 40 miles-per-hour (64 kph) speed limit, and that he was not wearing a seat belt.

McClendon protested that he was the first person accused of a crime in relation to joint bidding on leases.

"This case is about cleaning up the oil patch", managing partner Warren Burns said in a statement. Ward, a longtime friend of McClendon's who co-founded Chesapeake in the 1980s, was the CEO of Sandridge at the time the conspiracy was alleged to have occurred. Representatives of SandRidge and Ward did not respond to several requests for comment.

"If you're in an industry and the Justice Department has found that there has been some sort of price rigging or bid rigging taking place, then you better be on your best behavior for a while", Bush said. The business, which he served as chairman and CEO, created at least a half-dozen limited liability corporations to crack oil and natural gas from shale rocks, the production method known as "fracking".

By winning an indictment of McClendon, prosecutors may have made other potential targets of the investigation more willing to cooperate, said David Weinstein, a Miami attorney and also a former federal prosecutor. The company didn't really get going until the shale boom struck, which McClendon foresaw, leading him to buy up the rights to huge swaths of land in promising areas.

McClendon was terminated from Chesapeake in 2013, but he continued to receive an annual salary of $975,000 per year - or almost $60,000 a month.

Ward co-founded Chesapeake Energy alongside McClendon in 1989.

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