Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cloudy With a Chance of Lawsuits

I wouldn't be surprised if Chesapeake Energy's next big investment isn't a gigantic moat around its sprawling Oklahoma City campus filled three deep with defense lawyers. With Chesapeake and CEO Aubrey McClendon both vulnerable after reports of the CEO's extracurricular business activities, the revelations continue to come and are piling up outside the company's gates. I'm sure lawsuits will follow. Here is a sampling of this week's revelations:

  • Reuters reports that McClendon arranged an additional $450 million from hedge fund EIG Global Energy Partners as recently as March 2012 to fund his working interest participation in CHK wells. This brings the current tally to around $1.55 billion of loans to support his participation in this program. While it's not illegal, there are many ethical issues involved since EIG also loans big sums to CHK.
  • Analysts are digging into past revisions of McClendon's employment contracts and are finding evidence that the board may have known more about his side businesses than previously disclosed. Expect more juicy tidbits on this subject.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that Chesapeake is being sued by a shareholder over the use of CHK senior management's fractional private aircraft for personal use. 
The last one is probably just piling on with a frivolous lawsuit, but the smell of blood attracts sharks. Expect the Huns to start massing outside the gates and the moat digging to begin immediately.

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