Oil exec Aubrey McClendon dies in crash 1 day after indictment

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Aubrey McClendon, a natural gas industry titan, was killed when police say he drove his sport utility vehicle "straight into a wall" in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, a day after he was indicted on a charge of conspiring to rig bids to buy oil and natural gas leases in northwest Oklahoma.

See Full Article

Police Capt. Paco Balderrama said McClendon, co-founder of Chesapeake Energy and a part-owner of the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, was the only occupant in the vehicle when it slammed into a concrete bridge embankment shortly after 9 a.m.

"He pretty much drove straight into the wall," Balderrama said. "The information out there at the scene is that he went left of centre, 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."

McClendon's death follows an announcement Tuesday that he had been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Balderrama says it's too early to say if the collision was intentional. He said McClendon was not wearing a seat belt and that he was driving faster than the 50 mph speed limit.

The Department of Justice said in a statement Tuesday that McClendon, 56, was suspected of orchestrating a scheme between two large energy companies, which are not named in the indictment, from December 2007 to March 2012. The companies would decide ahead of time who would win bids, with the winner then allocating an interest in the leases to the other company, according to the statement.

In a statement released Tuesday after his indictment, McClendon denied violating antitrust laws.

"The charge that has been filed against me today is wrong and unprecedented," McClendon said. "Anyone who knows me, my business record and the industry in which I have worked for 35 years, knows that I could not be guilty of violating any antitrust laws. All my life I have worked to create jobs in Oklahoma, grow its economy, and to provide abundant and affordable energy to all Americans. I am proud of my track record in this industry, and I will fight to prove my innocence and to clear my name."

Department of Justice spokesman Mark Abueg declined to comment on the impact McClendon's death would have on the case.

McClendon could frequently be spotted in his courtside seats near the Thunder bench in the arena named after the company he founded in 1989 with his friend, Tom Ward, with an initial $50,000 investment. They eventually grew the company into one of the largest independent producers of natural gas in the United States. He left the company in January 2013 amid philosophical differences with a new board of directors, and founded American Energy Partners, where he was chairman and CEO.

"Aubrey's tremendous leadership, vision, and passion for the energy industry had an impact on the community, the country, and the world," AEP said in a statement. "We are tremendously proud of his legacy and will continue to work hard to live up to the unmatched standards he set for excellence and integrity."

McClendon was renowned for his aggression and skill in acquiring oil and gas drilling rights. As drillers learned to unlock natural gas from shale formations over the last decade, McClendon pushed the company to acquire enormous tracks of land in several states. The strategy landed the company promising assets, boosted the company's own production and helped fuel the national boom in natural gas production. But it saddled Chesapeake with enormous debt.

Chesapeake eventually became victim of its own success. Natural gas prices plummeted along with all the new drilling by Chesapeake and its peers, reducing revenues for the company and making the debt harder to repay.

Chesapeake's 20-acre campus sprawls through an exclusive area of Oklahoma City, its Georgian-style brick buildings surrounded by manicured lawns and sycamore and elm trees.

McClendon's death is the second fatal crash this year connected to the Thunder organization. Assistant coach Monty Williams' wife, Ingrid, died Feb. 10 after she was involved in a head-on crash in Oklahoma City.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Meghan Markle's father says he talked about Trump, Brexit with Prince Harry

    World News CBC News
    The father of Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, says he talked politics with her husband Prince Harry over the phone before the couple married — and that Harry argued he should give U.S. President Donald Trump a chance. Source
  • Republicans on defensive over Trump's border separation policy ahead of immigration vote

    World News CBC News
    The emotional policy of separating children from their parents at the border is starting to divide Republicans and their allies as Democrats turn up the pressure in the U.S. Laura Bush, wife of the 43rd president, called the policy "cruel" and "immoral. Source
  • Halifax military officer expected to face sexual assault charge at court martial

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- A court martial for a Halifax-based military police officer charged with sexual assault is scheduled for today. Military police Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, of Canadian Forces Base Halifax, faces one count of sexual assault in connection with an alleged 2015 incident in Glasgow, Scotland. Source
  • Spanish king's brother-in-law begins prison term for graft

    World News CTV News
    MADRID -- The brother-in-law of Spain's King Felipe VI has begun serving a nearly six-year sentence for fraud and tax evasion, Spanish prison authorities said Monday. An official with the Interior Ministry's prison management division said Inaki Urdangarin arrived Monday morning at a prison near Avila, about 100 kilometres north of Madrid. Source
  • Thomas Markle wishes he had walked daughter down the aisle

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- The father of the former Meghan Markle says he wishes he could have walked her down the aisle during her wedding to Prince Harry. Thomas Markle told broadcaster ITV on Monday that his daughter cried when he told her he wasn't well enough to attend the ceremony last month, but was honoured to be replaced by Prince Charles. Source
  • Audi CEO Rupert Stadler arrested in Volkwagen emissions investigation

    World News CBC News
    German authorities on Monday detained the chief executive of Volkswagen's Audi division, Rupert Stadler, as part of a probe into manipulation of emissions controls. The move follows a search last week of Stadler's private residence, ordered by Munich prosecutors investigating the manager on suspicion of fraud and indirect improprieties with documents. Source
  • Caster Semenya files legal challenge against 'discriminatory' IAAF rule

    World News CBC News
    Olympic champion Caster Semenya is challenging a recently introduced IAAF regulation, calling it "discriminatory." The two-time Olympic gold medallist in the 800-metre will file a legal case today before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, challenging the IAAF's recently introduced Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification. Source
  • Migrant issue hot button in Europe, but EU says asylum requests dipped in 2017

    World News CBC News
    The European Union's asylum office says the number of people applying for international protection in Europe has plunged but remains higher than before 2015, when more than one million migrants entered, many fleeing the war in Syria. Source
  • Corruption whistleblower calls for ouster of Quebec Liberals

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - The Liberals must be defeated in October's election in order to properly clean up Quebec politics, says a former star witness in the province's corruption inquiry. Most of the people convicted in the high-profile cases investigated by Quebec's anti-corruption unit have pleaded guilty and served no jail time, while high-level actors at the provincial level have barely been touched, says Lino Zambito. Source
  • Indigenous protesters in Washington state declare Trans Mountain won't be built

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - Cedar George-Parker remembers the moment he decided to devote his life to defending Indigenous people and their traditional territories. It was the one-year anniversary of a shooting at his high school that killed four of his classmates in Marysville, Wash. Source