Thunder Co-Owner Aubrey McClendon Indicted on Federal Conspiracy Charges

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIMarch 1, 2016

Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO Aubrey McClendon speaks during the opening of a compressed natural gas filling station in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009.  (AP Photo)
Anonymous/Associated Press

Oklahoma City Thunder co-owner Aubrey McClendon was indicted Tuesday on federal conspiracy charges to rig lease bids for oil and natural gas.

Sporting News' Ron Clements reported the U.S. Department of Justice alleged McClendon set up a scheme to prevent two competitors from bidding against each other for lease purchases in Oklahoma.

U.S. Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer released a statement regarding McClendon on Tuesday, per's Jacob Pramuk:

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. His actions put company profits ahead of the interests of leaseholders entitled to competitive bids for oil and gas rights on their land.

The alleged misconduct occurred from December 2007 to March 2012, according to the indictment Pramuk cited, when McClendon was the CEO of Chesapeake Energy.

McClendon co-founded Chesapeake Energy in 1989, and the company serves as the namesake for the Thunder's home arena.

Chesapeake spokesman Gordon Pennoyer said the company has taken steps to address legacy issues, per the Wall Street Journal's Amy Harder and Brett Kendall, adding, "Chesapeake does not expect to face criminal prosecution or fines relating to this matter."

Per Pramuk, sustained low natural gas prices have caused Chesapeake's stock to drop more than 40 percent this year.