Aubrey McClendon has been gone from Chesapeake Energy for a year but he’s still doing deals with the Oklahoma City company he put on the map.
Last fall, he gained control of the company’s suite at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. You’re likely to see him near the basketball court at Chesapeake Energy Arena as the Oklahoma City Thunder move through the NBA playoffs.
And he has a new drilling deal in place with his old employer.
According to a proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, the company’s co-founder and former chief executive acquired rights to Chesapeake’s suite at the home of the Dallas Cowboys last fall and assumed its remaining lease obligations of $7.5 million.
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The deal, which took effect on Sept. 23, was completed by the oil and gas producer “in an effort to reduce costs.” An affiliate of McClendon reimbursed the company for last year’s lease fee of $500,000, the filing states, prorated for the number of football games left in the Cowboys season.
Chesapeake has been actively cutting costs in the wake of McClendon’s departure a year ago, brought about by controversy over his personal dealings. Under a longstanding program, McClendon was able to buy small stakes in the wells that Chesapeake drilled. But critics objected when it was disclosed that McClendon had borrowed money to acquire the stakes from companies that also loaned money to Chesapeake. He left the company under pressure last April.
Led by new CEO Doug Lawler, Chesapeake has been cutting spending and selling assets to reduce a $16 billion debtload. In Fort Worth, where McClendon spent lavishly to make Chesapeake a leader in the Barnett Shale, the company has scaled back employment and has been looking for a buyer for the 20-story Chesapeake Plaza office building west of downtown.
Since leaving Chesapeake, McClendon formed American Energy Partners and raised money to drill for gas in the Utica Shale in Ohio. In October, he reached a deal with Chesapeake to provide drilling services to American Energy.
The proxy also reveals that Chesapeake continues forward with its naming rights deal for the home of the Thunder, in which McClendon remains an owner with a 19.2 percent stake. Chesapeake paid $3.2 million in naming rights fees for the past season, plus $2.5 million for a sponsorship agreement that provides advertising, an arena suite and other benefits. It also spent nearly $1 million on additional tickets to regular season games. Steve Kaskovich
Fort Worth a top city for colleges grads
Fort Worth has been selected by Apartments. com, an online apartment listing service, as the No. 7 city for this year’s college graduates to live and work.
Austin was No. 4 spot and Dallas No. 10 spot on the Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates.
Denver topped the list. Last year, Fort Worth was ranked No. 8.
“Conventional wisdom has been to go where the job takes you,” said Dick Burke, president of Apartments.com, in a statement. “However, for today’s young professionals who want to have more input into where they start their lives, our list helps identify cities that offer the best overall opportunity for employment and long-term career growth, affordable living and a vibrant culture that caters to young adults.”
Factors in selection to the list are employment opportunities, salary, affordability, age and the city’s singles scene.
The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Fort Worth is $864, according to the list.