Former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon’s death in a fiery car crash in Oklahoma won’t put the brakes on civil cases filed against him.
McClendon, 56, died Wednesday after slamming his sport utility vehicle into a concrete embankment in Oklahoma City. The accident occurred the day after the energy executive was indicted by the federal government for bid-rigging on oil and gas leases in northwest Oklahoma.
Oklahoma City police said it may be several weeks before their investigation is complete, and declined to speculate on whether the collision was intentional. Federal authorities later announced that they plan to drop the charges against him.
While this is tragic, it will have no impact on the cases at all,
source familiar with the Chesapeake cases
But his death raised questions about the status of lawsuits filed against him and Chesapeake here and across the country, alleging that they cheated landowners out of royalty income. McClendon actively avoided sitting down for depositions in those cases, and now the attorneys handling them cases will never have the chance of questioning him under oath.
But someone close to the cases tells us that they have emails and other evidence to help their case in court. It’s not as good as going one-on-one, but it will have to do.
The first of those cases is scheduled to go to trial in April.
“While this is tragic, it will have no impact on the cases at all,” the source said.
On an interesting side note, it appeared Chesapeake was getting some immunity from its financial woes following McClendon’s indictment. Its stock rose more than 50 percent in the two days following the news that it was cooperating with the feds in its inquiry against its former leader.