Oklahoma City Thunder part-owner Aubrey McClendon—who owns 20 percent of the team and was part of the group that bought the then-Seattle SuperSonics from Howard Schultz and moved them to Oklahoma City—was charged today by the Justice Department with violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. Each charge carries a maximum possible penalty of 10 years in jail, and a $1 million fine.
According to a Justice Department release, McClendon, who founded Chesapeake Energy in 1989 and was CEO until 2013, colluded with another oil and natural gas company over a five year period to avoid bidding against each other for leases in Oklahoma, with the pre-determined winner allocating part of the lease to the “loser.”
Since buying the Thunder, McClendon has consistently been embroiled in legal trouble. In 2015 Chesapeake Energy sued McClendon’s new company, American Energy Partners, alleging McClendon took proprietary information when he left. American Energy Partners settled the suit by paying $25 million and giving Chesapeake Energy 6,000 acres. Chesapeake Energy also paid $25 million to settle a suit filed by the Michigan attorney general, with similar collusion charges levied against McClendon as the ones just brought by the federal government.