Local Groups Voice Support For Embattled Chesapeake Energy CEO

Friday, May 4th 2012, 1:29 pm
By: Dana Hertneky, Alex Cameron

Representatives from 20 different non-profit organizations gathered Friday morning to show their support for Chesapeake Energy and its embattled CEO, Aubrey McClendon.

Leaders told the media about the generous financial support and volunteer hours Chesapeake Energy and McClendon donate annually to the community.

"Think about it, how different life in Oklahoma City would be if Aubrey McClendon had not been here to help so many in need," said Deborah McAuliffe Senner, president and CEO of Allied Arts.

At the United Way, $5.5 million of last year's $22 million capital campaign came from Chesapeake. And United Way CEO Debbie Hampton is quick to point out, it's not just money.  But employees volunteer thousands of man hours.

"We hurt when they hurt," said Hampton.

McClendon and Chesapeake are facing an SEC investigation into loans McClendon took out to finance his stake in a company perk that allows him to claim a small stake in every well Chesapeake drills. The personal loans reportedly came from a company that also was doing business with Chesapeake, a potential conflict of interest.

5/3/2012 Related Story: Chesapeake Energy Confirms SEC Probe

A U.S. Senator is also calling on the Justice Department to investigate McClendon and former partner Tom Ward for possibly manipulating energy prices. This came in response to reports that the two set up and ran a $200 million hedge fund that traded in some of the same commodities produced by Chesapeake. The hedge fund, Heritage Management LLC, was in existence from 2004 to 2008.

Leaders of the local non-profits say, despite everything that has happened, they still fully support the company and McClendon. Hampton says she sees Chesapeake staying strong and continuing to be a vital part of the community.

However, her board of directors and ethics committee would look closer at the United Way relationship with Chesapeake and McClendon depending on what the investigation reveals.

"If those issues would arise it would go to that board level and that governance level."