Commentary: In OKC, McClendon might be worst villain of all

Aubrey K. McClendonOklahoma City ThunderChesapeake Energy Corp.TheftDavid SternNBA

But we start by putting our Bud Light Spotlight on Fathers' Day on the best dad in the entire world - and his name is Aubrey McClendon.

 

According to Reuters, two years ago on Fathers Day weekend, McClendon took his sons to Amsterdam on a private jet, leased by his company, Chesapeake Energy. He gave one speech, and then took the boys on a two-week family vacation. They flew back from Paris on another charter. The flights cost $108,000 - and were billed as business expenses.

 

'Thanks, Dad! You`re the greatest!'

 

Although McClendon owns 19 percent of the Oklahoma City Thunder, I promise this isn`t me whining about a team that`s no longer here.

 

Instead, I simply encourage everyone to Google "Aubrey McClendon" and make a note for every time you see the terms lawsuit, IRS, SEC investigations or loans.

 

He`s mortgaged almost everything he owns, including his stake in the Thunder, which he`s leveraged against future profits too. 

 

While McClendon continues to enjoy the team he helped steal from Seattle with his buddy Clay Bennett, his shareholders are helping foot the bill. Chesapeake paid 36 million dollars for a sponsorship deal with the team, and pays another four million dollars a year for the arena`s naming rights. Chesapeake`s stock has dropped 40 percent in the past year alone, but it`s nothing compared to what shareholders endured four years ago, when McClendon was forced to sell $569 million worth of his shares - and the stock price plummeted.

 

With all his swagger and cavalier moves, that some characterize as nothing but greed – McClendon has clearly put his company in peril. In fact Alembic Global Advisors estimates that Chesapeake Energy could have a cash flow of negative $22 billion dollars by the end of next year.

 

I originally was going to write this commentary about "Karma" - he`s got a good dose of it coming his way, after his involvement in stealing the Sonics.

 

But then I realized that we're talking about a matter of people`s livelihoods - not just Chesapeake`s shareholders, but its 4600 employees in Oklahoma City, who will be stripped of their employment and pensions if Chesapeake is bought out and dissolved due to its financial situation. This could be like Enron all over again, and McClendon would be the culprit.

 

McClendon received a $250-thousand slap on the wrist from NBA Commissioner David Stern when he publicly acknowledged their intentions to move the Sonics to Oklahoma City. But it`s my opinion that he deserves even greater punishment for hedging so much money, and risking so many people`s livelihoods in the process.

 

As I said last week, there`s no way I`ll ever root for the Oklahoma City Thunder because of Clay Bennett. I should`ve added McClendon`s name to the mix as well. Because, in all honesty, he might be worse. 

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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