According to reports, The Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) and the estate of its former chief executive, the late Aubrey McClendon, have agreement in place to resolve a legal argument relating claims that Mr. McClendon stole sensitive documents from Chesapeake to make a rival company.
The Energy-Sector company was in quest of $445 million in damages from Mr. McClendon’s estate for the suspected theft of maps and data. The company said Mr. McClendon took that information with him when he was exiled in 2013 and used it to start American Energy Partners LP.
Meanwhile in the settlement filed earlier this month in Oklahoma County District Court, Chesapeake Energy Corporation(NYSE:CHK) has decided to drop that claim and pay $3.25 million in legal payments. In exchange, Mr. McClendon’s estate is dropping claims to any payment still owed under Mr. McClendon’s separation agreement with Chesapeake. That includes cash, stock and the use of a commercial jet.
However the treaty still need approval by the court, which is looking into series of validation claims by creditors against the estate of the late wildcatter, who in 2016 died in a bad car accident. A hearing has been set for March 8.
Chesapeake’s spokesperson said in a statement that the company is “pleased that the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.” A representative for Mr. McClendon’s estate could not immediately be reached.
In 2013, co-founder of Chesapeake, Mr. McClendon was expelled as CEO following a shareholder insurgency. He almost immediately launched American Energy, setting up shop nearby and hiring many former Chesapeake employees.
Furthermore Chesapeake Energy (CHK) took legal action against American Energy, as well as several partners and unidentified investors, two years later, claiming Mr. McClendon had founded his new business using maps of oil and gas prospects and other confidential data taken from Chesapeake. American Energy denied those allegations, saying the information Mr. McClendon took was lawfully his under the terms of his termination.
Nonetheless an American Energy partner controlled by the company’s major investor later decided to allocate approximately 6,000 acres in Ohio to Chesapeake Energy (CHK) and pay it up to $25 million. In exchange, Chesapeake dropped the affiliate and unspecified investors for its suit.