Chesapeake CEO Pledges Mementos for Billionaire Kaiser’s Debt

Chesapeake Energy Corp. Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon pledged his personal “oil and gas memorabilia” against a loan from billionaire George Kaiser, according to a filing last week.

The document filed June 8 in the clerk’s office in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, doesn’t say how much debt is secured by the property. McClendon is being stripped of his chairmanship of Chesapeake amid criticism of the entanglement of his personal interests with those of the company, including getting loans from Chesapeake financing sources.

Kaiser is among the company’s financers. His investment firm, Argonaut Private Equity, bought rights to future production from some Chesapeake wells for $412 million in 2008. The bank he controls, Tulsa, Oklahoma-based BOK Financial Corp., has done “nominal” business with Chesapeake, according to a securities filing, and a former senior BOK executive, Burns Hargis, serves on Chesapeake’s board.

The loan from Kaiser has been in place since at least 2009, and last week’s filing is to show that it has been secured with new collateral, said a person with knowledge of the transaction.

In 2009, Kaiser filed notice in Oklahoma County that McClendon and his wife were his debtors, secured by their interests in two companies they control. One of the companies was a vehicle through which McClendon owns personal stakes in Chesapeake wells, and the other was a venture capital company.

Map Collection

McClendon declined to comment. Kaiser is out of the country and can’t be reached, according to an employee at his office. Jim Gipson, a spokesman for Chesapeake, declined to comment.

The memorabilia is not related to McClendon’s personal antique map collection, said the person with knowledge of the loan. Chesapeake agreed to buy the collection, on display at the company’s Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, headquarters, in 2008 when McClendon faced a cash crunch. McClendon in November agreed to buy the maps back for $12.1 million plus interest to settle a shareholder lawsuit that asserted the transaction was improper.

Forbes magazine estimated Kaiser’s fortune at $10 billion as of September.

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