McClendon, a descendant of the Kerr-McGee oil fortune, was part of a team of Oklahoma City businessmen who bought the Seattle Sonics and moved the team to Oklahoma where the NBA team became known as the Thunder. McClendon died earlier today as a result of a violent, single-car crash that came just a day after the Justice Department indicted him under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act on charges he rigged bids for the leasing of oil and natural gas rights in Oklahoma. Police haven't confirmed whether the crash of his Chevy Tahoe into a concrete bridge embankment wall was accidental or deliberate.
McClendon maintained his innocence after yesterday's indictment was made public. "Anyone who knows me, my business record and the industry in which I have worked for 35 years, knows that I could not be guilty of violating any antitrust laws," McClendon said in his last public statement Tuesday. McClendon had been forced out of Chesapeake in 2013 amid allegations of self-dealing and an SEC investigation. He started a new company, American Energy Partners, According to Forbes, he borrowed about $10 billion of other people's money to acquire new oil and gas acreage at what turned out to be the peak of the market, leaving his company broke.