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“Nobody is above the law, not Chesapeake, not Sandridge,” Local attorney weighs in on civil lawsuit alleging bid rigging

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OKLAHOMA - A class action lawsuit against Oklahoma oil companies.

Tuesday, a federal indictment against former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon.

Wednesday, the current CEO of American Energy Partners, McClendon, died.

This was the scene near Midwest Boulevard and Memorial Road.

McClendon's Tahoe destroyed in the fiery crash.

The original indictment against McClendon has been dropped and, less than an hour later, a new civil lawsuit against McClendon's former company, Chesapeake Energy, was filed.

This lawsuit also names Sandridge Energy, their former CEO, Tom Ward, and 50 John Does.

Just the latest in an alleged conspiracy of bid rigging.

Late Thursday afternoon, 15 pages of a civil lawsuit against Chesapeake, Sandridge and Ward, alleging a conspiracy to steal money from Oklahomans.

"Tells me that our state motto is, it's okay to cheat if you don't get caught," said Garvin Issacs, a local attorney.

Issacs has been in Oklahoma for more than 20 years.

"It's not a government of the oil and gas industry, by the bureaucrats for the money, and we're going to stop it," Issacs said.

The lawsuit claims Chesapeake and Sandridge were involved in a "secret conspiracy" in "bid rigging."

It said the prices of properties were "artificially depressed below competitive levels" and plaintiffs were "deprived of free and open competition in sales of their leasehold interests and producing properties."

"It makes all of us down in Oklahoma wake up and realize that nobody is above the law, not Chesapeake, not Sandridge, nobody," Issacs said.

According to paperwork, there could be "at least in the hundreds or thousands" affected by the alleged actions.

The "conspiracy was kept a secret, plaintiff and members of the class were unaware of defendants' unlawful conduct alleged" until the federal indictment of McClendon.

"They may have wiretaps. They may have letters. They may have witnesses, who were in the room when people talked to each other," Issacs said. "There had to be some knowledge or some belief or some witness who had come in and talked about what was going on to the plaintiffs' attorneys because you never file a case unless you have the witnesses to back it up."

Plaintiffs are seeking three times a number of damages, interest and attorney fees.

The courts now wait for a response from the oil companies.

We tried reaching those companies, but they did not return our calls.