OKC councilman questions Chesapeake’s future

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- It's one of the largest employers in the metro; one outspoken Oklahoma City councilman is voicing concerns about Chesapeake Energy.

Those comments come on the heels of numerous national reports questioning the energy giant's business ethics.

Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid questioned Chesapeake's long-term future.

The company's influence on the city extends way beyond their ever-expanding campus.

"Our fortunes rise and fall together," Ed Shadid said.

That's why Shadid said he felt the need to use his public office at city council to question the energy giant's financial practices after published reports detailed how company CEO Aubrey McClendon used personal loans to finance oil wells, then used those stakes to leverage additional loans.

"Yes, technically it's legal. We'd just like to see more disclosure," Shadid said.

"Chesapeake has been a partner with the city for 20 years. They are a dependable corporate partner," OKC Councilwoman Meg Salyer said.

For her part, Salyer defended Chesapeake and called Shadid's comments irresponsible and reckless.

"To get involved in commentary and questions of individual companies, I don't think is appropriate," Salyer said.

Criticism aside, using the intersection of N.W. 50th St. and Western Ave. as an example, Shadid added the city may need to restrict rezoning of commercial property by Chesapeake around their campus, posing the possibility of the energy giant one day going under.

Shadid also suggested the company restructure its board of directors.

"Adding one or two people to the board is the quickest way to decrease any volatility in the market and deal with disclosure concerns," Shadid said.

Officials at Chesapeake declined to go on the record Tuesday about Councilman Shadid's comments, adding that Councilwoman Salyer provided a good response.

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