Schuette turns up the heat on energy company with criminal charges
The state says Chesapeake Energy signed lease agreements with eight landowners, assuring them that mortgages on the property would not be a problem. The options shut out competitors from buying leases. The allegations say Chesapeake then used the mortgages as a pretext to cancel the contracts.
Chesapeake is the nation’s second-largest producer of natural gas. In a statement, the company says the charges are “without merit,” and will fight them in court.
Chesapeake is also facing a separate criminal lawsuit in Michigan. It alleges the company was part of a collusion scheme to keep down the cost of leases up for auction. The other company that was charged has pleaded no contest.