The Memorial Tournament - Pro-Am

Jack Nicklaus (R) stands with Aubrey McClendon of Chesapeake Energy Corporation during the Morgan Stanley Pro-Am Invitational at The Memorial Tournament May 30, 2007 in Dublin, Ohio. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Former Chesapeake Energy Chairman and CEO Aubrey McClendon is back in the news for allegedly stealing corporate secrets on his way out the door in 2013. McClendon is famous for founding Chesapeake and embracing new drilling technology that helped make the company one of the largest US natural gas producers.

However, conflicts of interest began to arise in late 2012 – including McClendon’s role in the controversial Founder’s Well Participation Program – that ultimately forced him out of the company. He immediately went on create a new company called American Energy Partners that invested heavily in the Utica Shale formation.

That investment is now being called into question. Chesapeake has filed a suit claiming McClendon stole company secrets.

“McClendon, 55, “misappropriated highly sensitive trade secrets from Chesapeake” and “subsequently used these trade secrets for the benefit of” a company he founded in 2013, American Energy Partners, according to the civil complaint filed by Chesapeake in Oklahoma County District Court.” – As reported by Reuters and featured by CNBC

“We believe that pursuing these legacy claims is in the best interest of the company and its shareholders,” Chesapeake spokesman Gordon Pennoyer said in a statement. This is good news for Chesapeake investors because under McClendon’s reign the company had a reputation for bleeding shareholder cash.

This from a 2012 research note by analyst Phil Weiss, who closely covered the company:

“When we consider the full financial picture at Chesapeake, including its high debt levels, its use of financial engineering, the relatively low quality of its financial data, the questionable nature of some of the CEO’s transactions with the company, and the apparent unwillingness of the board to put a stop to at least some of these practices, we believe the best thing for investors would be to replace the board and/or the CEO,” the note said.