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McClendon's vehicle being removed from crash site 3/2/2016

McClendon’s vehicle being removed from crash site 3/2/2016

CNBC News reports that Aubrey McClendon, the high-flying former CEO of natural gas player Chesapeake Energy, died in a car crash this morning in Oklahoma. Federal prosecutors indicted McClendon yesterday for alleged bid rigging on natural gas.

Reports state that McClendon  “pretty much drove straight into the wall” at high speed, causing his vehicle to ignite and burn immediately.  McClendon cultivated his reputation as a risk-taker in the natural gas arena, though one too many of his gambles went south. He was featured in a 2011 Forbes article as the “Reckless Billionaire”:

2011 Forbes Article re McClendon: Reckless.

2011 Forbes Article re McClendon: Reckless.

Though a definitive coroner’s determination won’t be in for a while, this has all the earmarks of suicide. If he had decided to whack himself, there were certainly other ways to do it that would have been faster, like a gun, for instance. It’s reasonable to ask whether there’s a life insurance angle here: life policies generally provide that the insurer will not pay the face amount if the insured commits suicide. So even though guns are quicker and more certain, a gun and a dead man, all by their lonesome, leave no doubt that the death was a suicide. Driving into a wall, on the other hand, could be an accident. McClendon was always a game player, and it would not be surprising if this were one last dice throw.

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