SUNY Institute Funder Fracked by SEC Probe
by Buck Quigley - posted 2:57 pm, May 4, 2012
Aubrey McClendon has been removed from his position as chairman of the board of Chesapeake Energy, the company he founded. Click here to read an account from the Guardian, describing how Chesapeake’s shady dealings have now drawn the curiosity of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
From the article:
“A company in the vanguard of the American shale gas revolution has been “fracked” by a regulatory investigation amid controversy over its founder using his personal stakes in corporate wells to borrow nearly $1bn (£618m).
The board of Chesapeake Energy has removed founder Aubrey McClendon as chairman – he remains chief executive – and scrapped highly unusual remuneration arrangements which led to his borrowing $846m.
Chesapeake also confirmed that the US securities and exchange commission (SEC) has started an “informal” investigation into both the company and McLendon, with which it said they would all co-operate.
The company was an early beneficiary of shale drilling but the slump in the price of US natural gas has driven the business into a first quarter financial loss and halved its share price this year.
The second largest gas producer in the US has been forced to admit it may run out of money in 2013.”
Time magazine also wrote about the “rapidly-unfolding imbroglio” yesterday. Click here to read.
Chesapeake Energy is one of the sponsors of the SUNY Fredonia Shale Resources Institute, as evidenced by this screen shot:
SUNY Fredonia spokesperson Michael Barone told us he had no idea why the website was down, and stressed that he did not direct that it be taken down. He also confirmed what we reported here—that since the institute’s funding is filtered through the Fredonia College Foundation, all information pertaining to the corporate funding is beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Law.
We can only presume the new institute at UB will be funded the same way. UB spokesperson John DellaContrada is tight-lipped about it. On April 30, we sent him the following email:
Can you share the list of sponsors/donors/funders of the new
institute, along with the dollar amounts?
Also, I’ve been told that at Fredonia’s Shale Institute, the money was
given to the school’s foundation. Is that how it’s set up at UB? If
so, which foundation at UB receives the money?
On May 1, he sent the following reply:
Philanthropic support is pending from a variety of potential funders.
Apparently, anonymity is highly prized by corporate donors that are under investigation for securities fraud.
Meanwhile NYS Senate Bill 5797—which would make the foundations of SUNY schools subject to FOIL—continues to move through the Education Committee.
At the University at Buffalo, foundations have been shown to be used for a variety of activities beyond their mission statements. We wrote about it last year. If S5797 were to become law, it might help the reputations of SUNY foundations—as well as the reputation of the State University of New York as a whole.