With the massive adoration and tributes pouring in on local corporate and social media outlets to honor the late Aubrey McClendon and his contributions to the so-called Oklahoma City renaissance, I don’t think it’s too early to ask some basic, realistic questions.
Was the great Oklahoma City renaissance, an exaggerated term for at least some of us who live here and an absolutely absurd term for the city’s impoverished people without decent medical access, funded at least partially by a crook’s money?
Are those organizations which gladly accepted money from McClendon, who was indicted Tuesday on rigging prices on oil and gas leases, willing to give that money back to make restitution to the people the local wildcatter baron is alleged to have ripped off along with, according to a recent news report, his former partner Tom Ward, if the allegations are true? Here is a partial list of organizations, according to various reports, that took McClendon’s money: The Lyric Theatre, Ballet Oklahoma, Oklahoma Museum of Art, Arts Council of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Heritage Foundation and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. What about the over-hyped Boathouse District with which McClendon was heavily involved? Then there’s the Boys and Girls Club of OKC, one of McClendon’s donees I appreciate the most. Despite these contributions, McClendon still had plenty of money left over to live a life with his family few of us can even comprehend.
Will those organizations at least stop their McClendon tributes and face the possibility the money they received was heavily tainted by corruption?
Will those prominent people who served on Chesapeake’s Board of Directors, which included Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis, during McClendon’s tenure and during the time period of the allegations return all their compensation to those people allegedly ripped off by McClendon or at least turn the money over to charities that help the poor if related legal claims are later proven?
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