Key hearing for Chesapeake in land-leasing case

Associated Press

Cheboygan — A key court hearing is scheduled for Chesapeake Energy, which is charged with a scheme in which land in northern Michigan was leased to thwart competitors and then canceled when the competition ended.

The Oklahoma City-based company faces a probable-cause hearing Monday in Cheboygan District Court.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette amended a complaint in June to include a dozen more victims. Chesapeake faces charges of false pretenses and conducting a criminal enterprise.

According to the complaint, land options in northern Michigan were obtained to keep competing companies from leasing. The leases later were canceled when competition for land ended.

Chesapeake spokesman Gordon Pennoyer says the company “will vigorously contest” the “baseless allegations.”

A separate antitrust case that Schuette brought against Chesapeake is ongoing.