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Duke University Is Making Claims Against Aubrey McClendon’s Estate

CEO, Chairman, and Co-founder of Chesapeake Energy Corporation McClendon walks through the French Quarter in New Orleans, LouisianaCEO, Chairman, and Co-founder of Chesapeake Energy Corporation McClendon walks through the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana
Chief Executive Officer, Chairman, and Co-founder of Chesapeake Energy Corporation Aubrey McClendon © Sean Gardner / Reuters REUTERS

Following the death of former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon earlier this year, his alma mater, Duke University, has made a claim against the oil magnate’s estate.

According to a court filing with an Oklahoma City district court released publicly Tuesday, Duke University is seeking the equivalent of $9.9 million in assets that the school says McClendon pledged to the school prior to his death.

Those funds were designated for a variety of programs, including the university’s work-study scholarships, football program, and student plaza. The amount Duke is asking for represents just over half of the total McClendon has pledged to the institution since February 2013: $18.8 million.

With this claim, Duke University joins of group of creditors including several banks, who have come forward to claim part of McClendon’s estate after the one-time billionaire died in a car crash in March. McClendon, then 56, was behind the wheel when his Chevy Tahoe slammed into a concrete bridge abutment just a day after federal prosecutors indicted the executive for violating anti-trust laws. Though the circumstances seemed suggestive of suicide, police later found the crash was an accident.

The list of creditors that have come out to claim parts of McClendon’s estate in the aftermath of the accident has reflected the businessmen’s attempt to orchestrate a comeback after being ousted as Chesapeake’s CEO just three years earlier. Much of his personal assets, including his 20% stake in the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team and investments in tech startups, had been leveraged to help fund that effort.


Citibank and American Express number among the estate’s creditors, as does CIT Finance, which says it is owed $22.6 million, according to probate filings.

Wilmington Trust has also filed a claim on behalf of McClendon-founded company, American Energy Partners, likely the case’s largest creditor, for over $465 million.

Other creditors still have the chance to come forward until Sept. 16.

Whether Duke University or any other of McClendon’s creditors will see their demands met in full is yet to be seen. The creditor’s lawyers have said they think McClendon’s debts outweighed his assets at the time of his death, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Wilmington Trust was a creditor of Aubrey McClendon’s Estate. Wilmington Trust is acting on behalf of American Energy Partners, who was a lender. Fortune regrets this error.