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Oklahoma Business

Chesapeake CEO’s mansion miraculously drops $1-million in taxable market value…

Last week, Chesapeake Energy – the once-proud natural gas giant that's now a shell of what it was during its raging Ponzi scheme days – announced it laid off another 15% of its staff. According to The Oklahoman_, most of the layoffs – 220 total – affected the Oklahoma City campus.

Back in the good old days, when Chesapeake layoffs were still a big breaking news item that we'd scoop the local media on, we'd follow RIF reports by playing a game of Hate The Rich, and take a sneering peek at Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler's opulent Oak Tree mansion. We did this because it's always fun to point out that while Chesapeake was struggling and people were losing their jobs, the privileged elites who ran the company were still making out like bandits.

When we last checked on Lawler Manor in 2015, the 14,000-sq-foot home had an appraised taxable market value of $4.15-million – nearly $400,000 higher than the $3.75-million purchase price Lawler paid in 2013. As a result, Lawler paid $48K in property taxes that primarily went to fund public schools and other county services.

During this era of rising property values across the metro, we thought it would be fun to check out the home and see how much it's worth today. To our surprise, it hasn't increased at all. In fact, the taxable market value on the crib has actually dropped by over $1-million, slashing Lawler's property taxes by approximately 25%!

Check out this screenshot from the Oklahoma County Assessor website:

Yeah, that's kind of fishy. According to Zillow, home values in this neighborhood haven't risen all that much in five years when compared to the rest of the metro. Then again, most neighborhoods in the metro don't have one big house drop $1-million in property value.

That being said, I'm sure there are very logical and justified reasons for the decrease, that oh-by-the-way, saved a Lawlera cool 12K (a 1/2 days work) in annual property taxes. Outside of Lawler parking a double-wide on the property and converting it to a meth lab, I'd say the three most likely reasons are:

1. Lawler, a shrewd businessman who is the highest-paid CEO in the state despite overseeing a bankruptcy, multiple layoffs and the continued decline of his company, overpaid for the home when he bought it from former PGA pro-Bob Tway back in 2013. Maybe he was starstruck or something? Nothing gets an Oil Overlord more erect than rubbing shoulders with a successful PGA golfer.

2. Oklahoma County Assessor Larry Stein – a classy local Republican operative – did Lawler a favor because, well, Lawler's the rich and wealthy CEO of Chesapeake Energy! Give Republicans who work in Oklahoma government credit – they rarely break ranks and always know who they serve.

3. The house was built out of Chesapeake stock! Actually, that can't be it. Otherwise, the taxable market value would have dropped by 99%!

Anyway, those are just some of my theories. Hopefully, the legitimate media will do their job (LOL) and investigate the real reasons why.

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