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SandRidge Energy board defends CEO Tom Ward

The board at SandRidge Energy Inc. said Friday there is nothing improper in the company's dealings with entities associated with CEO Tom Ward, despite allegations leveled by one of SandRidge's largest shareholders.
BY JAY F. MARKS Business Writer Modified: January 26, 2013 at 1:44 pm •  Published: January 25, 2013

The board at SandRidge Energy Inc. on Friday refuted shareholder allegations that CEO Tom Ward has been “front running” and “flipping” leaseholds to the company.

“The board has reviewed issues related to these allegations several times over the company's history and has found no wrongdoing to have taken place,” the board said in a statement issued Friday.

SandRidge's board also promised to listen to the concerns of shareholders like TPG-Axon Capital and Mount Kellett Capital Management, which are pushing for a leadership change at the company.

“While the board's perspective on these and other issues may diverge from TPG-Axon's, the company's directors continue to value the input of its stockholders,” the board said. “As part of its continuing oversight duties, the independent members of the board will consider the requests of TPG-Axon and Mount Kellett for the appointment of independent counsel and other investigative measures concerning the activities surrounding their allegations.”

Mount Kellett last week asked the board to suspend Ward and commission an inquiry into his activities by an independent law firm and forensic accounting firm.

Ward is the board's chairman with independent directors Jim J. Brewer, Everett R. Dobson, William A. Gilliland, Daniel W. Jordan, Roy T. Oliver Jr. and Jeffrey S. Serota.

Hedge fund TPG-Axon contends entities affiliated with Ward have been “flipping” leases to SandRidge.

TPG-Axon detailed its concerns Wednesday in a presentation posted on its website,, including a number of transactions it said were not disclosed to shareholders. It is continuing to investigate ties between SandRidge and the Ward entities.

SandRidge's board said WCT Resources LLC, the company at the center of TPG-Axon's allegations, is independent of the company, with no nonpublic access to information about its land and mineral acquisition programs, even though one of its managers is Ward's son. Ward is not involved in the company, which was created by trusts established to benefit his adult children, according to the board.

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