Pilot Flying J is suspending members of its sales team and taking other steps after a federal raid on its Knoxville headquarters last week. The truck stop company is owned by the family of Governor Bill Haslam, whose brother is its CEO.
An affidavit unsealed last week claims Pilot Flying J intentionally ripped off trucking companies by holding back rebates and in turn boosting compensation for sales people. CEO Jimmy Haslam, who also owns the Cleveland Browns, told the Tennessean the next two days were his most painful in business, and he barely slept.
“Listen, we make mistakes like any company does, but there is absolutely no excuse for that kind of behavior. I don’t think I’ve ever been as embarrassed I have been since I read the affidavit.”
Jimmy Haslam says he’s been in touch with officials his company is accused of scamming, and intends to pay any money owed. In addition to suspending several sales officials, an internal audit and new safeguards are on the way. And he plans to name a top-flight investigator later this week to conduct an outside review.
In taped conversations members of of the sales team said Haslam knew of at least some of the rebate fraud.