Fuel Smarts

Another Week, Another Pilot Flying J Lawsuit; Separate Litigation Dropped

June 13, 2013

By Evan Lockridge

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It wouldn’t be a week in trucking lately if there wasn’t some news about the truckstop chain Pilot Flying J. This one has been no exception, with a new lawsuit being filed, one being dropped, and questions arising over who owns the company that’s come under fire following the disclosure of a federal investigation into allegations of shortchanging customers on fuel rebates.

An Alabama trucking company is the latest to file suit, claiming the company and CEO Jimmy Haslam  came up with a scheme to “secretly and unlawfully withhold diesel fuel price rebates” to customers.

The move by Eagle Motor Lines in federal court is a class action. So are many of the other estimated more than one dozen suits that have been filed since mid-April, when agents from the FBI and IRS served several search warrants on the headquarters of Pilot Flying J and the homes of some executives as part of an investigation.

Two people have pleaded guilty to charges for their roles and have agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Pilot Flying J and CEO Jimmy Haslam have denied accusations against them. No other charges are known to have been filed so far.

The Tennessean newspaper reports on lawsuit has been withdrawn for unknown reasons, a case originally filed last month by Alabama-based W.T.W. Enterprises and owner Charles E Winborn III.

In the meantime, the Knoxville News Sentinel newspaper this week published a story about secrecy surrounding the ownership of Pilot Flying J. It notes while the company has been tight-lipped, government documents reveal a lot more, including a number of different owners, though the family of Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam retain a majority of the ownership.

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