Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jimmy Haslam Holds Press Conference Addressing Pilot Flying J Allegations

Posted By on Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:38 AM

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In other legal snafus, Cleveland Browns' owner Jimmy Haslam continues to feel the heat in the Pilot-Flying J audit fiasco.

A small trucking company in Georgia has now filed a class-action lawsuit, alleging that drivers were cheated out of promised rebates based on established diesel fuel prices. Haslam held a special news conference in Knoxville, Tennessee on Tuesday to outline Pilot-Flying J’s response. He maintains that he had no idea anything afoul was going on.

Haslam loves telling reporters how candid he’s being.

“Candidly, I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said in an earlier press conference. It’s as if he thinks asserting one’s candor is tantamount to actual candor. But it’s not like he’s fooling anyone. He refused to answer any questions after his statement.

Here’s the five-point response he outlined.
1) He’s putting his entire internal audit team on the case.
2) He's putting some direct sales staffers on administrative leave.
3) He's doing away with the “manual transactions” that resulted in price discrepancies.
4) He's creating a new “Chief Compliance Officer” position.
5) He's bringing in an external auditor “whose credibility is beyond reproach” to demonstrate how serious he is.

“I understand the damage that’s been done," said Haslam, sitting at the head of a conference table with a can of Diet Coke. "We’re approaching it very humbly, hat in hand.”

The PD reported that Haslam has been calling trucking companies and personally offering refunds. It's possible that Haslam's "hat-in-hand" diplomacy may represent witness-tampering, now that a Federal Investigation is underway. Pilot Flying J called the tampering allegations "absolutely outrageous."

For all his Southern gentility and humility, Haslam sounds like a guilty man.

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