Haslam Talks about ‘Rebates’ Investigation

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee -- A second search warrant was issued for Cleveland Browns owner, Jimmy Haslam’s company, Pilot Flying J Corporation, according to Bill Killian, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Haslam spoke out about the investigation Tuesday afternoon saying it was centered around rebates owed to customers not being paid. Haslam said the company disagrees with the accusations.

"The last thing we want to do is put a blemish on the city of Cleveland -- not that I think we’ve done anything wrong," said Haslam. "It’s business as usual."

Killian tells FOX 8 that the search warrant was issued on Monday night and he was unsure if it had been served.

FBI agents out of Knoxville, Tennessee, where Pilot Flying J is located, tell FOX 8 that there has been no new activity on Tuesday at Pilot Flying J headquarters and that FBI agents had not returned to the Lonas Road location, where Pilot Flying J is headquartered.

FBI officials confirm to FOX 8 that there is an on-going criminal investigation involving Pilot Flying J, but documents have been sealed and it could be some time before any information is released about the investigation.

On Monday, the FBI and IRS secured Pilot Flying J headquarters in Knoxville but neither is commenting on the nature of the investigation.

A release issued by Pilot Flying J on Monday states:

“The FBI secured our headquarters today and informed us they are investigating Pilot Flying J. We will cooperate appropriately with any and all external investigations and conduct our own. I believe and trust there has been no wrongdoing. The integrity of our company always has been job No. 1.”

Haslam also sent a letter to his employees that reads:

"First, let me apologize to you for the unexpected disruption of our workplace Monday. Please be assured that you will be compensated for the full day.

You know by now that our company is the subject of a federal investigation. We are cooperating appropriately with any and all external investigations and conducting our own.

We believe and trust there has been no wrongdoing. We will keep you informed, and I encourage you to rely on that information rather than random news reports and gossip that is surely to follow.

Our most important response now is to stay focused on our job supporting our 650 travel centers. I appreciate every one of you for your hard work, your professionalism and for being part of the Pilot/Flying J family."

Kara Sutyak April 16, 20132:44 pm

Haslam: The last thing we want to do is put a blemish on the city of Cleveland– not that I think we’ve done anything wrong. It’s business as usual.

Kara Sutyak April 16, 20132:41 pm

Haslam: It doesn’t involve any kind of tax issues (talking about IRS involvement) I’m not sure why they’re involved.

Kara Sutyak April 16, 20132:39 pm

Haslam: It’s business as usual.

Kara Sutyak April 16, 20132:39 pm

Haslam: We have not had any stores closed.

Kara Sutyak April 16, 20132:37 pm

Jimmy Haslam talks at press conference saying investigation surrounds accusations of rebates owed to the customers not being paid. He said they (the company) disagree with those accusations.