NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — In a Dec. 2 story about the trial of former executives and sales representatives at the truck stop chain controlled by the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam , The Associated Press misspelled the last name of defendant Scott “Scooter” Wombold’s attorney. It’s John Kelly, not Keller.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Haslam not charged but looms large in Pilot fraud trial
While Jimmy Haslam is not charged with any wrongdoing in a fraud scheme at his family’s truck stop chain, the Cleveland Browns owner has loomed large in the federal trial of former executives and sales representatives
By ERIK SCHELZIG
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Although Jimmy Haslam is not charged with any wrongdoing in a fraud scheme at his family’s truck stop chain, the Cleveland Browns owner has loomed large in the federal trial of former executives and sales representatives.
Pilot Flying J was founded by family patriarch Jim Haslam, a former University of Tennessee football player, with a single gas station in 1958. His other son, Bill Haslam, was president of Pilot before being elected Knoxville mayor in 2003 and later to his current position as Tennessee governor. The Haslams have denied any prior knowledge of the scheme.
With the trial moving into its second month, scrutiny of Jimmy Haslam’s role at Pilot is only likely to intensify as the prosecutors look to wrap up their case and the defense phase gets underway.
Here’s what we’ve learned so far:
While the four defendants in the case — former President Mark Hazelwood, former Vice President Scott “Scooter” Wombold, and former sales representatives Heather Jones and Karen Mann — maintain their innocence, 14 other former members of the Pilot sales team have pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme to shortchange trucking customers on diesel rebates. The company paid a $92 million penalty to the federal government and settled a class action lawsuit for $85 million. Prosecutors say the scheme ran from at least 2008 until agents raided the company’s headquarters in 2013. One former executive testified that the fraudulent practices at Pilot began small and then spread. “We kind of slid into it,” former northeast regional sales director Arnie Ralenkotter said.
STAR WITNESS TO COME?
Prosecutors have been building their case with testimony from an array of former Pilot employees from the lower and middle ranks of the sales team. They…