Flying J Owner Vows to Compensate Shortchanged Truckers
Truck stop chain faces allegations of deliberately misfiguring rebates
Pilot/Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam (right) chats with C.R. England associate general counsel Mike Woolley after addressing a trucking conference in Indianapolis. (WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)
Cleveland Browns and Pilot/Flying J owner Jimmy Haslam has picked Indianapolis to respond to allegations the truck stop chain has been overbilling customers.
The FBI is investigating allegations that Flying J deliberately shortchanged customers on bulk rebates, and served a search warrant on the company's Tennessee headquarters last month. Five trucking companies have sued.
Haslam told an industry conference in Indianapolis it appears about 250 companies have been overcharged. He says he expects an audit already in progress will produce checks for the missing rebates, plus interest, within a month.
After that, Haslam says auditors will turn their attention to 3,000 customers whose rebates are processed automatically, not manually, to make sure there are no problems there.
Haslam acknowledges he declared the day of the FBI raid he was confident the company had done nothing wrong. He says it wasn't clear at the time what agents were investigating. When a government affidavit was unsealed three days later and the scope of the probe became clear, Haslam says a review of the rebate records revealed problems. He says he had no knowledge of the shortchanging until the FBI showed up.
The Indianapolis-based Scopelitis law firm, which sponsored the conference, represents about five-thousand industry clients. Partner Gregory Feary says Haslam's comments reinforce the firm's advice to its clients to take a wait-and-see approach and let Flying J make good on whatever it owes. As long as Haslam makes good on his promises, Feary says that will get clients their money far faster, and without losing a chunk of it in legal fees.