Politics and the Pilot Flying J lawsuit over diesel fuel rebates | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Politics and the Pilot Flying J lawsuit over diesel fuel rebates

Posted By on Sat, Aug 31, 2013 at 11:26 AM

click to enlarge FUEL CHARGES: Truckstop rebates at core of legal claims.
  • FUEL CHARGES: Truckstop rebates at core of legal claims.
More background follows on a federal investigation and lawsuit I mentioned earlier.

I picked up reporting from Tennessee on proposed settlements of civil claims against the Pilot Flying J truckstop chain for failure to pay rebates owed trucking firms on diesel purchases. A criminal investigation is also underway. The story interested me because Tennessee lawyers had raised questions about a corporation newly formed by Arkansas truck lobbyist Lane Kidd that was the leader of a proposed settlement.

Kidd has responded to questions from media outlets with a prepared statement that says he was acting in behalf of trucking companies who preferred to remain anonymous. The corporation was formed to "seek justice." Payments will go to companies that deserve the money, not Kidd. Kidd said the arrangement was not done in cooperation with the truckstop company, which has been a supporter  of Kidd's trucking trade group.

I just happened to run across a July AP story on the case that provides a little more insight on the story. Kidd isn't mentioned. But the article does note how speedily — and unusually — the company was moving to settle claims.

The article notes that putting the issue to rest could be a good thing for Pilot's owners, the Haslam family. Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam owns the Cleveland Browns. His brother Bill is governor of Tennessee. Said the story:

Jimmy Haslam runs Pilot Flying J, which was founded by his father. Gov. Bill Haslam left the company to run for Knoxville mayor in 2003 and still has an ownership stake. Their prominent positions certainly give them incentive to put the scandal behind them as quickly as possible: Bill Haslam has a looming re-election campaign, and Jimmy Haslam could face sanctions from the NFL if it isn't dealt with.

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