Pilot CEO: Behavior of salespeople was ‘sickening’

By James Jaillet on

pilot flying jIn a short address to the Northeast Ohio National Football Foundation awards banquet held Tuesday, May 7, Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam said that the behavior of some of the company’s salespeople cited in a federal affidavit released April 18 “was really sickening” to him, referencing the conversations between Pilot salespeople, other Pilot employees and the undercover FBI informants.

The affidavit includes transcripts of conversations in which Pilot Flying J salespeople discuss ways to allegedly cheat customers out of owed fuel rebates. Haslam is part of some meetings, too, in which the fraudulent scheme was discussed.

“We don’t talk that way. We don’t act that way,” Haslam said. “Candidly, it was behavior that was particularly improper towards customers. It came out Thursday afternoon, I read it Thursday night and was literally almost sick to my stomach, candidly. No. 1 it was embarrassing and No. 2 it’s not how we act.”

Haslam, who is majority owner of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, said the company’s reputation “has been tarnished,” but that he wants to “rebuild our reputation.”

“It’s a family business as you all know and that’s not how we act and how we do things,” Haslam said. “I’ve been out talking on trucking companies. First of all, apology, secondly, asking for a second chance.”

Haslam then in the speech reiterated the five steps the company announced in late April they’d be taking to try to rectify some of the points of the accusations, like performing an internal audit of all of its contracts, hiring a compliance coordinator, suspending salespeople, ending all “manual calculations” of rebate checks and hiring a “special independent counselor” to perform an internal investigation.

The rest of the speech centered on football and the recent NFL draft.

Click here to see all of CCJ‘s coverage of the Pilot raid, allegations and lawsuits.

 

James Jaillet

James Jaillet is the News Editor for CCJ and Overdrive. Reach him at jjaillet@randallreilly.com.

32 comments
jet1968
jet1968

A kid or young person can go to jail/prison for shoplifting items that amount to nothing from a place like Wal Mart. But yet banks cause a housing collapse and no one goes to prison. This thief steal millions from people and what will he get? People like Jim Haslam should be the ones filling the prisons.This is nothing less then a million dollar Ponzi scheme. 

Gordon A
Gordon A

Unfortunately when big business  gets hammered and raked over the coals  and it goes public the first thing that happens is the unknowing  bad mouth the CEO and the company.. The CEO many times does not have his /her hand on the pulse of the company. Just the profit margin. Few have any idea what some people in control places in the company are doing behind their backs. That is until something like this happens. If it was as bad as  some seem to think, Pilot would go the way of Arrow Freight  in Oklahoma City.. won't happen.  I have spoke to NOT one driver that has been denied the rewards. Not one Owner Operator, so where is the problem? . The problem is The companies that did not get the rewards did nothing. They are as guilty at not reviewing their records and their  billing depts need to be overhauled. This appears to be  not a one sided problem.

CwbintnMichaelWinton
CwbintnMichaelWinton

* Jimmy Haslam * Whaa whaa whaa, don't blame me, all i did was cash the 500,000.00 a month check from Western Express in 2011 from that hose job. I did nothing wrong, i didn't look at the name, i just cashed the check. i'm innocent! whaa whaa whaa

Prophet
Prophet

I've been following this story. This is at least the 3rd time I've heard Haslam say "Candidly." You mean you weren't "candid" in the past or in your other statements? As the old saying goes, "Fish rots from the head." Your salespeople wouldn't have done it if you hadn't both allowed and encouraged it. And now you want to pretend you're lily white? "Round up the usual suspects!," eh Jimmy?

dlmjustin
dlmjustin

I hope they hang every single one of these crooks out to dry. They should all be fined, sentenced to jail time and blackballed from the industry forever. A truck driver can have a low tire on his truck and he will get a fine. These corporate a**holes can rob people for $millions and buy their way out. Thats the thing in this country, if you have enough money, you can commit murder and walk free. In this country, you can buy anything!  

AustinDoyle
AustinDoyle

Candidly, even though we did it, we didn't and don't do it. Candidly. I almost puked my $500 bottle of champagne up after getting a message. I'd just bought a silk robe that played music and it ruined the whole experience. And that's being candid.

OSU BUCS
OSU BUCS

I know that it may not be popular but I think they should susend Pilot/Flying J from all business transactions for a 14 day period. Yes it would slow the transportation cooridor and disrupt the economic process. However, two thoughts come to mind. A). As a trucking company owner where would we be if the Federal Govt raided or place of business for bad practices????? B). This two week period would drive the cost of fuel to low low prices with such an abundance of crude going no where because there would not be a delivery system anywhere to handle the need. In conclusion, slapping them on the hands because they are such a large business will not be the answer either. If we mess our britches we are done for period of time. And lastly, you want to see the economic boom, high frieght rates and reasonable fuel prices, shut downthe major network for 2 weeks or even a week for that matter and it will take years to recover.

DanLeidal
DanLeidal

I personally believe Mr Haslam is knee deep in this scandal... He has been implicated by informants in the investigation; and doing "manual calculations" is out of character for the Pilot organization, who strives to automate everything they possibly can!!! I would like to see this pig taken down!!!

Blackwood
Blackwood

When you catch the Vice President on wire saying F**k them fast and F**k them often (referring to their customers) I would say the cancer runs pretty deep in the Pilot Company. The only thing that remains to be seen is if Mr Haslam is going to outed by employees that have been caught screwing Pilots customers..........

Twin Stacks
Twin Stacks

The Pilot sales people that are involved in this are not representative of the people at Pilot as a whole.  Unfortunately,there are bad actors everywhere. They are no more representative of Pilot than the people that are suing Pilot are representative of the rest of the trucking industry.  

cdl4196
cdl4196

I have seen Pilots fuel price go up more than other Truck stop like TA since Jimmy got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. At I-280 and the Ohio tpk pilot was $4.09 PG across the street TA was $3.89 ??????up the road on I-280 just about a mile or two Flying-J $4.09 is he getting us to pay for his Rebate Refund's? I WILL NEVER buy fuel at Pilot again.

JamesDeboard
JamesDeboard

Pilot truck stop are nothing but Hot Dog stands with fuel pumps. There products in there stores are over priced and they take advantage of truck drivers because it is difficult for the drivers to shop any where else. They have always over priced there merchandise to increase there profit margins. It came as no surprise to me when these allegations became public. When I was driving I tried to avoid Pilot Travel Centers as much as possible. It is Sad because there are  truthfully no actual TRUCK STOPS anymore. This comes mostly because of the lack of respect that truck drivers & the trucking profession gets today,which is very little.

thedotdoctor
thedotdoctor

Pilot facilities are substandard at best.  The lines are horrible long due to the promise of savings.  Drivers was countless hours here just waiting for a shower and/or fuel.  It is sad.  While Pilots and Luvs are said to save money, they are nothing more than a 7-11 truck stop style.  They offer few amenities to the drivers.  The entire reason a fleet uses them is to save $$$$.  This is unacceptable behavior.

 

The CEO is responsible for the company and the team as a whole.  He should have had his head out of football and on business.  When you are the leader, it is your responsibility for the actions of your team.  Less we all forget this.  Take some responsibility for your actions, or lack thereof and make this right.  You owe folks lots of money.  Why should they give you a second chance until they see some green?!!

Knoxvillian
Knoxvillian

Really Jimmy? Really? Nothing like taking the focus off of the real culprits!

 

jet1968
jet1968

"Sickening"  I've bought who knows how many gallons of fuel with my fleet of 20 trucks. What I find sickening is how small fleets and owner operators are getting screwed by Jim Haslam to begin with. If there is room to give large trucking companies a discount and then why not the small carriers who actually buy a tremendous amount more collectively then does the big carriers. I don't feel sorry for Pilot or the large carriers. You play in pig shit you will begin to smell like pig shit.. There is no way anyone in their right mind should feel sorry for Pilot. If the owner can spend a billion dollars on a football team then he should be able to give it back to the people that made him rich.

anonymous
anonymous

And, yet, Jimmy Haslam is named in a lawsuit and was present as some of the meetings.  Something doesn't smell right when it comes to his assertions "it was all the salesmen's fault."  Not buying it. 

Cliff Downing
Cliff Downing

One has to wonder, if PFJ does return rebates, or a portion thereof, to carriers that were jilted, will Owner Operators that were or are leased on to that carrier have these additional withheld rebates passed on to them, or will the carriers just pocket the money?  This could still end up pretty messy.  If O/O find out a carrier has gotten due rebate money, and it was not passed on, this could really send some serious ripples throughout the industry.  Moral accountability is due on PFJ's part, but carriers better be able to also police their policies.

JamesDeboard
JamesDeboard

 @jet1968 You are exactly right my friend,if you have money you can get away with anything and that is what this will all boil down to, He and Pilot/Flying J are Crooks and nothing short of that!!!

DanLeidal
DanLeidal

 @Gordon A

 I agree with the victims being complacent, and "allowing" this to happen... I aslo believe in this case that Mr Haslam is up to his neck in it... Pilot did not mess with accounts where discovery was likely, so drivers points were not tampered with... They went after accounts where the customer's staff was stretched thin... Pilot, and Mr Haslam have betrayed the public trust... I hope to see this empire busted up, and the guilty prosecuted...

DanLeidal
DanLeidal

 @AustinDoyle

 I hear you on this... He will throw his entire staff of employees under the bus to save his own butt... He would have been much better off keeping his trap shut!!! The way Pilot is operated, there is obviosuly little in the morals department anyway...

DanLeidal
DanLeidal

 @OSU BUCS

 The system needs to prosecute this clown for fraud, and liquidate his assets...

DanLeidal
DanLeidal

I hope he is outed AFTER he makes a total fool out of himself...

DanLeidal
DanLeidal

 @Twin Stacks

 You are so naive; Pilot, and Mr. Haslam are the center of this issue... I have had conversations with people in this outfit, they care for nothing except money... Or as the officer I spoke with stated: "Its just business, and we won't be change a thing"... The conversation was over certain fuel pricing habbits, thermal paper recipts; and why I refused to buy fuel from them... I was put up to this by Landstar...

DanLeidal
DanLeidal

Jimmy has no problem throwing his help under the bus to save his pathewtic guilty butt!!!

Dirty
Dirty

It isn't going to be nice. P/FJ is right across Canada, either as a convenience or as a full service Truckstop, and they WILL go under as a result! What that will do, in Canada, is to leave a HUGE hole in trans Canadian trucking that will force us to go to other servers like Husky,Irving (who has connections to P/FJ) and it's going to get pretty messy here too! I've seen Pilot buy stations on opposite side of the highway in several Interstates, and wondered what was going on .Now I know. Haslam needs to GOO!

 

Twin Stacks
Twin Stacks

 @DanLeidal Well now, your broad experience and brilliant explanation vividly explains every detail that this multi-billion dollar organization has done on this issue. You are clearly the expert and should be the lead investigator on this case. 

DanLeidal
DanLeidal

 @DanLeidal

 Well, if you say so... As far as Pilot, and its officers are concerned, they, like everyone else will be judged by their actions and behaviors in general by the court of public opinion... This was my experience as paraphrased above, so this is the opinion I have formed... Its kind of like "if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck; its probably a duck"!!! (unless its a spook, and I don't think they are part of the NSA, CIA, or KGB!!!)