U.S. District Judge James M. Moody approved a $84.9 million settlement in the Pilot Flying J fuel rebate scandal in a Little Rock, Arkansas courtroom Monday.
KNOXVILLE - A new lawsuit alleges that the president of Pilot Flying J told an Illinois trucking company that Pilot could not help it with any rebate discrepancies after the company said its fuel deal wasn't in writing, but that the company subsequently received a rebate check after raising the issue with Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam.
The allegation was made by J.F. Freight Company, of Palatine, Illinois.
J.F. Freight joined a lawsuit filed last week by FST Express, and the new allegations were made in an amended complaint.
The suit said J.F. Freight's primary contacts with Pilot have been former regional sales manager Cathy Sokolowski, former regional sales manager Jonathan Duvall -- the son-in-law of CFO Mitch Steenrod -- and regional account representative Jacqui Pearl.
The lawsuit said Duvall had later been promoted to director of sales/South.
The suit alleged Sokolowski, Duvall and Pearl periodically sweetened J.F. Freight's discount deal, and that in early 2010 Sokolowski promised the company a discount of "cost plus $0.01", but concealed the fact that J.F. Freight never received that discount.
The suit alleged Duvall falsely told the company it was receiving the discount.
The suit alleged that in December, Pearl offered "retail minus $0.20" after Love's Travel Centers made another offer. The suit alleged that J.F. Freight accepted Pilot's offer, but Pilot concealed the fact that it never provided the discount.
Federal authorities raided Pilot headquarters on April 15, and a federal affidavit alleged that some Pilot employees had engaged in fuel rebate fraud.
Seven Pilot workers have pleaded guilty in the case and a criminal probe is ongoing.
The federal affidavit said Cathy Giesick, a former Pilot employee, was among the first people contacted by the FBI in its investigation, and that she entered a non-prosecution agreement in exchange for her cooperation. The affidavit said Giesick was also known as Cathy Sokalowski during her employment with Pilot.
In its lawsuit, J.F. Freight alleged that in June, Pearl and Pilot president Mark Hazelwood visited J.F. Freight, and that Hazelwood asked if the company's discount deals were in writing.
When the company's president said it was an oral agreement, the suit alleged, "Hazelwood abruptly proclaimed that (Pilot) could not help J.F. with respect to any discount discrepancies."
The suit said J.F. Freight later addressed the issue with Pilot's CEO, Jimmy Haslam, who apologized for Pilot's conduct, and that the company subsequently received a check for $12,215.57.
"That amount is a small fraction of the promised discounts Defendant wrongfully withheld from J.F.," the suit alleged.
Tom Ingram, a spokesman for Pilot, said the company will review the allegations and defend itself appropriately.
Pilot faces multiple civil lawsuits and has reached a settlement deal with several plaintiffs who sued in federal court. The proposed settlement — in which Pilot agreed to pay 100 percent of losses plus 6 percent interest and attorney's fees — is scheduled to receive a fairness hearing in November.
The deadline to opt out of that settlement is Oct. 15.
More Jimmy Haslam Stories
Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam's Knoxville-based company is expected to spend $72 million to settle a federal class action action lawsuit over alleged fuel rebate fraud.
A proposed settlement deal in a class action lawsuit filed by truckers against Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and his company is falling apart.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam quietly named one of four University of Tennessee's "distinguished alumni."
Tuesday is a big day for trucking companies suing Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Pilot Flying J as deadline looms in huge class-action lawsuit.
A new lawsuit alleges that the president of Pilot Flying J told an Illinois trucking company that Pilot could not help it with any rebate discrepancies after the company said its fuel deal wasn't in writing.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Pilot Flying J CEO called the issues surrounding his company a very humbling, embarrassing time for himself, family and Pilot Flying J.
A federal judge is being asked to delay scheduling a sentencing date for seven former Pilot Flying J employees who have entered guilty pleas for their role in an alleged scheme that cheated trucking companies across the country.
After federal agents raided the headquarters of Pilot Flying J on April 15, seeking evidence of fuel rebate fraud, it didn't take long for Barrett to be approached about making a case against the company.
The founder of embattled truck-stop chain Pilot Flying J has given his first detailed remarks about the events surrounding a government raid of the Knoxville-based company.