KNOXVILLE - A government affidavit released Thursday said Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam knew about alleged fraud at the company, but the executive's wife came to his defense on Friday.
In a brief interview, Dee Haslam said her husband "hasn't done anything wrong. ...He's probably one of the best CEOs anywhere."
Dee Haslam is an accomplished executive in her own right. She is the CEO of local cable television production company Rivr Media, and with her father last year launched a feature film studio called Nest Features.
On Monday, federal agents raided Pilot facilities including its headquarters on Lonas Drive. In an affidavit unsealed on Thursday, the government released documents in which recorded conversations and information from unnamed informants were used to allege that certain Pilot employees have conspired and schemed to engage in rebate fraud for many years.
According to the affidavit, a current sales employee identified as CHS-2 — shorthand for "confidential human source" — alleged that the fraud has occurred with the knowledge of Jimmy Haslam. Specifically, the person said rebate fraud-related activities have been discussed during sales meetings in Knoxville at which Haslam was present.
In a statement issued Thursday evening, Haslam said he had read the affidavits, and "I now understand more clearly the questions the federal investigators are exploring."
"I maintain that the foundation of this company is built on its integrity and that any willful wrongdoing by any employee of this company at any time is intolerable," the statement said. "We will continue to cooperate with the federal investigation and continue our own investigation in these allegations.