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Pilot Flying J fires key figure in rebate fraud scheme

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The recent departures from Pilot Flying J, the billion-dollar truck-stop company owned and run by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, included the man who provided some profane and colorful quotes that were captured by an informant who made extensive recordings prior to the April 15, 2013 federal raid on the company.

According to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the company has fired V.P. of National Sales John Freeman.

Hey this is a game,” Freeman allegedly said while being secretly recorded, according to the affidavit submitted in connection with the search warrant issued last April.  “We’re playin’ f–kin’ poker with funny money, and it’s liar’s poker with funny money because of all this cost-plus stuff.  So, you know, I’m not, I don’t want to get into a moral or ethical conversation, because I believe that if a guy’s gonna butt-f–k you then we got to go to butt-f–kin’ him harder. . . . Some people are tits and some people ass guys and some people want their discount managed through the system and some people like a big check.  I mean, f–k, sell it to ‘em the way they want to buy.  And understand, the f–ker’s got the ability to know what the hell you’re doing to ‘em.  Okay?”

Those quotes allegedly refer to the practice of preying on unsophisticated customers by shortchanging them on rebates to which they were entitled.

The implications of Freeman’s firing aren’t clear.  Last week, Pilot Flying J lawyer Aubrey Harwell cautioned against drawing conclusions from the departure of company president Mark Hazelwood.  So we won’t, even if the conclusion potentially drawn is that the company fired Freeman in part because the company is confident that there’s nothing Freeman can say in court that could be used to prosecute or convict Haslam.

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18 Responses to “Pilot Flying J fires key figure in rebate fraud scheme”
  1. 13x Offseason World Champions says: May 30, 2014 11:22 AM

    Sounds like a real sweetheart…

  2. jjb0811 says: May 30, 2014 11:30 AM

    So the NFL is fine w/ having a crook as an owner, but if an NBA owner says 1 thing negative in private then he must sell his team?

  3. 54cleveland says: May 30, 2014 11:31 AM

    Sounds like Freeman is morally bankrupt. Makes one have to contemplate why Haslam would have such a corrupt guy working for him. Begs one to question Haslam’s ethics and integrity. With so many being taken down at PFJ in this cheating scam it’s getting much harder to believe that Haslam was in the dark.

  4. seanpbeck says: May 30, 2014 11:34 AM

    What ever happened to offering a quality product at a fair price? It’s what my company does and everybody’s happy. Newsflash: your customers are more intelligent than you think and they’ll take issue if you rob them.

  5. yesrowntreeyesgrosvener says: May 30, 2014 11:37 AM

    What a sociopath.

  6. padraighansen says: May 30, 2014 11:51 AM

    Sadly, having worked with many Pilot people over the years, this is the norm.

  7. nybairn says: May 30, 2014 11:58 AM

    $3.68 for regular ! ! That’s a lot less than I pay, can’t be such bad guys…..

  8. mustangbryk says: May 30, 2014 12:25 PM

    News flash Oil companies and gas stations have been scamming us for over 20 years now with these $4 a gallon gas prices. Were not running out of oil amatter affact there are more oil wells now producing oil than in an part of history in the world. And dont get me started on how every Thursday after work the prices jump 50 cents. of $1 before a holiday weekend. What a joke this whole Haslem story is a joke. Call BP see if they want to lower the prices or we will sue them. There all scammers.

  9. djmercury1 says: May 30, 2014 12:26 PM

    Sounds like the majority of Sales Managers…..

  10. ytownie says: May 30, 2014 12:30 PM

    Three things you just don’t do. You don’t spit into the wind, pull on Superman’s cape and you don’t mess around with Jimmy.

  11. qdog112 says: May 30, 2014 12:33 PM

    But, but it was a private conversation that he didn’t think would be made public …. (Donald Sterling supporters)

    “Freeman allegedly said while being secretly recorded…”

  12. juliusanonymous says: May 30, 2014 12:47 PM

    Haslam expects us to believe that a company he owned and ran suddenly started making extra millions of dollars, and he didn’t know anything about it. Someone break out the shovels, the BS is piling up!

    Every successful business owner would want to know where the extra money was coming from, so they could “develop” and increase that profit. This is how guys like Haslam become billionaires.

    Obviously, Haslam still thinks fairly low of everyone else’s intelligence.

    #SomethingSmells

  13. kd75 says: May 30, 2014 12:51 PM

    “Are you gonna argue with Jimmy Conway? Just give him his money so we can get outta here!”

  14. brownsclown says: May 30, 2014 12:54 PM

    This whole scandal is a tragedy. Big cost to a lot of people including Mike Dumbturdi who was slated to be flipping burgers at the Canton Pilot/Flying J. He had to settle for a job fetching snacks and lattes for the NE coaching staff.

  15. drgreenstreak says: May 30, 2014 12:58 PM

    “Makes one have to contemplate why Haslam would have such a corrupt guy working for him.”

    Are you kidding? Jimmy Haslam is the sensei, the teacher, the model on which his family legacy is built.

    Haslam is a true piece of crap.

  16. robert831 says: May 30, 2014 1:42 PM

    Haslam should be in jail. He should also be forced to the sell the team for exactly what he paid for it. This guy is a another billionaire criminal and it’s proven.

  17. oldcracker says: May 30, 2014 2:14 PM

    Reminds me of a river bank erroding away.

  18. camdenyard says: May 30, 2014 4:44 PM

    Still wondering what kind of name “Pilot Flying J” is for a company.

    Oh yea, and ole Jimmy is gonna be wearing the bracelets soon. Fun times in Cleaveland today!

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