Time for disclosure on Flying J

Time for disclosure on Flying J

July 17th, 2013 in Opinion Times

Pilot Flying J's corporate offices are pictured in this file photo.

Photo by The Knoxville News Sentinel /Times Free Press.

The truck-stop company owned by Gov. Bill Haslam's brother, Jimmy Haslam, agreed Tuesday to pay back the trucking companies that were cheated out of fuel rebates, according to the Associated Press.

The governor has an undisclosed ownership share in the company, and both he and brother Jimmy have denied any wrongdoing.

But a federal judge in Arkansas gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a class-action settlement proffered by Flying J that would pay the companies what they are owed with 6 percent interest accrued "from the minute they sent the check and it was less than it should have been," said Don Barrett, the lead attorney for the trucking companies.

In a separate federal criminal case, federal agents raided the Knoxville headquarters of Pilot Flying J earlier this year after an employee claimed the company was systematically cheating its clients. Five employees have since pleaded guilty to federal charges, and at least one has said Pilot's top management was aware of the rebate scheme, according to news reports.

Tennesseans deserve to know more about the governor's "undisclosed" interest in the company. Especially with both guilty pleas and now a Flying J-proffered settlement.