Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam spoke to the media Friday afternoon, but took no questions, about the questions surrounding the company and an alleged scheme to defraud some customers.
Haslam said "you know us," that the company always strives to be transparent, and we're going to continue to do this. He acknowledged this has been a rough week, and has "rocked us bad." He credited his employees for working through a tough situation.
He said he's been asked if he'd step down during the investigation, and his answer is no. "I haven't done anything wrong," he said. "This company needs leadership right now."
On that, he's asked his managers to do three things through this investigation: Stay positive and keep morale high; focus on the the job and not be distracted; and do your job.
Haslam says the company is working hard to keep business going as usual. They've had no issue with suppliers and their stores have remained open. He says their sales have been good this week, with no drops since last week. He says many of the trucking companies they do business with have called with support, and offers to have their rebate program audited to prove there was no wrong-doing.
Haslam says he has read the court documents, and does not like the color of some of the comments, saying "that's now how we conduct ourselves here." He continues to maintain that the investigation is focused on a "narrow part of the business."
Haslam also mentioned Pilot Flying J's place in the Knoxville community, and how important Knoxville is to him. He says his family and the company have always been heavily involved, and will continue to be.
Despite the cloud that covers the company now, Haslam says his father founded Pilot in 1985 on integrity, and he believes they run "a hell of a company today" and "we'll emerge even better" after this.
Haslam says company officials will continue to cooperate with investigators, and are conducting their own internal investigation. He says if something inappropriate is uncovered, they will take immediate action.
One day after search warrants revealed that investigators believe Pilot C.E.O. Jimmy Haslam and other top executives were involved in a scheme to shortchange some customers, Haslam will make a statement to the media.
The statement is expected to be made at Pilot Flying J headquarters on Lonas Road at 4 pm Friday afternoon. You can watch the statement on WBIR.com.
The release says the Haslam will not answer questions.
The documents revealed that some former and current Pilot employees told investigators about an ongoing practice where Pilot would cut rebates owed to some commercial customers who buy gas in bulk from the company.