Newly released documents obtained by WBIR show just how explicit and vulgar conversations were between Pilot Flying J executives during a lake trip in 2012.
The recordings were played for the jury during the federal fraud trial involving four former Pilot Flying J executives, including former president Mark Hazelwood.
The recordings were made in October 2012 at a lake house in Rockford owned by a former Pilot vice president, John Freeman.
They include the voices of several former executives using racial slurs, vulgar language and making fun of the Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam and other company board members.
Former Pilot employees in the recordings include Hazelwood, former vice president Brian Mosher and former employees Jay Stinnett, Brian Mosher, Arnie Ralenkotter and Vincent Greco, who is known to have recorded the conversations.
Hazlewood was found guilty of wire fraud and other charges last month.
Below are the recordings that were released in response to media requests. The beginning clip was recorded right after a racist song from the 1980s by artist David Allen Coe was played.
We want to warn you that this audio and content is explicit and offensive.
A federal judge in Chattanooga ordered the release of the recordings Wednesday after WBIR, the Knoxville News Sentinel and other media organizations asked to obtain copies of the recordings that were played during the trial.
WBIR legal analyst Dennis Francis said he believes the judge made the right decision in releasing the tapes to the public.
"You can't separate their conduct from their vocabulary and their actions here. If you can present it to a jury, you can present it to the public ... court rooms are open," he said.
A Pilot company spokesperson issued the following statement Thursday:
"As we conveyed in January when the tapes were played in court, we are very disturbed and appalled by the extremely offensive and deplorable comments recorded over 5 years ago involving a small group of former sales employees. This kind of behavior is reprehensible, not tolerated, nor reflective of the guiding principles of Pilot Flying J and does not represent the values of the dedicated 28,000 team members that we have today.
“As soon as the Company was made aware of these tape recordings, immediate action was taken. The employees who participated were held responsible and are no longer with the Company. No current team member of Pilot Flying J was present or participated in this incident."