Pilot Flying J reaches $92 million deal with government

Pilot Flying J

The good news in Cleveland sports continues into another week as Pilot Flying J has reached a deal with the government that includes an avoidance of criminal charges against the company. From the Knoxville News Sentinel out of Tennessee:

Under the deal made public on Monday, Pilot must pay a $92 million penalty over two years and cooperate with an ongoing criminal investigation into diesel fuel rebate fraud.

Federal prosecutors said in a news release that the Criminal Enforcement Agreement “expressly states that it provides no protection from prosecution to any individual” in connection with the case.

We, as a company, look forward to putting this whole unfortunate episode behind us, continuing our efforts to rectify the damage done, regaining our customers’ trust, and getting on with our business,” CEO Jimmy Haslam said in the release.

This is undoubtedly good news for Pilot and its CEO Jimmy Haslam. While it doesn’t appear that anyone’s completely out of the woods just yet, it’s a step in the right direction. Haslam could still be found worthy of prosecution depending on what the investigation continues to uncover. That being said, it would appear that the government is getting at least something of a desirable outcome.

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian is quoted in a news release detailed at the Knoxville News’ website. His quote sounds very much like a conclusion of sorts when he says, “The terms of this agreement, including the significant monetary penalty and the very serious consequences if Pilot fails to comply, demonstrate quite clearly that no corporation, no matter how big, influential, or wealthy, is above the law.”

And regardless of other details this is good news for Browns fans. As the owner of the Cleveland Browns, it is much better for Browns fans if the team’s owner isn’t in jeopardy of being imprisoned. With that in mind, this deal with the feds might be another good sign for Browns fans that the renewed focus on stability might actually be achievable.

It seems reasonable to assume that the government has been working hard on this case and uncovered huge amounts of details with ten previous guilty pleas obtained from former Pilot employees. If they were going to catch the biggest of all fish at Pilot, I’m guessing charges would have been filed for Haslam before a settlement agreement was reached.

  • cmm13

    $92 million???

    Does this mean we have to return Swagger?

    ….please say it does, please say it does, please say it does.

  • The_Real_Shamrock


  • Ezzie Goldish

    This basically means the company is putting this on some ‘bad employees’ as opposed to a company-wide/company-sanctioned issue. Whether true or not is hard to know, but it’s definitely good for Haslam & Co.

  • CB Everett
  • Harv 21

    Believe it means the feds went up the ladder high as they could go, exchanging pleas for testimony against the next highest rung but, barring some new evidence, they couldn’t reach Jimmy.

    Hope what this means, anyway. A sports franchise where 90% of the news comes from the playing field is a world I’d like to check out some day. Gotta hand it to Dolan, Shapiro and Antonetti: when it comes to running a professional team, no indictments, no scandals, no hollow-eyed emergency press conferences. Those boys put the “funk” in funktional.

  • MrCleaveland

    If Jimmy doesn’t have to testify, then Jimmy doesn’t have to commit perjury. And if Jimmy doesn’t have to commit perjury, then Jimmy won’t have to trade in his orange tie for an orange jumpsuit.

    Jimmy’s gonna have a shot or two of Jack Daniels tonight.

  • CB Everett

    Word. btw–I don’t know why—but when reading this, I imagined Jimmy narrating it with twang, speaking of Jimmy in the 3rd person. I think he would be a lot cooler if he did that in his pressers

  • Garry_Owen

    That’s my reading, as well. I believe this thing is all but done. If they had something on Jimmy, we’d know it by now (we’d have known it months ago). “Wins” all around: Injured parties made “whole”; PFJ ultimately saved some cash (and face?), and stays alive; taxpayers avoid further expense; Jimmy free to invest further in Teflon.

  • RGB

    Maybe we’ll have Wiener dog wagering?

  • Harv 21

    Denny is gonna be soooo ticked you did this first.

  • mgbode

    Did he do so candidly?

  • CB Everett

    I gave it a good 8 minutes and couldn’t wait any longer.

  • mgbode

    In the twitterverse that is like 100 years

  • Harv 21

    to Ed Fitzgerald that’s like $750 million

  • RGB

    Secret WFNY Ninja Cam footage of the federal cross examination of the VP of Pilot Business Operations…


  • Harv 21

    No you didn’t! My only regret is that it doesn’t include the testimony of everyone’s fav badass, Willi Cicci.