Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam has been ordered by an Alabama judge to appear for a deposition May 11 in the truck-stop chain's rebate fraud case. However, a Tennessee paper is reporting that Haslam is fighting his appearance.
The Tennessean reported that Haslam's attorney, Joseph McCorkle Jr., filed a motion to reconsider, amend or vacate the order.
Several companies have sued Pilot in connection with a scheme in which Pilot officials cheated customers out of promised discounts and rebates. Ten former Pilot employees have pleaded guilty. The company's former president, Mark Hazelwood, and seven others face trial next year in federal court.
One of the companies suing Pilot, Wright Transportation, is based in Mobile, Alabama.
"Of hundreds of cases resolved, this is one of only several unresolved," said a Pilot Flying J spokesman, as reported by The Tennessean. "There is nothing Mr. Haslam can add to what has become a prolonged litigation by this company."
Haslam's motion says the plaintiff’s petition is “riddled with factual and procedural errors” and the deposition effort is a “thinly-disguised effort to obtain discovery from him to be used in the litigation against him, wherever it ends up.”
Haslam is the owner of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. He and his brother, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, are co-owners of Pilot Flying J. In 2014, they agreed to pay a $92 million penalty for defrauding commercial customers of rebates and another $85 million to settle claims with 5,500 trucking companies in a class-action lawsuit.
Jimmy Haslam has denied any previous knowledge of the alleged fraud or any personal wrongdoing. If his motion fails, he could be forced to testify in court for the first time regarding the rebate scheme.