A timeline of the Pilot Flying J investigation

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 22, 2014 at 4:17 pm •  Published: May 22, 2014
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A timeline of events in the federal investigation into rebate fraud at the Pilot Flying J truck-stop chain owned by the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and his brother, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam:

— May 4, 2011: An informant contacts the FBI about a regional sales manager's statement that Pilot is cheating customers out of contractually set rebates.

— Aug. 2, 2012: Jimmy Haslam buys the Cleveland Browns for $1 billion.

—Sept. 11, 2012: Haslam steps down as CEO of Pilot Flying J to concentrate on rebuilding the NFL franchise. He remains board chairman.

— Oct, 4, 2012: A Pilot regional sales manager agrees to cooperate with FBI investigators and record conversations with colleagues.

— Oct. 25, 2012: The confidential source records a meeting held at the Rockwood, Tennessee, lake house of John "Stick" Freeman, Pilot's vice president of sales. Freeman recounts getting caught withholding rebate money from a customer and brags that he had to pay back $1 million but still came out $6 million ahead. Asked about Jimmy Haslam's reaction, Freeman is recorded as saying: "He knew it all along. Loved it."

— Feb. 11, 2013: Haslam announces he will reassume his position as CEO of Pilot.

— April 1, 2013: The FBI's confidential source returns from a two-week vacation to find the company has launched an internal audit of the manual rebate process used to defraud customers, stirring concerns among the Pilot sales staff.