Deposition Ordered for Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Three years after federal officials raided Pilot Flying J's corporate headquarters here, CEO Jimmy Haslam is facing a deposition in a civil case over the allegations of fraud in the company's fuel rebate program.
According to The Tennessean, Alabama Circuit Court Judge Sarah Hicks Stewart issued the order on Friday, the three-year anniversary of the April 15, 2013 raid.
Haslam is expected to be subpoenaed to appear at a May 11 deposition in Knoxville, according to the order. The order requests the Knox County clerk issue a deposition subpoena or some similar order because "it appears to this court that the just determination of the issues [in the Alabama case] requires that the deposition testimony of James A. Haslam III be taken."
However, Haslam has asked the judge to reconsider, amend or vacate the deposition order. Attorney Joseph McCorkle Jr., who is representing Haslam, filed a motion to reconsider late Friday in the civil case of Wright Transportation v. Pilot Flying J, the news outlet reported.
Alabama-based Wright Transportation is one of several companies suing Pilot Flying J in connection to the alleged rebate fraud. The investigation into the issue has already led to 10 guilty pleas by employees to federal crimes, and another eight federal indictments of former leading executives at the travel center operator.
Haslam's motion to reconsider, among several claims, argues that Stewart granted the petition to depose Haslam less than 42 hours after it was filed without scheduling a hearing or allowing Haslam a reasonable opportunity to respond.
The brief states Haslam's legal counsel is "puzzled" by the decision and that the plaintiff's petition is "riddled with factual and procedural errors." The defense also contends the proposed deposition of Haslam is a "thinly-disguised effort to obtain discovery from him to be used in the litigation against him, wherever it ends up," according to The Tennessean.
Haslam has denied any knowledge of the alleged fraud.
According to Stephen Tunstall, the lead attorney representing the Wright family in the Alabama case, the deposition would be the first time Haslam will have had to testify under oath about the rebate allegations.
Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J operates more than 650 retail locations in North America.