ONLY ON FOX10: Local trucking company sues Pilot Flying J over alleged gas fraud Posted: Dec 09, 2015 3:44 PM Updated: Dec 09, 2015 5:07 PM By Kati Weis, FOX10 News ReporterCONNECT

ONLY ON FOX10: Local trucking company sues Pilot Flying J over alleged gas fraud
Posted: Dec 09, 2015 3:44 PM
Updated: Dec 09, 2015 5:07 PM
By Kati Weis, FOX10 News ReporterCONNECT
By Photojournalist: Guy Turnbow

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A nation-wide lawsuit hitting home in the Port City.

After Pilot Travel Centers settled for more than $92 million with other American trucking companies, one local mobile company – Wright Transportation – is personally suing the truck stop corporation for allegedly cheating the company with fake fuel discounts.

An attorney for Wright Transportation, Stephen Tunstall, said some 5,000 clients of Pilot Flying J nationwide were schemed by the company.

He said Wright Transportation is one of those, who bought millions of gallons of gas from Pilot Travel Centers.

“F*** ’em early, F*** ’em often,” is the first line of the complaint filed in Mobile County Circuit Court on behalf of Wright Transportation, claiming that explicit saying is a motto at least one executive of the Pilot Flying J company follows.

“It’s sad that we had to include that kind of language in a public document, but we want the unvarnished truth to be told,” said Tunstall.

According to an FBI investigation, that explicit motto was recorded in a conversation between the company’s vice president for sales and a sales director.

Wright Transportation, a family-owned trucking company in Mobile, claims that explicit customer policy came into play during its dealings with pilot travel centers.

According to Wright’s complaint, when some trucking companies were filling up at Pilot Travel Centers, they were under the impression they were getting discounts for their diesel fuel, but in reality, unbeknownst to them, they were getting charged several extra fees.

“Pilot tried to make it virtually impossible for the company to determine what their actual losses or costs were, so one of the goals of this litigation is to finally discover how much money was in fact stolen from Wright Transportation,” said Tunstall.

Pilot Flying J ended up settling in a federal class action suit over the allegations for some $92 million, but, we’re told Wright opted out of that suit, and is instead filing individually in Mobile County.

Wright’s attorney said the Pilot Flying J purposefully targeted “innocent mom and pop trucking companies,” as he stated in his court complaint.

“To be arrogant, to think that you’re never going to get caught, and when you are caught, you laugh about the fact that you still haven’t returned all of the money, that’s actually in the FBI affidavit,” explained Tunstall.

The 40 page complaint goes on to allege Pilot Flying J stole from trucking companies like Wright Transportation for its own greed, accusing one of the company’s officers of using the money to purchase a professional football team.

Keep in mind, the company’s CEO, Jimmy Haslam, owns the Cleveland Browns.

While our calls and an email to Pilot Flying J have so far not been returned, Haslam has said in the past that he didn’t know about the scheme.

“Yeah, absolutely not, I will say that again, absolutely not,” Haslam answered when asked if he knew about the alleged fraud, or participated in any way.

Pilot Flying J hasn’t responded to the court complaint, either.

We’re told the company now has less than 30 days to give a response, then a court date will be set.

Tunstall told FOX10 News that Wright Transportation wants to see the whole truth come out from Pilot Flying J about the alleged fraud, which means they’re looking to take this case to trial.

We’ll let you know how things play out.

All content © 2015, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.

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