The Daily Pulse:

Jimmy Haslam Not Stepping Down: "Why would I do that? I haven't done anything wrong."

Jimmy Haslam just held a brief press conference at Pilot Flying J headquarters to address the damning affidavit for Monday's search warrant, which was unsealed yesterday. He didn't take questions, except when someone whom we can only assume is a sports reporter from Cleveland shouted out as Haslam was leaving, "Will you take the Browns to the Super Bowl?" and he responded with a laugh, "Eventually, yes." 

Haslam appeared composed and almost genial. A can of Diet Coke in hand, he read the following statement:

Thanks for coming by today.

I have a statement to read to you.  It's important to me to keep our line of communication as open as possible, but I will not be able to answer your questions because we're still trying to fully understand everything that's going on.

We've always enjoyed an accessible relationship with the media here at Pilot Flying J, and I hope it's never any other way.

Pilot Flying J is very proud to be part of this community and places a very high value on our friendships, activities and role in this community and don't expect that to ever change.

All of you are well aware of what happened here on Monday afternoon, and most of you have read all or part of the two affidavits released Thursday night as part of a federal investigation of Pilot Flying J.

The timing of the release of the affidavits was sooner than we would have expected but otherwise not terribly surprising.

The affidavits didn't present a very flattering picture of our company, and were not representative of what our company is all about, but taken on the whole, they were consistent with our previous impression of the federal government's investigation.

It still appears to us that this investigation is focused on a very narrow band of a very large company - questions about how rebates were handled to a very small percentage of our trucking company customers.  

On a personal note, this obviously has been a tough week for the Pilot Flying J family, the toughest in our history.

First of all, I want to say how sorry I am that our team members, our customers, our suppliers, vendors and our friends have to go through this with us.  It's been traumatic for some, but it's important to remember that probably 99% of our people aren't even in the scope of this inquiry.

That's why on a call with all of our management folks this morning, I asked them to do three things:

One, keep morale up and be positive.

Two, keep everybody focused.  

Three, do your job. 

I want to say again, that from its beginning in 1958, Dad built this company on its integrity, and nothing's changed on my watch.  Our first value every day around here is to do the right thing.  

It doesn't occur to us to do things any other way, and any conduct otherwise is intolerable.  

We'll continue to cooperate as appropriate with the federal investigation and continue our own investigation.

In the meantime, it will be business as usual at Pilot Flying J.  Our 23,000-plus employees in our 650-plus locations nationwide will stay focused on doing their jobs - providing the best products at the best prices with the best services to the best customers in the world, America's drivers.

Our relationships with our customers, our suppliers and vendors, our team members and our friends in the communities in which we live and work are very important to us, and I trust and believe their faith in this company and its principles has never been displaced.

I'd love to stay and visit, but like I said, we really need to know more and spend more time with all of the issues involved before I say much more.  We'll do that another time.  

Thanks again for coming.  We'll continue to keep you informed as well as possible.
  
No other information was disclosed. But it seems like, at least for now, Haslam will be sticking by his guns at Pilot. As for how "open" and "transparent" Pilot executives remain going forward--well, I guess that depends on the number of lawyers that get involved.


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