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  • Feds: Company owned by Browns owner and Tenn. Gov. brother to pay $92M fine


    Published July 14, 2014

    FILE: Undated: A Pilot gas station.AP
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. –  A truck-stop company owned by Tennessee GOP Gov. Bill Haslam and Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has agreed to pay $92 million in fines for cheating customers out of promised fuel rebates and discounts, federal prosecutors said Monday.
    According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Pilot Flying J, the country’s largest diesel retailer, accepts responsibility for the criminal conduct of its employees, including 10 who have pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme, and agrees to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.
    “The terms of this agreement …demonstrate quite clearly that no corporation, no matter how big, influential, or wealthy is above the law,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Killian.
    The agreement, signed Friday by company attorneys, also does not protect any Pilot worker or former worker from future prosecution.
    Jimmy Haslam has said he was unaware of the scheme.
    Through a spokesman, he declined an interview on Monday, but issued a statement: “We, as a company, look forward to putting this whole unfortunate episode behind us, continuing our efforts to rectify the damage done, regaining our customers’ trust, and getting on with our business.”
    Gov. Bill Haslam, his brother, holds an undisclosed ownership share in the company but has said he is not involved in Pilot’s day-to-day operations.
    Their father, James, started in company in 1958.
    Pilot agreed in November to pay out nearly $85 million to settle claims in a class-action lawsuit with 5,500 trucking companies. Several companies have filed separate lawsuits against Pilot that are ongoing.
    Federal officials said the company also must, under the so-called Criminal Enforcement Agreement, periodically report what it has done “to ensure that a system of internal accounting controls and other compliance procedures have been established to prevent fraudulent conduct from occurring again in the sale of diesel fuel.”
    The joint FBI-IRS investigation resulted in search warrants being executed on April 15, 2013, at multiple locations, including Pilot’s headquarters in Knoxville.
    Since that time, the 10 employees, including those with supervisory responsibilities, have agreed to cooperate with the federal investigation and entered guilty pleas to mail and wire fraud charges related to their involvement in the fraudulent reduction of diesel-fuel price discounts owed to Pilot customers.
    In the agreement, Pilot confirmed that fraudulent conduct involving diesel fuel price discounts was prevalent within its Direct Sales group and carried out with the knowledge and participation of employees responsible for the operation and oversight of Direct Sales. And Pilot further confirmed that supervisory employees encouraged participation in discount fraud for the company’s benefit, federal officials also said.
    The Associated Press contributed to this report.






    Todd E. Smith, President          

    Thomas Wilson Group, LLC  
    5214 Maryland Way, Ste. 303
    Brentwood, Tennessee 37027



    615.277.0751
    615.277.0754 fax
  • Gasoline Falls to $3.669 a Gallon in Survey

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    The average for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps fell 3.99 cents in the three weeks ended July 11 to $3.669 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.
    Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News
    The survey is based on information obtained at about 2,500 filling stations by the Camarillo, California-based company.
    The average, which is 7.91 cents below a year earlier, may fall another four cents to six cents in the next several days, Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said in a telephone interview today.
    “The wholesale price cuts are continuing now as refiners pass along the lower prices they’re paying for crude oil,” Lundberg said. “If we can assume that crude oil prices don’t shoot right back up, we may see further declines at the pump.”
    The highest price for gasoline in the lower 48 states among the markets surveyed was in San Francisco, at $4.12 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where customers paid an average $3.35 a gallon. Regular gasoline averaged $3.92 a gallon on Long Island, New York, and $4.09 in Los Angeles.
    By Bloomberg News






    Todd E. Smith, President          

    Thomas Wilson Group, LLC  
    5214 Maryland Way, Ste. 303
    Brentwood, Tennessee 37027



    615.277.0751
    615.277.0754 fax


  • Truck Driver Strike Ends at Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach


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    Teamsters Local 848
    Truck drivers ended a strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach after five days, the Los Angeles Times reported.
    The drivers voted to end the work stoppage after a request from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti calling for a “cooling off period,” according to the paper.
    The city held meetings with both sides, and the L.A. Harbor Commission will investigate drivers’ claims of poor working conditions and unfair labor practices.
    The companies the drivers were striking against — Green Fleet Systems, Total Transportation Services Inc. and Pacific 9 Transportation Inc. — promised to allow drivers back to work without retaliation.
    About 120 drivers are protesting low wages and their employers’ refusal to let them join a union.
    The strikers represent less than 1% of the more than 12,000 shorthaul truckers who serve the ports, according to a spokesperson for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ group seeking to organize the drivers.
    By Transport Topics






    Todd E. Smith, President          

    Thomas Wilson Group, LLC  
    5214 Maryland Way, Ste. 303
    Brentwood, Tennessee 37027



    615.277.0751
    615.277.0754 fax

  • FMCSA Enhances CSA Website

    FMCSA Enhances CSA Website to Help Drivers and Carriers Get Road Smart
    Today, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) unveiled enhancements to its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Website to help drivers and motor carriers Get Road Smart about CSA, the Agency’s safety compliance and enforcement program. The updates include:
    • Consolidated, user-friendly FMCSA safety information tailored for specific user groups, including a new Motor Carrier Resource Center and an updated Driver Safety Education Center
    • Easier access to Get Road Smart materials, featuring an updated CSA Feedback Form, where anyone can order posters and a brochure, with more materials to come
    • New, easy-to-read factsheets, based on the most frequently asked questions from drivers and motor carriers
    The new factsheets answer questions including:
    • What is CSA? – and how does it affect me?
    • I got a warning letter – what do I do?
    • What happens if I don’t improve my safety performance and compliance?
    These enhancements to the CSA Website help to advance FMCSA’s safety mission by making it easier for drivers and motor carriers to access and understand important safety information. Visit the CSA Website to check out these enhancements (http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/getroadsmart/).
    CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) website updated
    The CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) website has been updated with the June 20, 2014 snapshot. Check your safety assessment now at: http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms.

    NOTE TO CARRIERS: There are two ways to access and view all of your safety data. Log into your Portal account (https://portal.fmcsa.dot.gov/login) or log in directly to the SMS website with your FMCSA-issued U.S. DOT Number Personal Identification Number (PIN) (NOT a Docket Number PIN). If you do not know or have forgotten your PIN, you can request one via http://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/ and follow the instructions on the page.






    Todd E. Smith, President         

    Thomas Wilson Group, LLC 






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