News briefs from around Tennessee at 1:58 a.m. EDT

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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Gov. Haslam: Truck stop agreement good for company

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says the truck stop company he co-owns can start putting the fraud investigation behind it after it struck a deal with prosecutors to pay a $92 million fine and acknowledge that employees cheated customers.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee announced the company has agreed to pay the fine in an agreement signed Friday.

Haslam is not involved in Pilot Flying J’s day-to-day operations of the company that is co-owned by his brother, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.

Ten employees of the truck-stop company have pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme to cheat customers out of promised fuel rebates and discounts. The agreement does not protect anyone at Pilot from prosecution and requires the company to cooperate with an ongoing investigation.

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Chronology of Pilot Flying J truck stop probe

A timeline of events in the federal investigation into alleged 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: Jimmy 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.

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Road projects could face cuts in August

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee has funding for 13 road-widening projects totaling more than $200 million waiting on whether Congress refreshes the federal Highway Trust Fund in August.

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