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Ohio company sues Haslam's Pilot Flying J

5:18 PM, May 31, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Ohio Auto Delivery Inc. has filed the 10th lawsuit against Jimmy Haslam's Pilot Flying J regarding an alleged mishandling of a fuel rebate program.

Haslam is CEO of Pilot Flying J and also owner of the Cleveland Browns.

While this is the 10th lawsuit against Pilot in the wake of the FBI's investigation in the truck stop rebate scam, Ohio Auto Delivery is the first company to file suit in Ohio.

The trucking company, based in Grove City, filed the class action lawsuit in the US District Court in Toledo, on Thursday.

The lawsuit alleges, "[Pilot Travel Centers] engaged in an unlawful and intentional scheme to defraud and cheat [Ohio Auto Delivery] and class members by depriving them of their proper fuel rebates and discounts for the purpose of increasing its profitability, increasing its return on investment, and increasing the compensation of [Pilot's] executives."

The claims include breach of contract, violation of Ohio's trade practice, unjust enrichment and common law fraud.

Also attached to the Ohio affidavit, is a copy of the contract with Pilot from August 2004. 

Ohio Auto Delivery says the fraud by Pilot began at least as far back as 2005, three years earlier than the time period in a plea deal made by two Pilot employees earlier this week.

A few days ago, an Alabama trucking company filed against Pilot Flying J aka Pilot Travel Centers, alleging violations of the federal racketeering statute.

Both Ohio Auto delivery and Shoreline Transportation of Alabama USA Inc.'s lawsuits allege breach of contract and fraud.

J. Michael Bowling, the attorney for Shoreline Transportation, soke with WTAM Radio this morning, about the lawsuit.

"From the evidence and the facts that are now coming out, it appears that a lot of people at Pilot knew what was going on with the rebate program. [The trucking companies] feel like they should be treated like they were supposed to be treated under the agreement they had with Pilot Flying J," Bowling told WTAM.

In response to the latest allegations, Pilot Flying J spokesman Tom Ingram made this statement:

"We've been advised by counsel that class action lawsuits in a matter like this are expected and no surprise. Our counsel will review them as they come, and defend them properly."

"The statements released by the federal court do not come as a surprise, given what we've been learning in our own internal investigation, but are nonetheless disappointing. We want to assure our customers that we are taking every step to correct any wrongdoing that has occured and to make certain that it does not happen again," Ingram said.

WKYC-TV

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