Ex-exec of Haslam-owned chain pleads not guilty to fraud

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The former president of the truck stop chain owned by Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has pleaded not guilty to participating in a conspiracy to defraud customers.

Pilot Flying J President Mark Hazelwood left Pilot in 2014, a year after the FBI raided the company’s Knoxville headquarters. On Tuesday, he pleaded not guilty in federal court in Knoxville after an indictment was unsealed accusing him and seven others of cheating customers out of promised discounts and rebates.

Pilot earlier paid a $92 million penalty to the government in an agreement with prosecutors in which the company accepted responsibility for the criminal actions of its employees.

Pilot paid out another $85 million to settle claims with 5,500 trucking companies in a class-action lawsuit.