Ex-Pilot executive wants to throw out statement to agents

AP News
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Posted: Feb 09, 2017 3:36 PM

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former vice president of the truck stop chain owned by the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam wants a judge to throw out statements he made to federal investigators.

Scott "Scooter" Wombold is one of eight former Pilot Flying J executives charged with conspiracy to defraud trucking company customers.

A Wednesday court filing said Wombold was working as the vice president of national accounts for Pilot when investigators descended on the Knoxville offices in 2013 and ordered everyone to step away from their computers and interlock their hands behind their heads.

The filing argues he Wombold wasn't informed of his right to remain silent as agents questioned him for two hours while also not allowing him to answer calls from his wife or then-Pilot President Mark Hazelwood, who is now a co-defendant in the case.

A similar motion was filed on behalf of defendant Heather Jones, who said her interrogators said she should have known why she was being questioned and that she and her colleagues "were all bad."

Pilot has spent $85 million to settle a class action settlement with 5,500 trucking companies in connection with a scheme to cheat customers out of promised discounts and rebates. The company also paid a $92 million federal penalty in an agreement with prosecutors in which the company accepted responsibility for the criminal actions of its employees.

Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged. Bill Haslam has said he has not been involved with operations at the privately held company since he left to run for Knoxville mayor in 2003. The Republican was elected governor in 2010.