Tag Archives: haslam family

Haslams relocate Knoxville residence

Gov. Bill and Crissy Haslam are moving from their longtime home in old Westmoreland on Sherwood Drive in Knoxville back to the house where the governor lived as a young teenager on Lyons Bend Road adjacent to the Tennessee River, reports Victor Ashe in his Shopper News column.

The Haslams will still be city residents as both homes are in the city. They will continue to be represented on City Council by Duane Grieve and on County Commission by Hugh Nystrom. Martin Daniel is their state representative. Grieve is a Democrat, while Nystrom and Daniel are Republicans.

Bill Haslam is moving into the house that was occupied by his father for over 40 years before he and Natalie Haslam moved to Craigland Court this past year. Prior to the Haslams moving to Lyons Bend Road in the 1970s from Scenic Drive in Sequoyah Hills, the house was owned by the governor’s maternal grandmother, Hazel Lou Van Deventer, and her husband, James Van Deventer.

Reportedly, the Haslams are adding a swimming pool and renovating the kitchen area of the Old English brick home. The Lyons Bend house is not visible from the road as the Sherwood Drive house is.

Ohio judge won’t dismiss claims against Haslam company proceed

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio judge won’t dismiss breach-of-contract and other claims against the truck-stop chain owned by Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and his brother, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

Several companies have sued Pilot Flying J in connection with a scheme to cheat customers out of promised discounts and rebates.

A Franklin County judge this week refused the chain’s request to dismiss claims in an Ohio suit. He concluded the companies making the allegations provided sufficient information to pursue the claims.

Jimmy Haslam isn’t charged and has denied knowing about the scheme, which came to light after federal agents raided the company’s Knoxville, Tennessee, headquarters in 2013. It led to millions of dollars in settlements and charges against some employees.

Bill Haslam has said he isn’t involved with operating the company.

Haslam family hosts a party at GOP convention

Excerpt from a Huffington Post article on parties at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and their sponsors:

The Cleveland host committee that handles the logistics and can accept unlimited funds to do so doesn’t have to report donor names until then (60 days after the convention)… The group is hosting a welcome reception for sponsors Sunday night. It’s listed as being at the home of Natalie and James Haslam, megadonor and founder of Pilot Corporation, an oil company; that could be a misprint, since James lives in Tennessee and it’s his son, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, and his wife Dee who paid $4.1 million for a mansion on Lake Erie in 2012. (Another of James’ children is Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam).

The Haslam family has long been active in donating to Republican politics. They certainly didn’t start out as Trump supporters this cycle: James, Jimmy, Jimmy’s sister Ann and his wife Susan gave a combined $125,000 to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s super PAC, Right to Rise USA, early last year.

Since it would be a shame to let such a lovely estate go unused for the rest of the week, Jimmy Haslam’s place will be the venue for a Republican Governors Association lunch on Wednesday; we’re guessing invitees include, besides GOP governors, representatives of some of the RGA’s top donors, which this cycle include Koch Industries ($2 million); Blue Cross/Blue Shield ($1.5 million); and Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands ($1 million).

Jimmy Haslam would agree to deposition — under some conditions

Jimmy Haslam, CEO of Pilot Flying J and owner of the Cleveland Browns, has agreed to be deposed over ongoing civil lawsuits connected to a rebate fraud scheme carried out by the Haslam family’s $33 billion truck stop chain, reports The Tennessean.

The documents say Jimmy Haslam, brother of Gov. Bill Haslam, would agree to sit for a deposition under specific circumstances. That includes waiting to see how the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on a case, and as long as the deposition takes place over the course of one seven-hour day. Brody also requested a coordinated effort across all of the pending civil cases so Haslam is only deposed once.

Jimmy Haslam is being sued by Wright Transportation, an Alabama-based trucking company, and several other companies around the country in connection to the scheme. The Knoxville-based company agreed to rebate deals with many customers, only to not actually provide those rebates. The case has led to 10 guilty pleas to federal indictments, another eight pending federal indictments and more than $100 million in fees and restitution.

Jimmy Haslam has denied knowing about the scheme or having any part in the scheme, and he’s not been charged. Attorneys for Wright Transportation and others believe information gathered by the FBI indicates Jimmy Haslam at least knew of the scheme.

Judge backs requiring deposition of Jimmy Haslam

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is a step closer to having to answer questions about fraud at the truck stop chain where he is president and CEO.

Haslam has denied any knowledge of the scheme that has cost Pilot Flying J $177 million in settlements with customers and the government since it came to light after federal agents raided the company’s Knoxville, Tennessee, headquarters in April 2013.

Pilot’s former president and seven others, including two former top executives, have been indicted and face trial next year on charges they conspired to cheat customers out of promised discounts and rebates. Another 10 former employees have pleaded guilty in the fraud. But Haslam has not been charged criminally and for three years has fought legal efforts by trucking companies to depose him.

While about 5,500 firms were part of a class-action lawsuit against Pilot that settled quickly, Mobile-based Wright Transportation is one of several that opted pursue their own lawsuits in state court. Haslam has been ordered to sit for a deposition in that case.

On Friday, Mobile Circuit Court Judge Sarah Stewart declined Haslam’s request to reconsider her order, according to al.com. But that does not end his attorneys’ efforts to stop the deposition. They have also filed a motion for a protective order, claiming the case should not move forward until jurisdictional issues are resolved. On May 13, the court will hear arguments on that motion.

Pilot is owned by Haslam and his brother, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who has said he is not involved with operating the company. It is the nation’s largest diesel retailer with $31.4 billion in revenue in 2014.

Jimmy Haslam seeks to avoid deposition on Pilot Flying J rebates

Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam has asked an Alabama judge to reconsider, amend or vacate a deposition order that could force him to testify in court for the first time regarding the rebate scheme plaguing the $31 billion family truck stop chain.

Further from The Tennessean:

Attorney Joseph McCorkle Jr., representing Haslam, filed the motion to reconsider late Friday in the civil case of Wright Transportation v. Pilot Flying J after the judge’s order came earlier in the day.

Among several claims, the defendant’s motion argues that Circuit Court Judge Sarah Hicks Stewart granted the petition to depose Haslam less than 42 hours after it was filed without scheduling a hearing or allowing Haslam a reasonable opportunity to respond.

The brief says Haslam’s legal counsel is “puzzled” by the decision and that the plaintiff’s petition is “riddled with factual and procedural errors.” The defense also contends the proposed deposition of Haslam is a “thinly-disguised effort to obtain discovery from him to be used in the litigation against him, wherever it ends up.”

Alabama-based Wright Transportation is one of several companies suing Pilot in connection with a scheme where top-ranking Pilot officials orchestrated fake rebates for customers. Haslam, brother of Gov. Bill Haslam and owner of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, has denied knowing anything about the scheme.

“Of hundreds of cases resolved, this is one of only several unresolved,” said a spokesman for Pilot Flying J. “There is nothing Mr. (Jimmy) Haslam can add to what has become a prolonged litigation by this company.”

A federal investigation into the problem has already led to 10 guilty pleas to federal crimes and another eight federal indictments of former leading executives at the company. Jimmy Haslam is not among them.

Haslams, Pilot Flying J donate $10M for high school athletics

Pilot Flying J, in collaboration with CEO Jimmy Haslam and the Haslam family, is providing $10.1 million to install synthetic turf fields, running tracks and academic money to Knox County high schools, reports the News Sentinel.

The megadeal was revealed on Twitter by Mark Packer of WVLT, Channel 8, who helped arrange the deal. Knox County Schools will make a formal announcement of the deal on Wednesday, Pilot Flying J spokeswoman Anne LeZotte said in a text message to the News Sentinel.

The deal is expected to provide synthetic football/athletic fields to 13 schools, including Austin-East, Bearden, Carter, Central, Farragut, Fulton, Gibbs, Halls, Hardin Valley, Karns, Powell, South-Doyle and West.

WVLT reported Tuesday that each school is expected to receive $100,000 toward academics, and Austin-East, Bearden, Gibbs, Halls and South-Doyle will receive running tracks. Four schools are expected to receive turf in 2016, five schools in 2017 and the other four in 2018.

Fulton, because it will be hosting in 2016 the second leg of Pilot’s “Battle of Champions” — a two-year matchup against Maryville High School — is guaranteed turf next year.

UPDATE/note: The announcement went as planned. News Sentinel update HERE.

Jim Haslam, honored at GOP dinner, makes national list of top donors

James A. “Jim” Haslam II, honored at Saturday’s Tennessee Republican Statesmen’s Dinner, ranked No. 284 nationwide in a recent report on the top donors to candidates seeking federal office in 2014 and chipped in generously to state-level candidates as well.

The Center for Responsive Politics review in March showed Haslam individually donating $174,900 in “hard money,” more than any other Tennessean. That included $73,000 to GOP committees for the election of U.S. Senate and U.S. House candidates; $20,000 to the Tennessee Republican Party’s federal election account; and the rest to various candidates around the nation for seats in Congress.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who presented the Howard H. Baker Award to Haslam on Saturday night in Nashville, was among them. The award is named after the late U.S. senator and Haslam helped him with fundraising when Baker first ran for office in 1964, unsuccessfully, and then in 1966 when Baker became the first state’s first Republican senator in decades. Haslam began helping Alexander with fundraising in 1974, when Alexander was trying to retire a debt from his unsuccessful run for governor in that year.

Alexander said Saturday that Haslam never had any reason for his own political donations, or in serving as a fundraiser asking others to donate, other than to see “good and honest government” as a result. That, he said, is why he appreciated Haslam’s efforts then and since in campaigns ranging from his successful 1978 campaign to governor to his re-election last year.

“I put him between me and people who might have other motivations,” said Alexander.
Continue reading

Forbes says Haslam is worth $2B and ‘the richest elected official in America’

In an online article Wednesday, Forbes magazine reported that Gov. Bill Haslam has a net worth of $2 billion and is “now the richest elected official in America” — in substantial part because of recently falling gas prices.

A spokesman for the governor, who has always refused to publicly disclose information on his financial resources, declined to either confirm or deny the Forbes figures.

“We’re not sure where Forbes got their numbers. We don’t discuss his personal finances. Tennesseans are more interested in the work he’s doing as governor,” said spokesman David Smith in an email.

“An heir to truck stop chain Pilot Flying J, Haslam has seen his net worth more than double since August–from $980 million to an estimated $2 billion–thanks to cheaper gas. He’s now the richest elected official in America,” says the Forbes article.

“Cheap unleaded means more people filling up–and a greater chance for gas stations and truck stops to profit off fuel, plus ancillary goods and services. ‘In a declining fuel market, these operators do much better,’ says John R. Lawrence, managing director at investment bank Stephens.

“Pilot Flying J’s trailing 12-month operating income has grown from $1.1 billion in August to $1.4 billion, according to the company. That means fatter coffers for Haslam, a Republican, who owns 15% of the $38 billion (sales) roadside giant, which his father founded in 1958,” the article says.

Forbes annually does a list of the 400 richest Americans and the governor’s brother, Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam, has made that list in recent years. In 2013, Jimmy Haslam’s net worth was pegged at $1.45 billion, putting him at No. 369. In Wednesday’s article, Forbes estimated Jimmy Haslam’s current net worth at $2.9 billion.

Bill Haslam had not been previously listed among Forbes’ richest Americans, though Wednesday’s article raises the possibility he will do so in the next listing based on figures at the end of 2014.
Continue reading

Crissy Haslam: Bill can be persistent

Excerpt from a Tennessean story wherein Crissy Haslam recounts her early encounters at Emory University with her husband, Bill Haslam, now the governor of Tennessee:

The first time they met was in front of the Christian fellowship table in Emory’s student center. She noticed his first-week freshman nametag: “Bill Haslam, Knoxville.”

The second time, she went to a fraternity house where she asked a friend if there might be any freshmen she could meet.

“Yeah, I picked one out for you,” the friend said. “His name is Bill Haslam.”

The third time, another friend took her to church that first Sunday, and he showed up with a surprise passenger.

“The guy in the back seat is Bill Haslam,” her friend announced.

Were there any sparks between the two that week?

“I thought he was really handsome,” the first lady said, “but I thought he had a real hillbilly voice, an East Tennessee twang.”

Still, she was intrigued. And Haslam was persistent.

He asked her out twice, and she declined, saying both times she had prior obligations.

The third time he asked her out that semester, she said yes. She agreed to go to his fraternity function at 5:30 p.m., but she rushed through it — because she had another date with a different guy at 8 that night.

“He’s always like, ‘You late-dated me our first date!’ ” Crissy Haslam said, laughing. “I say, ‘I knew if I turned you down that third time, you’d probably never call me again.’ ”

Still, the two stayed friends, in part, Crissy Haslam said, because her future husband was “a nerd” at Emory, always studying in the library, not socializing or dating as much as other students.

“He was a choir boy,” she said, “a straight arrow.”

Then, one late night junior year, Crissy Haslam got a phone call; her younger sister, Anne, had died in a car crash.

“She was a senior in high school,” the first lady said, tears in her eyes.

“Kind of a freakish thing. Why in the world? How could this happen? You don’t even think about death when you’re that age.”

Her parents had arranged a flight for their surviving daughter to come home early that very next morning. Crissy needed a ride to the airport, and she was going to have to wake up someone to do that.

She remembered that Haslam’s mom had died when he was a junior in high school; she just knew he would understand.

“I didn’t call the guy I was dating. I called my friend Bill,” she said. “He would be OK if I was sobbing the whole way to the airport.”

A month or so later, the two started to date, and they got married about two years later.