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Prominent attorney Reid Weingarten to lead, oversee Pilot Flying J’s internal investigation

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 1, 2013

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Browns owner and Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam announced last week that his family’s truck-stop empire would hire an outside investigator to conduct an independent review in the midst of fraud allegations and an ongoing federal probe.

Pilot Flying J’s board of directors announced today that Reid Weingarten will lead and oversee the company’s internal investigation.

Here is a news release from Pilot Flying J about its appointment of Weingarten:

The board of directors of Pilot Flying J today announced the appointment of Reid Weingarten, listed earlier this year by the National Law Journal as one of the nation’s 100 most influential lawyers, to serve as a “special independent counsel”.

In that role, Weingarten will lead, oversee, and validate an internal investigation of recent federal allegations that Pilot Flying J underpaid rebates on diesel fuel purchases owed to some of its trucking company customers.

The board announcement today also named Brad Martin, retired chairman and CEO of Saks, Inc., as the head of a special committee of the board that will work with Weingarten and receive his eventual report.

According to Martin, “We’re pleased to have someone with Mr. Weingarten’s background, credentials, and reputation take on this assignment. He is the perfect person to help us understand the facts and do the right thing during this difficult period.”

Reid Weingarten's bio

Reid Weingarten of Steptoe & Johnson LLP is widely recognized for his legal acumen and distinguished credentials. Weingarten works from Steptoe’s Washington and New York offices and has represented individuals and corporations in some of the most high-profile cases in the country. Prior to joining Steptoe & Johnson LLP, he served as a trial attorney for the Public Integrity Section of the US Department of Justice and as a deputy district attorney for Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.

Brad Martin's bio

R. Brad Martin is Chairman of RBM Venture Company, a private investment firm. Martin serves on the Board of Directors of FedEx, First Horizon, Chesapeake Energy, and Dillard’s. Martin will become the Interim President of the University of Memphis on June 30 of this year. Martin is the former Chairman & CEO of Saks Incorporated and its predecessor, Proffitt’s, Inc., and served as a senior executive in this Fortune 500 firm for nearly 20 years.

The federal government made public its investigation into Pilot Flying J on April 15, 2013. On Sunday, April 21, 2013 the Pilot Flying J board voted to hire special counsel to oversee and validate internal inquiries related to the investigation.

Jimmy Haslam, Pilot Flying J CEO and board member, announced the board’s decision in a statement on Monday, April 22, 2013. At the time Haslam said, “Because there is a federal investigation now, we have to take extraordinary steps to do whatever is necessary to repair any damage done to this company’s reputation and restore the full integrity on which this company was built.

“Our board will find the best person in America to come into this situation and oversee and make certain that any and all of our own investigations into these matters are thorough and correct and help us ensure that what happened to this company [on April 15, 2013] never happens again.”

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