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Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 10:50 AM
Updated: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 10:50 AM
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam's relationship with one of the chief conspirators in a scheme to defraud customers at the truck stop chain controlled by the Haslam family is becoming a focus for the defense in the fraud trial of the company's former president.
Fourteen former executives and sales representatives at Pilot Flying J have pleaded guilty in the case, including former vice president John "Stick Freeman," whom prosecutors describe as the architect of the scheme to rip off unsuspecting customers of the country's largest truck stop chain by shorting them on the rebates they had agreed to pay.
"I think the relationship between one of the conspirators and Jimmy Haslam will be highly relevant," the Knoxville News Sentinel quoted defense attorney Rusty Hardin as saying in court on Thursday.
Hardin represents former Pilot President Mark Hazelwood, who is on trial along with a former vice president and two sales representatives.
Haslam has denied any prior knowledge about the scheme to defraud unsophisticated trucking company customers and has not been charged in the case.
Pilot agreed to an $85 million to settle lawsuits by most of the defrauded customers as well as a $92 million penalty to the government.
"Mr. Freeman was particularly close to Jimmy Haslam, wasn't he?" Hardin said in his cross-examination of Arnie Ralenkotter, a former sales director who has pleaded guilty and testified on government's behalf.
"It appeared that way," Ralenkotter responded.
Ralenkotter agreed with Hardin's suggestion that "John Freeman made it clear he wanted to be that man below Mr. Haslam."
Ralenkotter had started working at Pilot in 1997 and testified that he was a sales supervisor when the fraud scheme began in earnest in 2008. That's when Pilot executives decided to emulate discount programs offered by competitors and realized that fuel prices fluctuated so often that it "created an opportunity for us to keep some of that spread."
"We kind of slid into it," he said.
The trial continues on Monday.
Published: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 2:24 AM
Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 3:11 AM
SOUTH VIENNA, CLARK COUNTY — UPDATE @ 3:15 a.m: One person was transported to an area hospital after a fire occurred at a mobile home in South Vienna early Thursday morning.
Fire crews responded to the 10000 block of Buena Vista Road just after 2 a.m. on a fully involved trailer fire, according to initial reports.
Damage estimates were not immediately available, however, officials said damage to the inside of the trailer was severe.
The occupant that was able to escape the fire was sent to the hospital for observational purposes, officials confirmed.
The fire remains under investigation.
Crews are responding to the 1000 block of Buena Vista Road on a mobile home fire that occurred early Thursday morning.
Initial reports indicate the trailer was fully involved just after 2 a.m.
Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 3:37 AM
Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 2:21 AM
THURSDAY: Butler and Warren counties are under a Air Quality Alert from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Mostly sunny skies are expected with some increase in clouds late in the day and evening. It will be warmer with highs reaching into the middle 80s. There is a chance showers could arrive overnight.
FRIDAY: Expect a chance for showers and storms, especially by afternoon. There is a chance for one or two stronger storms, especially southwest of Dayton by evening. Highs will be in the middle 80s.
SATURDAY: Numerous showers and storms are expected scattered throughout the day. Outside of storms, skies will be partly to mostly cloudy with temperatures holding in the lower 80s.
SUNDAY: Expect lots of clouds with occasional showers and storms. Highs will be near 80 degrees.
MONDAY: Partly sunny skies will start the week with a lingering chance for passing showers and storms. Highs will be in the lower 80s.
Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 @ 3:27 AM
Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 1:52 AM
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Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 9:13 PM
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 11:16 PM
WASHINGTON TWP. — UPDATE @ 10:55 p.m.: The condition of the woman found unresponsive, at the side of an in-ground swimming pool at a private residence on Ladera Trail in Washington Twp., is still not known.
According to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Washington Twp. fire personnel arrived and took over medical treatment. They took the woman to Kettering Medical Center.
A 44-year-old woman has been taken to a hospital after what is being called an accidental near drowning at a private residence in Washington Twp.
Officials tell us the woman may have fallen into an in-ground pool at the home in the 1700 block of Ladera Trail. Medics were able to find a pulse as they took her to a hospital, officials said. Her condition was not immediately known.
Family members were performing CPR on the woman when medics arrived, said officials, who were told the woman was in the water less than a few minutes.
The call was dispatched just before 8:30 p.m., according to Montgomery County Regional Dispatch.
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