We've all read the affidavit for the search warrant for Pilot Flying J, which was raided in April by the FBI and IRS. Even that weird part about "Manuel rebates." Now the first guilty pleas are in. From Ken Whitehouse (with an assist from the AP) over at The City Paper:
In the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, regional sales director Arnold Ralenkotter pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in the fraud case that has engulfed the Haslam family business.
Regional accounts representative Ashley Smith Judd also pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
Pilot Flying J is a private company owned by the Haslam family of Knoxville. Gov. Bill Haslam served as the company’s president in the 1990s before becoming mayor of Knoxville in 2002. Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam, Bill’s brother, is among those mentioned in a scheme that the government alleges enriched the company and sales staff by not providing promised fuel rebates to trucking fleets.
Pith readers might remember Ralenkotter as the fellow who was quoted on p. 50 of the affidavit as saying, "If the guy's been getting $100,000, $100,000, $100,000, now you send him $180,000, and then the next month you send him 75. He thinks you're fuckin' em. So you might as well be fuckin 'em." (Poetic, right?) Ralenkotter, according to he CP report, "may receive a reduction in his eventual sentencing by cooperating with federal authorities." Read the whole story here.