Former Pilot Regional Account Specialist Says Former President Mark Hazelwood Approved Of Fraud

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

When well-known attorney Rusty Hardin on Tuesday asked a former Pilot regional account specialist if she believed that former president Mark Hazelwood knew of a plan to cheat trucking firms he didn't get the answer he expected.

Holly Radford told a jury in Chattanooga, "I know he had knowledge of the rebate schemes that were going on.

"I had conversations with him about it on his boat, at his house and when I was doing personal photography for his family."

Attorney Hardin, who is traveling back and forth from Houston to try the case, noted that there was no record that Ms. Radford had ever told the government of allegations against Hazelwood, who is one of four people on trial. Also facing mail and wire fraud charges are former Pilot national sales director Scott Wombold and regional account specialists Karen Mann and Heather Jones.

Attorney Hardin later pressed Ms. Radford on specifics of what Hazelwood told her. She said once as they passed in the hallway at company headquarters in Knoxville he "expressed his appreciation for how much Jay had reduced his rebates."

She said that referred to regional sales director Jay Stinnett giving trucking firms rebates that were well below what had been promised to them.

One document introduced in the case had a line showing the amount of "savings" to Pilot through the fraudulent practice.

Ms. Radford could not remember any other specific statements by Hazelwood about the fraud.

Attorney Hardin said, "In all the reports they've disclosed there's nothing in them about what you've said today."

Ms. Radford, who pleaded guilty not long after an FBI raid on the Pilot headquarters on April 15, 2013, said cheating trucking owners "was kind of our culture. Everybody knew about it - inside and outside sales, upper management."

She was asked if "upper management' meant that CEO Jimmy Haslam knew. She said, "I do not have direct knowledge that he knew." The Cleveland Browns owner has not been charged.

An email was discussed with Ms. Radford in which former Pilot vice president of sales John "Stick" Freeman wrote that he had not yet informed a new salesman of the rebate racket "because he hasn't drank the Kool Aid yet."

Freeman, discussing the chart that showed Pilot "savings," said he was "hesitant to ask the girls to do this. You never know what might come of these." The incriminating 2008 record was still on hand when the FBI came calling five years later.

Ms. Radford said her commission was capped at $7,000 so she may have made just around $20 to $25 per month on the rebate scheme.

She said of the fraud, "I always knew it was wrong. But it was something you became used to and something your superiors praised you for. So I just did it."

Tim Wroblewski, who heads Pilot training and development, said during the years of the fraud from 2008-2013 that all employees were required each year to sign the code of ethics and business conduct.

Signatures were shown for each of the defendants.

The code at the time encouraged employees with concerns to step forward and said they would not be penalized.

Mr. Wroblewski said of the issues of ethics and good business conduct at Pilot "in the current day, we talk about it all the time."

 

 

 

 


Jeff Smith Is Winner Of Zarzour's Drawing For Set Of Chattanooga Photo Books

Judge Collier Keeps Hazelwood Under House Arrest During Appeal Of His Fraud Conviction

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report


Jeff Smith is the winner of a drawing at Zarzour's Restaurant on the Southside for a set of the Chattanooga Photo Books, including the new book Chattanooga in Old Photos, sponsored by Chattanoogan.com. ... (click for more)

Judge Curtis Collier has issued an order keeping former Pilot Travel Centers president Mark Hazelwood under home confinement during the appeal of his fraud conviction. Now that the Sixth Circuit ... (click for more)

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADU-BOAHENE, ISAAC KOJO 7897 FALL RIDGE DR OOLTEWAH, 37363 Age at Arrest: 38 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DRIVING ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Jeff Smith Is Winner Of Zarzour's Drawing For Set Of Chattanooga Photo Books

Jeff Smith is the winner of a drawing at Zarzour's Restaurant on the Southside for a set of the Chattanooga Photo Books, including the new book Chattanooga in Old Photos, sponsored by Chattanoogan.com. Mr. Smith, an employee of Tuftco, is one of the Zarzour's regulars. Chattanooga in Old Photos is the fourth book in the collection called the Chattanooga Photo Books. The others ... (click for more)

Judge Collier Keeps Hazelwood Under House Arrest During Appeal Of His Fraud Conviction

Judge Curtis Collier has issued an order keeping former Pilot Travel Centers president Mark Hazelwood under home confinement during the appeal of his fraud conviction. Now that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the appeal, attorneys for Hazelwood ask that he no longer be confined to his Knoxville home. They also asked that in the alternative he be allowed ... (click for more)

Opinion

Discrimination And Double Taxation For Animal Shelters - And Response

Some Commissioners want Hamilton County to donate $10 million in tax dollars to help the Humane Education Society (HES) build a new facility. The majority of Hamilton County residents (specifically those residing in Chattanooga, East Ridge, Lakesite, Walden, Signal Mountain, Lookout Mountain, Soddy Daisy, and Collegedale) will be prohibited from using HES animal services unless ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Thanksgiving Eve

At some point this spring, as I impatiently awaited the song birds as I do every year, I took a less-traveled path during My Morning Readings and came across a Thanksgiving story that I loved. Trust me, I have been waiting for about six months … yes, impatiently … to share a story that was written seven years ago by J. Allen Wilson. I searched for him yesterday but the closest ... (click for more)

Sports

Garrick Hall Gets 300th Win As Hixson Wrestling Coach

Tuesday, November 20 will be a day coach Garrick Hall remembers for the rest of his life. He took his Hixson wrestling team to Crossville to face teams from Cookeville and Stone Memorial. The Wildcats won both, beating the Cavaliers by a 42-27 final before topping the Panthers by a 52-27 margin, handing Hall his 300 th dual-meet victory in the process. “It took a while, ... (click for more)

Strong Second Half Leads East Hamilton Past Franklin County, 58-40

East Hamilton’s Lady Hurricanes broke away from a 25-all tie at halftime with Franklin County on Tuesday as Madison Hayes scored 13 of her game-high 27 points in the third quarter of a 58-40 non-district victory in Winchester. The Lady Canes (3-0) have won their first three games by an average of 13 points and Hayes has scored 84 points and averaged 28 points in the team’s fast ... (click for more)