Liberal Democrats in Virginia aren’t the only ones immersed in scandal over racism and corruption. Liberal Bill Haslam is dirty, too. Haslam’s family business has been infected with fraud, racist rants, and practices designed to exploit Hispanic and other customers.
Haslam was intimately involved for decades in growing Pilot Travel Centers into a truck stop behemoth. He then received thousands of campaign dollars from a top executive, his golfing buddy, who masterminded the corruption schemes and made disgusting racial slurs.
Bill Haslam helped lead Pilot Travel Centers in the 1980s and 1990s, now known as Pilot Flying J, into the truck stop behemoth it is today. He joined the company in 1980, served in a variety of executive roles (1), and left as company president in 1999 and stepped down from Pilot’s board in 2003, but currently maintains ownership and income (2)
Beginning in 2013, Pilot Flying J became embroiled in a scandal when the FBI raided their offices and the DOJ indicted their employees during an investigation into a fuel rebate fraud scheme. Pilot Flying J exploited hard-working contractors by fraudulently lowering rebates to trucking companies to pad their commissions and bottom line (3).
Pilot Flying J specifically targeted Hispanics in their rebate fraud scheme, thinking they could “get away with a little bit more” because of the language barrier. Pilot sales managers saw Hispanic business owners as more likely to believe they misunderstood the billing situation, rather than being defrauded by Pilot (4).
The deep culture of corruption at Pilot Flying J raises questions about Bill Haslam's involvement with the company. All told, at least 19 executives and staff were implicated in the fraud.(5) Haslam’s long-time friend and golfing partner, Mark Hazelwood, was a ringleader in the scheme and sentenced to 12.5 years in prison (6).
Haslam’s good friend, Hazelwood, was caught on tape using racist language on multiple occasions. “Where’s our greasy (racial epithet) song?”, he said. A judge called the recordings “vile” and “despicable.” (7)
Haslam received campaign donations from half a dozen associates implicated in the Pilot fraud scheme. That includes Hazelwood, who donated more than $12,000. In total, Haslam received more than $25,000 from corrupt sources for his campaigns for governor (8).