Pilot Flying J hires Gov. Haslam's former boss to oversee probe

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/AP) -- One of the nation's most influential attorneys has signed on to serve as "special independent counsel" to Pilot Flying J as it battles federal allegations it underpaid on rebates, the truck stop giant's board of directors announced on Wednesday.

Reid Weingarten will lead, oversee, and validate an internal investigation of the rebate program, a federal investigation of which led to a raid on corporate headquarters on April 15. Earlier this year, the National Law Journal listed Weingarten as one of the nation's 100 most influential lawyers.

"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,” said Brad Martin, retired chairman and CEO of Saks, Inc., who earlier Wednesday was named as the head of a special committee of the board that will work with Weingarten and receive his eventual report.

According to Weinstein's professional website, he has represented former WorldCom CEO, Bernard Ebbers, former Enron Accounting Officer, Richard Causey, former General Counsel of Tyco, Mark Belnick.

Martin, the newly appointed interim president of the University of Memphis once hired Gov. Bill Haslam as an executive at Saks Inc.,

Martin is a board member of Knoxville-based Pilot, a private company owned mostly by Haslam family members. The country's largest diesel fuel retailer is run by CEO Jimmy Haslam, the governor's brother and owner of the NFL's Cleveland Browns.

Bill Haslam was president of Pilot when he was hired by Martin in 1999 to start up online retail operations for Saks in New York.

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