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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Weeks since its headquarters was raided by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service in search of evidence of alleged rebate fraud and it began facing multiple lawsuits, Pilot Flying J has received public support in the form of a full-page newspaper advertisement, according to a WBIR-TV 10 report.
Fellow east Tennessee company The Massey Group took out the advertisement in the May 12 edition of the Knoxville News Sentinel thanking Pilot, its CEO Jimmy Haslam and his family.
The ad reads in part, "Thank you to the Haslam family for the many years of support for Knoxville and East Tennessee...Please know that you have the appreciation of the community to which you have contributed so much." It also lists companies and individuals who support the Haslam family, including Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero.
The ad is not in response to the federal investigation into Pilot Flying J, according to The Massey Group. "If this city ever had a family that we owe appreciation to, it's the Haslams," stated the company's CEO Randy Massey. He added that its message is meant to show the Haslam family appreciation for its help shaping the community.
"If you look at the great families that have made this a great community, we have a lot of things that communities our size don't have and a great deal of that is due to the Haslams," Massey said. "And I said, on Mother's Day, I think I would like to put an ad in that just said to the Haslams, 'Thank you very much. How can we thank you enough for what you've done to our community?'"
Pilot Flying J is a family-owned business that operates more than 650 retail locations and is the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America.