The FBI, IRS and Knoxville Police Department conducted a raid at Pilot Flying J Headquarters off Lonas Drive in West Knoxville Monday.
The FBI and IRS are not releasing details as to exactly why they were on the property of the company, which had $29 billion in revenue 2012.
According to Marshal Stone, Chief Division Council with the FBI's Knoxville office, it is an ongoing investigation involving the FBI and the IRS. He said they cannot comment on the nature of the investigation.
Stone also said the facility is continuing to operate, and to his knowledge, nothing the FBI has done will prevent the company from continuing to operate on Tuesday.
Jimmy Haslam, Pilot Flying J CEO, sent letters to company employees on Tuesday.
Letter to Headquarter's Team Members:
First, let me apologize to you for the unexpected disruption of our workplace Monday. Please be assured that you will be compensated for the full day.
You know by now that our company is the subject of a federal investigation. We are cooperating appropriately with any and all external investigations and conducting our own.
We believe and trust there has been no wrongdoing. We will keep you informed, and I encourage you to rely on that information rather than random news reports and gossip that is surely to follow.
Our most important response now is to stay focused on our job supporting our 650 travel centers. I appreciate every one of you for your hard work, your professionalism and for being part of the Pilot/Flying J family.
Letter to Field Team Members:
You may know by now that our company is the subject of a federal investigation.
We are cooperating fully with any and all external investigations and conducting our own. We believe and trust there has been no wrongdoing.
In the meantime, as always, the customer comes first. You are our front line, and it is important that you continue business as usual - stay focused and do your job.
We will keep you informed. I would encourage you to rely on that information rather than random news reports and gossip that is surely to follow.
Haslam released the following statement Monday:
"The FBI secured our headquarters today and informed us they are investigating Pilot/Flying J. We will cooperate appropriately with any and all external investigations and conduct our own. I believe and trust there has been no wrongdoing. The integrity of our company always has been job number one."
Pilot Flying J also released the following statement Monday afternoon:
As of the afternoon of April 15, FBI officials have sequestered the Pilot Flying J headquarters on Lonas Drive in Knoxville.
At this time, we do not know the nature of the situation. Pilot Flying J is cooperating fully with the authorities.
Pilot Food Marts, Pilot Travel Centers and Flying J Travel Plazas remain open and continue to serve the public.
Pilot Flying J is confident that the matter will be resolved fully.
Pilot was founded in 1958 by Jim Haslam. His son, Jimmy, runs the company now. Governor Bill Haslam, another son, resigned from the company to become Mayor of Knoxville then Governor of Tennessee.
This is not the first time Pilot has come under the government's microscope. Four years ago, Pilot settled a price gouging suit brought by Tennessee's Attorney General. Pilot settled similar suits in Georgia and Kentucky.