Accounting firm backs Pilot Flying J numbers [The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn. :: ]
(Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) June 23--Pilot Flying J's auditing work in connection with a fuel rebate scandal has gotten an endorsement from a third party.
Accounting firm Horne LLP, which was hired to double-check Pilot's number-crunching as part of a class-action settlement, has submitted a report which said the Knoxville-based fuel chain's calculations were accurate.
In November, Pilot reached an $85 million settlement with trucking customers who claimed they had been shorted on diesel fuel rebates. Under the settlement, Pilot agreed to repay any amounts owed, plus six percent interest and attorneys' fees.
The settlement, which was approved by a federal judge in Arkansas, included a provision in which Horne would verify the identity of Pilot customers who were owed compensation and the amounts they were owed.
In a court filing, attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case said Horne spent more than 8,000 hours on the project, and found that Pilot "placed a priority on accurate and complete payments" to its customers.
Horne's report said payments to eligible customers totaled more than $68.7 million, including $9.6 million of interest.
The total value of the settlement included $14 million in attorneys' fees --split between nine plaintiffs' firms -- and various costs for administration and notification services.
In an interview, Pilot attorney Aubrey Harwell said that "We are delighted that Horne did such an excellent job, and recognized the commitment of Pilot Flying J to do the right thing by its customers."
Pilot still faces a handful of lawsuits from customers who opted out of the class-action settlement. Pre-trial proceedings in those suits are ongoing before a federal judge in Kentucky.
Ten former Pilot employees have pleaded guilty in a related criminal investigation and are cooperating with federal prosecutors.
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