Mon
Jul 1 2013
09:41 am

The Tennessean reports via WBIR that the Haslam administration has been bragging about paying lower incentives than previous administrations, just as a $30 million payoff to Eastman Chemical was revealed that works out to $100,000 per job. This is despite the fact that they have paid nearly $350,000 in fines since 2009 for various environmental violations.

The company was threatening (blackmailing) the state saying they would do a planned expansion somewhere else if they didn't get the money. According to the article, Tom Ingram's company represents Eastman.

In other news, Tom Humphrey reports that "The Chicago-based company that holds a controversial multimillion-dollar contract to manage state government buildings and leases has hired a lobbyist who formerly worked for House Speaker Beth Harwell and the state Republican Party."

Tom Humphrey also reports that the Haslams are the 1% of the 1% when it comes to political spending. The money quote is Jim Haslam saying they aren't contributions, they're "investments."

PREVIOUSLY:
Haslam state building management deal under scrutiny
Republican legislator questions "squirrely" state contract awards
Speaking of Gov. Haslam and his wealthy pals...

Topics:
45
like
Andy Axel's picture

That isn't graft! It's

That isn't graft! It's gratuities!

Those aren't bribes! They're incentives!

Those aren't kickbacks! They're rebates!

Elwood Aspermonte's picture

Tom Ingram fatigue has officially set in Republican circles

In my opinion, this guy has ridden this money waggon for all that its worth and now it is beginning to smack of cronyism, graft, hidden kickbacks, quid pro quo, as too many Republican/Knoxville businesses/spin shops/lobbyists with empty pockets are getting left out of the gravey train and are just fighting over the scraps left over.

Time for the Haslam family to wake up and realize the Haslam fatigue is just around the corner in all circles unless they can start acting like they give a damn about something other than friends and family.

Millions in the bank cannot by credibility.

Millions in the bank won't guarantee a not guilty verdict.

Average Guy's picture

JOB CREATORS!

Disciples of Trickle Down do believe they’re on the righteous path. They are the good-doers, the “Great Americans”.

If they have to hookup their friends so that others can have a job, so be it.

GOP’ers are often true believers in their stated ideals and slogans.

The Guvnah’s brother and pop liked to repeat Pilot Flying J’s value number 1; “Do the right thing all the time.”

Second value?

“Fuck 'em early and fuck 'em often..”

There may come a time where the Republican serfs come to understand what their leaders say behind closed doors is much more the reality than what they say publicly, but not sure we’re there yet.

But I think you’re right about the fatigue.

KenJo's picture

Servant-Leadership on Trial in Tennesee

Yes, they believe in their own righteousness. Rules intended to restrain Democrats and heathens shouldn't be allowed to slow down Doug Coe's Christian business mafia.

KenJo's picture

Servant-Leadership on Trial in Tennesee

Yes, they believe in their own righteousness. Rules intended to restrain Democrats and heathens shouldn't be allowed to slow down Doug Coe's Christian business mafia.

KenJo's picture

Ingram has lost his touch

In his prime, Tommy was a magician who could make people believe that the feckless fool Lamar! and lazy oaf Fred Thompson were worthy succesors to Howard Baker.

Now his marquee business client is antagonizing the federal prosecutor and his governor has popped off at the press.

Knox Bird's picture

So how did Haslam find a

So how did Haslam find a moderate path with good centrist policies and no scandals as mayor and descend into this mess as Governor. Well try putting a pure operative like Ingram in the Nashville mix and this is what you get. Bill Lyons was over policy and communications for him in Knoxville and way too friendly with progressives and gays and way too much into open process. That was fine here but he was never going to fly with the statewide GOP tea party crowd. How's this working out for the Governor.

Rachel's picture

Bill Lyons was over policy

Bill Lyons was over policy and communications for him in Knoxville and way too friendly with progressives and gays and way too much into open process.

I can't tell if you mean that as a compliment or a complaint.

I suggest Bill take it as a compliment.

fischbobber's picture

The real story

The real story that hasn't been written is a comparison of Pilot's business practices to the Governors operation of the state. Governor Haslam does not appear to have any regard for the rule of law or individual ethics when it comes to the operation of state government. One has to go back to Ray Blanton to explore this level of corruption in the Governors office.

Is Bill Haslam powerful enough to avoid jail time for any potential crimes he's committing with regards to appointing judges and paybacks to cronies with government monies?

Stay tuned for dropping waste hitting the old oscillating device.

KO's picture

anyone seen this?

Sarge's picture

Yep, I just finished reading

Yep, I just finished reading this article on CNN Sports, can't wait until the KNS publishes a reprint.

AnonymousOne's picture

can't wait until the KNS

can't wait until the KNS publishes a reprint."

Is that sarcasm?

Average Guy's picture

From the article:

The company's debt nearly doubled to $4 billion in a two-year period through last year, as its owners paid themselves two payments totaling $1.7 billion from it, according to Moody's.

Despite his company's financial issues, Haslam doesn't seem to believe that he will be crippled by the debt, reportedly claiming that the debt can be paid down quickly. 

Hmm. I wonder if if the debt will be quickly paid down by ownership reinvestment of the $1.7 billion or staff reductions and store closings?

Andy Axel's picture

Let me look at that

Let me look at that again...

...its owners paid themselves two payments totaling $1.7 billion...

"Owners." Plural.

I'm curious now as to how those funds were disbursed.

EconGal's picture

a matter of cash flow and perspective

Almost a billion dollars of that $4 billion in debt is in trade payables, which PFJ pays off every 7 days.

If the company generates cash flow of 10 percent of its sales, it has $2.9 billion of available cash to service debt. If it pays 7% interest on ALL of the debt (which is an obnoxiously high figure) their annual interest expense is less than $300 million.

That gives them a coverage ratio of about 10 times.

For comparison: a typical mortgage lender would require a homeowner to have an equivalent coverage ratio of only 1 to 2 times free cash flow, depending on the nature of the borrower's other living expenses.(The homeowner's calculation would include, however, amortization of the principal, which this PFJ example does not.)

R. Neal's picture

Not to defend Pilot, but was

Not to defend Pilot, but was going to mention that the $4 billion figure is sort of meaningless without context and without being able to look at their books because they're a private company.

(Maybe they will be Exhibit A at some point and we will get a look?)

Lots of big companies have lots of debt. Especially companies that have to make big capital investments in things like commercial real estate and truck stops.

Also, we don't know how much cash and other liquid assets they have. (But thanks for the lesson on free cash flow v. debt.)

As for the borrowing to pay dividends, a lot of big companies are doing that these days for various reasons that don't make sense to me (unless some of the money is somehow offshore - CVC equity stake? - in which case the taxes to repatriate it could be a lot more than the interest as in the case of Apple). I guess with money being so cheap, why not? Except it dilutes future earnings.

The debt downgrade is more curious. I guess the rating agencies get to see their books. But you also have to wonder if it's connected to the FBI investigation, lawsuits, and/or all the other distractions like owning an NFL team.

But I don't really know much about any of this stuff, so all of that could be completely off base.

Average Guy's picture

The downgrade

I would hope Moody's knows what EconGal knows (or maybe not :-).

If they do, and Pilot is still on historical margins, the downgrade is curious.

Roscoe Persimmon's picture

FTC/IRS/FBI may request divestiture of stores along the way

In my opinion, if the federal government is considering the propensity of a larger nationwide corporation to prey on smaller businesses and consumers from time to time, they can request diverstiture of a number of stores in their negotiations of a final settlement of any pending criminal case against the involved company.

To conclude Pilot Travel Center's situation, the feds may ask them to sell a number of stores to create better competition among the over the road diesel fuel retailers. Of course, if there are other anticompetitive practices potentially antitrust concerns, the feds can ask a federal judge to force the same of some/part/portion of the business under the Sherman Act.

AnonymousOne's picture

It's kind of funny isn't it

It's kind of funny isn't it that a governor who started off by giving his executives a substtantial increase in salary wants to privatize more of state government.

If that's going to be the case, why increase, ever, the executive salaries, if not simplly cronyism?

Lisa Starbuck's picture

Best comment

partybuddha
I'm starting to think Jimmy Halsam was planted by the Steelers.

Elwood Aspermonte's picture

I'm convinced Lyon's View was closed to keep the traffic down

in front of Jimmy Haslam's enclave there overlooking the river, allowing him the solitude to drive in and out without the gawkers, lookers, and general curious oddballs all around while the business his daddy built goes through the federal grinder and the family's ownership of the Cleveland Browns is evaluated day in and day out.

michael kaplan's picture

sell it off for condos

sell it off for condos

AnonymousOne's picture

Thank God for the Tennessean.

Thank God for the Tennessean. Don't know what we'd do w/out online papers.

KenJo's picture

WTVF Nashville Coverage of Charming Billy

Phil Williams and his "Channel 5 Investigates" crew have been hammering the Haslam administration for a couple of months.

(link...)

They've posted 62 emails pertaining to JLL:

(link...)

Min's picture

I have a question.

Is Phil Williams the only investigative reporter left in Tennessee?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

For now, maybe--but I had wondered if possibly WBIR intends to give Mike Donilla that same charge?

AnonymousOne's picture

They're all too close to the

They're all too close to the story's subject in Knoxville. No news organization in Knoxville will lead on anything on this.

fischbobber's picture

Sources

You can't just invent a story and run with it. Unless one is speculating and opining and admitting to doing so, a story must be sourced. My cousin's stepmother's aunt heard from her hairdresser who used to know Big Jim's housekeeper doesn't count.

On one level, this is a fairly straightforward case of sales fraud, on another, when one considers the players and their relationship with each other, the company and the voters of this state, there's really no telling what is going on and how far-reaching it is.

What is clear is that powerful people in this town and state are in this mess up to their eyeballs. Would you want to be even a background source, knowing that whatever information you would give would come back to you? Is telling a simple truth, a seemingly minute detail worth risking yourself and your livelihood should someone recognize where this factoid came from?

That's the problem in reporting this story.

When one starts putting all the facts and factors of the Haslam regime on the table and begins trying to put the pieces together to figure out, both from PFJ and the executive branch of the state government, what is truly going on, the emerging picture is quickly turning ugly.

My guess is that everyone's working on it, everyone wants to be the one that breaks it, but everyone realizes that this is a high stakes game, a higher stakes game than even the Butcher empire, and secretly or not, there are some media players in this town that would probably just as soon let someone else take the risk of breaking the wrong story.

This is a big deal.

AnonymousOne's picture

"My guess is that everyone's

"My guess is that everyone's working on it, everyone wants to be the one that breaks it, but everyone realizes that this is a high stakes game, a higher stakes game than even the Butcher empire, and secretly or not, there are some media players in this town that would probably just as soon let someone else take the risk of breaking the wrong story."

I think that's partly right. Local media doesn't want to touch this with a 10 ft pole, and would rather let The Tennessean or Plains-Dealer carry the ball.

Plus, there's the thought if or when the Haslam credibility is shot , Knoxville will be their last refuge, where they will be able to operate as before, and still be a force to be reckoned with.

Bbeanster's picture

Is Phil Williams the only

Is Phil Williams the only investigative reporter left in Tennessee?

Pretty much.

R. Neal's picture

Governor Grapples With Pilot

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is used to make sure you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.

TN Progressive

TN Politics

Local Media Blogs

Shopper Columns

Local News

News Sentinel

State News

Wire Reports

Site Statistics

Last 7 days:
  • Posts: 31
  • Comments: 494
  • Visits: 10,417
  • Pageviews: 29,617
Last 30 days:
  • Posts: 112
  • Comments: 1174
  • Visits: 38,414
  • Pageviews: 89,822