Judge: Former chain exec used racial epithets in recording

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A federal judge says the former president of the truck stop chain Pilot Flying J disparaged black people, women and the city of Cleveland in secret recordings that have been kept under seal in his fraud trial.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier said Thursday that Mark Hazelwood used "vile, despicable, inflammatory racial epithets," and disparaged Cleveland and its football team. Pilot Flying J is controlled by the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

The company issued a statement calling the behavior in the recordings "not acceptable, tolerated or reflective" of its values.

Collier has recessed the trial of the chain's former executives and sales representatives until January.

Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

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