Forbes Magazine says Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is now the country's richest elected official, citing a rush to the pumps at the family-owned Pilot Flying J truck stop chain due to tumbling fuel prices.
According to Forbes, Haslam's net worth has more than doubled since August from $980 million to $2 billion.
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Haslam has steadfastly refused to publicly disclose his earnings from Pilot, arguing that it would divulge the income of family members who aren't in public office. But the wealth of the Haslam family was illustrated when the governor's brother, Jimmy, bought the NFL's Cleveland Browns for $1 billion in 2012.
Gov. Haslam said Wednesday that he has "no idea" where Forbes gets its information.
"I've made a practice of never commenting on personal financial information," Haslam said after an event related to the Insure Tennessee plan in Memphis. "I don't think it's what the people of Tennessee care about and I'm going to do my job."
The family business last year agreed to pay a $92 million penalty for cheating customers out of rebates and discounts. In return, federal attorneys agreed not to prosecute Pilot Flying J as long as the company meets certain conditions. Both Jimmy Haslam, who runs Pilot, and the governor denied any knowledge of the scheme.
Forbes estimates Jimmy Haslam's worth at $2.9 billion. Pilot's annual sales were $38 billion, and the company's trailing 12-month operating income grew from $1.1 billion in August to $1.4 billion.