Haslam denies knowledge of rebate fraud, insists FBI probe won’t affect Browns

News Channel 5’s Ron Regan reports that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has denied any knowledge of the rebate fraud which has led to an ongoing investigation by the FBI. Haslam spoke to trucking industry leaders on Thursday at a conference in Indianapolis.

“Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam told trucking industry leaders Thursday in Indianapolis that he knew nothing about nor did he participate in an alleged fuel-rebate fraud,” write Regan.

In addition, Haslam said he doesn’t believe that the FBI investigation will affect his ownership of the Browns at all. Perhaps this statement was in response to several reports that other NFL owners are concerned that the lawsuits connected to this case could drain Haslam of his ability to effectively finance and operate the Browns.

Haslam and his Pilot/Flying J staff continue to try and settle discrepancies between his truck stops and the trucking companies that were shorted in the rebate scandal. To date seven trucking companies have filed lawsuits against Pilot.

[Related: Podcast: Pat McManamon talks Browns, new media and Fox Sports Ohio]

  • MSkog

    There seems to be a lot of hand wringing about this in the media and amongst the fans. I think some of the worry is in the wrong area. The civil suits, Freeh hiring, restitutions – those Haslam can handle. It just money and from what I can figure out, not a huge amount of money. Focusing on this aspect of the case as a concern for Browns fans is misplaced.

    No, what Jimmy Haslam has to worry about is getting personally indicted by the Feds. If that happens, oh boy, JH3 is in serious trouble. Not only is there the potential to go to jail, an indictment will force the NFL to act.

    If Haslam avoids indictment I think he skates with some financial losses but that’s about it.

  • Garry_Owen

    Denying knowledge of wrongdoing by others in your organization is in high fashion these days.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I hope Joe Banner is paying attention because if things go south he’s clearly the “fall guy!”

  • MallaLubba

    Rule #1: Deny. Deny. Deny.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Translation: “I’ve got more money than God and some really good lawyers. This will all go away in good time. Don’t worry about it.”

  • I agree with your main points. But I hope that if he’s indicted, it doesn’t force the NFL’s hand. An indictment is still just an accusation and not a conviction. I hope that it would take nothing less than a conviction to pry the Browns from him cold dead hands.

  • Wow

    the guy really should stop talking already

  • Drew

    Sounds like Obama, I don’t know anything!!!

  • imo, money is the more likely problem for haslam, not indictment.

    and not the dollar amounts on the rebate scam either. it’s the moody’s investigation. haslam has 4billion in debt, 800million in a revolver account to keep PFJ operating.

    when he goes back to refresh those loans, and if PFJ’s moodys rating has been downgraded, it’s going to cost him a lot more to carry that 4B. if he’s operating PFJ on a thin margin (and he seems to be), he could get in a liquidity crunch which is the same issue that brought down modell.

    here’s a piece i did on it a couple weeks ago.