View Full Version : Trouble in Clowntown? new owner under investigation.

Fire Haley
04-16-2013, 06:50 PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said Tuesday the federal government has launched a criminal investigation into rebates offered by the truck stop chain owned by his family, including his brother, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

Agents from the FBI and Internal Revenue Service raided the Pilot Flying J headquarters in Knoxville on Monday.

Jimmy Haslam, who is the CEO of Pilot Flying J, held a news conference in Knoxville to confirm the investigation is criminal, rather than civil, in nature.

"We don't know a lot. It appears to be centered on a very insufficient number of customers and the application of rebates, that rebates that were owed to the customers were not paid. We of course disagree with that," the CEO said.


Fire Haley
04-16-2013, 07:40 PM
Coming up on 50 years since their last meaningful game in the playoffs in 1964.

I, for one, enjoy their misery and sweet tears of sorrow every year, it's tradition

The Factory of Sadness is at full production

04-17-2013, 12:23 AM
He was once a co-owner of the Steelers.

Fire Haley
04-17-2013, 12:36 AM
He was once a co-owner of the Steelers.

all the more precious, we scraped the shit off our shoes and left in on the Browns porch

04-18-2013, 05:32 PM
FBI investigating his company!


04-18-2013, 08:53 PM
This is just so damned Cleveland sports!!!! They get a former Steeler owner, they are PUMPED. Then...he gets into this?!?!??!?! More coming too...

Hawaii 5-0
04-19-2013, 12:22 AM
Browns owner's company in trouble

Updated: April 19, 2013
ESPN.com news services


According to an FBI agent's affidavit, Browns owner and Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam knew about rebate fraud at the truck stop chain.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A Pilot Flying J employee told investigators that CEO Jimmy Haslam, also the owner of the Cleveland Browns, knew about rebate fraud at the truck stop chain his family owns, according to an FBI affidavit unsealed Thursday.

The 120-page document filed in federal court in Knoxville, where Pilot is based, alleges that members of the company's sales force preyed on smaller trucking companies by reducing the amount of rebates they were owed for buying certain amounts of fuel.

Special Agent Robert H. Root alleged a "conspiracy and scheme to defraud executed by various Pilot employees to deceptively withhold diesel fuel price rebates and discounts from Pilot customers ... for the dual purposes of increasing the profitability of Pilot and increasing the diesel sales commissions of the Pilot employees participating in the fraud."

The affidavit was filed to secure the search warrants used in Monday's raid on the Pilot Flying J headquarters.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam knew of a fraud scheme at his travel center company, according to documents released in federal court on Thursday.

One employee identified only as a confidential source told investigators that the rebate scheme was discussed during sales meetings attended by Haslam and Pilot president Mark Hazelwood.

The informant said the practice was known by a variety of euphemisms ranging from "manual rebates" to "screwing."

Haslam denied wrongdoing in a news conference earlier this week. He said in a statement Thursday that "the foundation of this company is built on its integrity and that any willful wrongdoing by any employee of this company at any time is intolerable."

He said the company would continue to cooperate with authorities and conduct its own investigation.

Informants secretly recorded conversations among Pilot employees holding frank -and often profane -- discussions about the rebate scheme, and agents interviewed current and former members of the sales team.

The investigation began after agents were contacted in May 2011 by a confidential informant who said they had been told about the scheme by a Pilot Flying J employee. The investigation continued through this month. Jimmy Haslam bought the Browns in a $1 billion deal last summer.

Haslam was in Cleveland on Thursday to help prepare for next week's NFL draft. League spokesman Greg Aiello declined to weigh in on whether the investigation would affect Haslam's role as team owner.

"We must respect the process of a federal investigation and decline comment," Aiello wrote in an email.

Pilot Flying J, a privately held company with annual revenues of $29 billion, is the nation's No. 1 retailer of diesel fuel. It is mostly owned by Haslam; his brother, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; their father and company founder, Jim Haslam; and other family members.

When Pilot bought its nearest competitor Flying J out of bankruptcy in 2009, federal trade officials worried the combined entity owned by the powerful Haslam family could corner the market on diesel fuel.

To alleviate "competitive concerns," the Federal Trade Commission in 2010 required Pilot to sell some truck stops to a competitor, Love's, and share its fuel purchase technology before it could merge.

When asked earlier this week whether the probe was related to the FTC's previous concerns about unfair competition, Haslam replied: "We would not think so." An FTC spokesman declined to comment.

According to the IRS, it is common for fuel stops to hand out monthly rebates on purchased fuel. Rebates should be reported as income, as a reduction of expense, or as a reduction to the cost of the new asset.

Not all customers doing business with Pilot are on the rebate program.

Pat Marsh, chairman of Shelbyville, Tenn.-based Big G Express, said his trucking company had a rebate program set up when it was a client with Flying J. Since the Pilot takeover, that system has been replaced with pre-negotiated prices paid at the pump with swipe cards. It tracks the mileage on trucks, the identity of the driver and the amount of fuel purchased

"The more we buy, the cheaper the price is," Marsh, who is also a Republican state representative, said in an interview before the affidavits were released. "We negotiate our price talking to the corporate people and the sales people and by how many gallons we purchase."

Marsh said he was surprised to see the Pilot Flying J headquarters raided.

"We've had nothing but a great relationship with those guys," he said. "They treat us fairly."

Several trucking companies are named in the affidavit as having not received their negotiated rebates from Pilot. None immediately responded to messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

While the federal investigation continues, Browns CEO Joe Banner said Haslam has jumped right back into his football job. Cleveland has the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft.

"This is the first year Jimmy has really owned the team and has the chance to put his imprint on it, so I think he's excited in general," Banner said. "We're glad to have him here. He asks good questions. He's a good asset to have as an owner.

"Jimmy isn't in there, watching film [of potential draft picks], but he's very involved with our entire process."


04-19-2013, 09:10 AM
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam knew of a fraud scheme at his travel center company, according to documents released in federal court on Thursday.

One employee identified only as a confidential source told investigators that the rebate scheme was discussed during sales meetings attended by Haslam and Pilot president Mark Hazelwood.

The informant said the practice was known by a variety of euphemisms ranging from "manual rebates" to "screwing."

Add to this the fraud against Browns' fans expecting a real football team, also referred to as "screwing" in the team meetings, and you have new ownership needed already.

Buddha Bus
04-19-2013, 09:15 AM
Priceless! Just when you think the Browns are poised to finally pull out of their tailspin, another engine blows. :chuckle:

Buddha Bus
04-19-2013, 02:08 PM
NFL isn't planning to ask Browns' Jimmy Haslam to step down
By Ian Rapoport
Reporter, NFL.com and NFL Network
Published: April 19, 2013 at 01:25 p.m.

The NFL plans to allow the FBI and IRS investigations into the businesses run by new Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam to sort itself out before it decides whether it will take any action.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said a report that Haslam might be asked to step down as the investigation into Pilot Flying J continues is inaccurate.

"There are no such plans," Aiello said.

An FBI agent's affidavit, which was unsealed Thursday in federal court in Knoxville, Tenn., alleges that Pilot Flying J -- the truck stop operator owned by the Haslam family -- engaged in a fraud scheme designed to keep money owed to its customers.

According to the documents, multiple current and former employees of the company told authorities that Haslam, who purchased the Browns for $1.05 billion last October, knew of the fraud and was present at meetings where it was discussed. The NFL declined to comment on the matter.

According to The Plain Dealer, Haslam will make a statement from the company's headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., at 4 p.m. ET.

(Read More:) http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000161802/article/nfl-isnt-planning-to-ask-browns-jimmy-haslam-to-step-down

04-19-2013, 02:27 PM
What about the effing shield?

07-02-2013, 10:24 AM
More bad news for Haslam's Pilot Flying J:

Report: Haslam's Pilot Flying J $4 Billion in Debt, Credit Rating Hurt (http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/blog/eye-on-football/22596946/report-haslams-pilot-flying-j-4-billion-in-debt-credit-rating-hurt)

As Browns owner Jimmy Haslam stands by to watch what happens to his Pilot Flying J company -- the FBI investigated its headquarters on the charges that the company had committed rebate fraud to a number of trucking companies, and a number of executives have since pleaded guilty -- he received more bad news last week.

According to the Wall Street Journal, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Pilot Flying J has about $4 billion worth of debt and its credit rating has been downgraded by the S&P, which called the financial risk “significant.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in April that “Jimmy is doing everything he's asked. He's cooperating. He wants to make sure that he is doing all of the right things in that regard and he has assured us that he is going to [do all of the right things].”

The league also said at the time that it has no plans to remove Haslam from his Browns ownership post. But Haslam hasn't made much good news since he paid about $1 billion, including $700 million up front, to buy the Browns last October.

More from the Plain Dealer:

But of even more concern about Haslam's future with the Browns was contained in a story in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal:

"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.

"Last year, Pilot issued $1.1 billion of the debt -- largely to fund the second one, a dividend for $700 million, according to S&P. That was partly so Jimmy could buy the Cleveland Browns."

So Pilot Flying J was $4 billion in debt before the FBI raid?

Apparently so.

We don't know yet if Haslam knew about this alleged fraud -- he said he didn't, but the continued tally of those executives who are pleading guilty make his arguments a little tougher to take -- but you can be sure that if he is implicated, his tenure as an NFL owner will be very short indeed.

The Los Angeles Browns? The Toronto Browns? Any takers?

"In every country they make fun of a particular city. When I was in Russia, for example, we used to make fun of Cleveland." -Yakov Smirnoff