Oct 3, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam on the sidelines during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Jimmy Haslam & His Company Reach “Agreement” with FBI


As the Cleveland Browns prepare to start Training Camp it looks like one of their off the field sagas is coming to an end. Yes Johnny Manziel will probably tone down his off the field fun very soon. Yes we expect some decision on Josh Gordon‘s future, specifically for this season, soon as well. But that is not the saga that looks to be coming to an end (A ton of drama for one team huh?). Jimmy Haslam and his company Pilot/Flying J are reportedly in “Agreement” with the FBI to resolve the issues that have haunted the company since last year.

You will remember that the FBI raided his companies headquarters the same day of the Boston Marathon bombing. At first there was some concern that the two events were connected as no information came out from Tennessee during the lockdown. Since then we have learned that Haslam’s company had been practicing poor business practices to get more money out of trucking companies from their “Rebate” system.

Since then the company has done its best to come to agreements with the companies directly impacted by the fraudulent system and seem to have completed that process. Yet at the same time many of the executives, but not Haslam himself, had their day in court and were sentenced for their part. The last remaining pieces remained Haslam himself and the company in general. Today’s report seems to say that Haslam and his company are off the hook from the legal side of things.

Current reports are that the company will have to pay close to $100 million dollars over a two year period and cooperate with the investigation. The “understanding” seems to mean that Haslam won’t be prosecuted for any possible involvement and the Browns owner can now move on. If you have seen “Wolf of Wall Street” or even “American Hustle” you understand that this is often how things work. (Those are not movie recommendations by the way.)

For the Browns this is very important. While this would be true for any team, the Browns in particular are set up in a way that the owner’s responsibilities are vital. Head Coach Mike Pettine reports directly to Haslam, as does GM Ray Farmer and CEO Alec Scheiner. Any time away from the team for a trial or worse yet prison time would of caused a disturbance in the chain of command.

What do you think of the whole ordeal now that this saga seems to be coming to an end?

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Tags: Cleveland Browns Jimmy Haslam

  • Sam Gold

    Wow, amazing string of good news events for Cleveland sports. Certainly feels like a momentum shift to me.

    • Jared Mueller

      Very much so. Selfishly I want Gordon’s suspension overturned just to finish it off but I don’t think that is in his best interest. Hopefully an 8 to 12 gamer so he can still be at TC and with the team some.

      • Sam Gold

        I read somewhere that if JG does play a few games this year then this entire year counts against his contract. If we hope to help him rehab and remain with the team well into the future (if not the Browns then no one!) then I think it actually makes more sense for the team that he be out for the entire year. He would return next year, assuming he’s reinstated, with two years remaining rather than one if he plays a partial season this year.

        • Jared Mueller

          Sam. It is an interesting question. I know in the past with holdouts players would make sure to play a certain number of games, 10 I think to accrue a season. According this this link, http://in2theleague.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/nfl-cba-series-credited-vs-accrued-seasons/, a player now accrues a season by playing 3 or more games. Didn’t have time today to research further but this does talk about players suspended don’t count. My biggest worry is him having ZERO accountability from time of suspension for at least a year. The Browns can’t contact him and vice versa for anything.

          • Sam Gold

            Totally agree. That is a HUGE mistake in the CBA, especially as JG has shown he functions much better under the structure of the season schedule and concurrent team support. Left to his own devices seems almost a certain recipe for failure. Jacksonville has to be wondering what Blackmon is up to.

  • davewr58

    I don’t think the FBI had enough evidence to convict Haslam and that is why they agreed to the settlement. From Haslam’s point of view, he was willing to pay the fine to get all of the negative publicity off the front pages of newspapers and sports websites. Both sides had something to gain from the settlement.

  • Joe

    Relief from this nagging worry is welcome.
    Things are looking great for Cleveland sports at the moment.
    If the kids can just stay out of trouble for a few weeks…

  • Jerry Desaulniers

    And the storm clouds blow away!

  • glennantz

    Hi Jared. Good article. What caught my eye is the comments about Josh Gordon. Maybe it is time for people to step in and ask the NFL and the CBA why?? You being a professional councilor might help. If enough people speak up maybe something can be done. Perhaps some kind of a “waiver” make a test case out of JG, if he agrees to it. The comment by Sam Gold summed it up perfectly, a recipe for failure. As one of many fans of the NFL, we ask ourselves why the NFL would make it as difficult as possible to help someone. Perhaps a petition of some kind, sent to the NFL and the people in the NFL players association with much fan fair. This comment is certainly born out of frustration to say the least. I guess I just don’t like seeing the wasted potential of someone go to waste. In almost any other business, help is there for those who want it. One thing the NFL definitely does not like is bad press. Maybe its time they get some.

    • Jared Mueller

      Thanks Glenn. I actually have sent tweets to Goodell but have planned to send a letter as well as soon as possible. It has to be what is best for the player not just what the league wants to do. Just doing something because that is how it has always been done is a poor idea in almost every business. Recreational drugs are just that, recreational. Don’t give the player more rec time, give them more responsibility time.

      • glennantz

        Good point Jared. Before I retired, I worked in manufacturing. Every time I herd from someone the line “we have been doing it that way for 20 years” it usually meant they were out of business. Sports in general I think needs to change the way they approach the drug problem. Maybe you will have some small level of success and start the ball rolling.

  • jay jay

    so the owner is a cheat…cheating his employees out of millions…i guess he won’t be lecturing manziel on off the field actions any time soon…..