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Haslam claims he had no knowledge of rebate fraud


During last night’s edition of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart essentially put President Obama in one of two categories as it relates to the unfolding IRS scandal:  Nixon or Magoo.

Under that comparison, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has opted for Magoo when it comes to the allegedly widespread customer fraud that occurred on his watch at Pilot Flying J, the family-founded truck-stop company Haslam runs.

At a trucking-company seminar in Indianapolis, Haslam said he had no knowledge of any inappropriate conduct.  In so doing, he nudged any truck-stop company employees who were involved in the scandal even closer to the undercarriage of the bus.

Absolutely not. I will say absolutely not,” Haslam said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  “I was not aware of any of this.”

Haslam also expressed yet another apology, which makes it increasingly harder to argue that nothing bad or illegal happened.

“I apologize for the actions of our people,” Haslam said.  “And I want to look everyone in the eye and say we’ll do everything we can to make things right.”

“Unfortunately, there were some things that happened a couple of levels below me,” Haslam conceded during an interview after his presentation.  “It’s a blip.  It may be a substantial blip.”

That’s a far different song from the one Haslam sang exactly one month ago today, when he brushed the situation off as involving “a very insignificant number of customers.”

“In no way, shape or form does it affect my ownership of the Browns,” Haslam reiterated on Thursday.  It’s hard not to wonder whether Haslam will be singing a far different song in one month, two months, or more — especially if the employees he’s blaming for the behavior eventually try to pin it on Haslam.

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32 Responses to “Haslam claims he had no knowledge of rebate fraud”
  1. evilglazers666 says: May 16, 2013 9:48 AM

    No point of owning the Browns from prison buddy.

  2. Max says: May 16, 2013 9:50 AM

    And Bill Belichick had no idea that his assistants were video taping signals in spygate. What else is new, they show little respect for public intelligence, expect the masses to believe their incredible tales.

  3. blitzdorsey1 says: May 16, 2013 9:52 AM

    He comes across as a huge liar. No way he didn’t know. The FBI says he was a part of multiple meetings where the fraud was discussed.

    Must be fun being a Browns fan.

  4. gdeli says: May 16, 2013 9:53 AM

    using too many rebate slips from menards huh? haha

  5. jimmyt says: May 16, 2013 9:54 AM

    Right, and Obama and Holder knew nothing about the IRS and DOJ scandals.

  6. clownsfan says: May 16, 2013 9:56 AM

    Did anybody think he was gonna cop to it?

  7. mgiang87 says: May 16, 2013 9:59 AM

    Looks like Mr. Haslam has learned a lot from Barrack Obama and the IRS scandal. Step 1: deny involvement. Step 2: find scapegoat.

  8. jackblackshairyback says: May 16, 2013 10:01 AM

    A few things to consider here.

    1. PFJ has 5000- wholesale diesel customers, the number of customers that were shorted, according to Haslam today, is 250. That’s 5%.

    2. According to the taped conversations that were released, the sales staffers doing the manual rebates picked on “unsophisticated” customers, which makes it sound like they were mainly smaller companies.

    3. Haslam said PFJ sales are down 3% since all this cane out.

    It sounds like PFJ and Haslam will be ok financially. The question will be if Haslam is indicted. But you have to think his lawyer has already reached out to the feds and asked ” How can we make this go away?” which could be why he’s trying to make restitution now.

  9. blantoncollier says: May 16, 2013 10:02 AM

    The FBI and IRS do not make joint PUBLIC raids unless they are 100% confident they will find what they are looking for. That’s not how they operate. Especially when the business is owned by the family of a sitting Governor. Lets throw in that a US Senator is best friends with the family. They just aren’t going to make that error. They want their winning percentage to be high just like NFL owners want theirs higher.

    If the other owners in the NFL feel that Jimmy’s finances are being harmed by this criminal investigation and it is causing harm to their pocketbooks, then they are going to act to protect their interests including finding the next owner of the Cleveland Browns.

  10. bobby2478 says: May 16, 2013 10:07 AM

    To the victor goes the spoils.

    If Haslam gets all the recognition and reward when things go right under his watch, then he also has to own up to and accept responsibility for any shortcomings on his watch.

    Whether it happened below him or not is irrelevant. When things go well, it is mostly due to the hard work of the people underneath him. He can’t take all the credit when things are good, then deflect all the blame when things go wrong.

    He’s the CEO. The “buck” stops with him, and he is accountable for all the shortcomings within his company.

  11. 513guy says: May 16, 2013 10:12 AM

    Does anyone in Cleveland have any knowledge of anything?

  12. codenamez says: May 16, 2013 10:13 AM

    What sort of insane floodgates have you opened for this comment section by bringing up politics?

  13. harrisonhits2 says: May 16, 2013 10:15 AM

    Biilonaire opens his mouth, lies come out. Hopefully he’ll spend a few years in jail for this.

  14. scottplayersfacemask says: May 16, 2013 10:18 AM

    Assuming he has some of the best attorneys money can buy, you don’t make bold statements like that unless it’s either true or he’s 100% certain it could never be proven. Based on that recorded conversation of his guilty employee I thought for sure Haslam was in it knee deep. We shall see.

  15. tinbender2000 says: May 16, 2013 10:20 AM

    He better hope his pants aren’t polyester, that stuff hurts when it melts.

  16. paulbrown46 says: May 16, 2013 10:24 AM

    Jimmy, are you getting no advice from legal counsel, bad advice or simply ignoring advice? You should just shut up. You probably think that you are in damage control, but you are actually practicing damage augmentation. The reason that the FBI unsealed the affidavit is probably because you made statements down-playing a Federal investigation. The information in the affidavit gave trucking companies a jump-start on filing civil suits. Now you are attempting to place criminal blame on subordinates, which might lead them to turn state’s evidence. I hope that you were not aware of the alleged fraud. Regardless, you should just shut your mouth.

  17. niner13 says: May 16, 2013 11:07 AM

    Full rebates and free grits for a year.

  18. farrisboy says: May 16, 2013 11:09 AM

    First of all I agree. You can’t be at the top of the food chain and plea I didn’t know anything about it.

    Haslam is just lucky he doesn’t own the Redskins. Florio would be up his butt for criminal acts AND political incorrectness.

  19. peterb21 says: May 16, 2013 11:35 AM

    OK, Underlings were shorting customers rebates? Were these underlings pocketing the money or was it going into the Pilot Flying J coiffers. If underlings were pocketing the chedda Haslem would have an arguement, BUT if the $$ was going into FJ profit margins..Well Jimmy boy..Your hit.

  20. CKL says: May 16, 2013 12:12 PM

    One reason the boss makes the big bucks is supposedly that he bears the blame and has some credit for things that happen at his company. Leaders never ever pawn that off on their employees publicly, ever. Even if it’s true. I thought he seemed like a straightforward honest guy , but I have lost all respect for him just from that statement publicly blaming “people below him”.

  21. navyeoddavee9 says: May 16, 2013 12:15 PM

    Don’t matter, he’s the boss, he’s responsible, even if he didn’t know, but I find it very hard to believe, he had no knowledge

  22. oldbrowndawg says: May 16, 2013 12:23 PM

    Gee, would the IRS go after a guy who’s related to the conservative Republican Governor of the State of Tennessee? Based on what we’re seeing on our TV screens daily, I’d say “Nah, not a chance.” RIGHT!

    Florio seems to care more about stirring up stuff than he is reporting on what’s happening in the NFL on the field. Maybe he should just stick to reporting what’s going on as to the teams and their players and leave the politics alone.

  23. tsizzlesucks says: May 16, 2013 12:32 PM

    This guy’s obviously been watching Osama Obama way too much. He’s getting the lying thing down pat!

  24. mullman76 says: May 16, 2013 1:06 PM

    Incompetent or corrupt.

    Pick one.

  25. ohiogator says: May 16, 2013 1:11 PM

    I tend to believe him. Why would he come out like he is. Unless I hear a taped conversation with some kind of wrongdoing I’m pleading the fifth.

  26. jackblackshairyback says: May 16, 2013 1:26 PM

    paulbrown46 says:
    May 16, 2013 10:24 AM
    Jimmy, are you getting no advice from legal counsel, bad advice or simply ignoring advice?————————————————————

    The questions he took were pre-screened by his lawyer.

  27. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: May 16, 2013 1:42 PM

    mullman76 says:May 16, 2013 1:06 PM

    Incompetent or corrupt.

    Pick one.

    The American people picked both.

  28. rcali says: May 16, 2013 1:48 PM

    Wait, did he just call us all stupid? Yep, he did. He’ll buy his way out of most of it, sadly.

  29. brownsfanincali says: May 16, 2013 1:57 PM

    ohiogator says:
    May 16, 2013 1:11 PM
    I tend to believe him. Why would he come out like he is. Unless I hear a taped conversation with some kind of wrongdoing I’m pleading the fifth.

    You will, count on it…. Betting that the FBI affidavit is just the tip of the iceberg. The Browns need to be owned and operated by NE Ohio community, like the Packers are in Wisconsin. Browns fans have suffered enough at the hands of their ” owners “. This team should be run by those who cherish it and see it as more than a revenue stream.

  30. seanb20124 says: May 16, 2013 6:50 PM

    Needs to hire Jay Carney for spin

  31. snakeman40 says: May 16, 2013 9:09 PM

    blitzdorsey1 says:
    May 16, 2013 9:52 AM

    “Must be fun being a Browns fan.”

    Believe me, Blitz, it ain’t!

  32. nananatman says: May 16, 2013 11:04 PM

    Just when you think things might go right for the browns:(

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