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Haslam’s high-wire routine takes on higher stakes

Jimmy Haslam AP

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has been engaged for more than a month in the intricate task of saying enough to protect and advance his business interests, but not saying things that would undermine and jeopardize his legal interests.

That balancing act entered a new frontier on Tuesday, when Haslam addressed his fellow owners at the quarterly meetings in Boston.

As Gantt pointed out, Haslam also offered to provide private explanations to any owner who wants more than the five-minute presentation Haslam made to the full league ownership.

Before any owner takes him up on that offer, the owner needs to consider the possibility of becoming a potential witness, at some point down the road.  Since no one outside of federal law enforcement currently knows the contents of files and computers seized last month at Pilot Flying J headquarters or communications secretly recorded by a company employee that weren’t included in the 120-page affidavit in support of the issuance of the search warrant, it’s unknown whether the Justice Department has or will have enough evidence to target Haslam personally.  If Haslam is indicted, anything Haslam has said to anyone — including privately to other owners — can be used against him.

This means that other owners could find themselves being interviewed by federal prosecutors and, possibly, being subpoenaed to testify.

The chances of that happening are slim, but the lawyers currently on retainer for Haslam and the other 31 owners are compensated handsomely to keep an eye on every possible worst-case scenario.

Thus, if Haslam wants to keep his fellow owners out of this mess, he’ll not make good on the offer to provide private explanations.  And if his fellow owners want to stay out of this mess, they won’t accept.

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10 Responses to “Haslam’s high-wire routine takes on higher stakes”
  1. allnflfan says: May 22, 2013 9:36 AM

    Can someone please explain in 10 words or less what this richie is accused of? I don’t care enough about him to waste any more time reading about it in detail. Thanks in advance!

  2. 6ball says: May 22, 2013 9:36 AM

    .

    It’s hard to believe that a scam involving so much money was unknown to those at the top.

    .

  3. officialgame says: May 22, 2013 10:10 AM

    If I’m another owner I am keeping my distance. Who needs the hassle?

  4. nfloracle says: May 22, 2013 10:25 AM

    Hey, these billionaires know how to keep an arm’s length from the slammer. You don’t need to warn or worry about any of those money suckers. First and foremost, they know how to look out for Number One.

  5. benning89 says: May 22, 2013 12:27 PM

    Jason Campbell = Your starting QB

  6. NoHomeTeam says: May 22, 2013 12:35 PM

    allnflfan says:
    May 22, 2013 9:36 AM
    Can someone please explain in 10 words or less what this richie is accused of? I don’t care enough about him to waste any more time reading about it in detail. Thanks in advance!

    ************

    Basically: His truck-stop company is accused of contractually promising fuel rebates to fleet customers, and then using shady accounting to not pay them. He’s not formally accused of anything . . . yet. What they’re trying to ascertain is the old “What Did He Know and When Did He Know It?”

    Not less than eleven words, but there you go.

  7. thestrategyexpert says: May 22, 2013 1:24 PM

    Why would an owner not want to talk to him? They might want to protect their business interest in the league that has a suspected criminal in it, that’s not good. And if he tells them something they can use against him and they determine they want him out, then they can use that leverage. These owners are masters of gaining leverage over others that are in a weaker position. They should be lining up to hear what he has to say in the interests of justice and personal/business security. The only reason they shouldn’t want to talk to him is if they are lazy and just don’t care in general.

  8. mrfrostyj says: May 22, 2013 1:52 PM

    allnflfan says: May 22, 2013 9:36 AM

    Can someone please explain in 10 words or less what this richie is accused of? I don’t care enough about him to waste any more time reading about it in detail. Thanks in advance!
    ..

    It’s not 10 words or less but here’s the quick explanation.

    Basically the guy is the CEO of Pilot/Flying J which is the Wal mart of truck stop gas stations. The company has a rebate system in which if you buy so much fuel from them you get a discount. A sales manager of the company had been under investigation because it was believed they were not delivering on some or all of those discounts to small trucking companies (salesmen were promising a certain number but registering it with the office as a different number to get better commissions) and the guy ratted himself out to an undercover FBI informant causing them to raid the companies headquarters (most likely so they can track at exactly what level these finance changes were being made IE how far up the management chain were people aware this was happening).

    So now the sports media in Cleveland is crying “the sky is falling” because one of the largest private businesses in the US is being sued by a bunch of mom and pop trucking companies for beans.

  9. joemammy says: May 22, 2013 2:50 PM

    Haslam is accused of cheating people and being sneaky and a poor role model.

    Everything that is expected of anyone having an ownership interest in the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    This has nothing to do with the Browns.

  10. rcali says: May 22, 2013 4:04 PM

    Haslam would fit great in the Patriots organization once Goodell realizes he’s got a felon owning a team.

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