After Pilot Flying J agreed to pay nearly $100 million in fines as a result of the fuel-rebate scandal, most assumed CEO and Browns owner Jimmy Haslam would not face prosecution. After the recent indictment of eight Pilot Flying J employees (including former president Mark Hazelwood), some assumed that Haslam’s absence from the group of defendants for now translates to absence forever.
The truth, as recently explained by John Caniglia of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, is that Haslam could still face charges, especially if Hazelwood strikes a plea deal that includes giving testimony against Haslam.
As Caniglia notes, an FBI affidavit from April 2013 suggested that both Hazelwood and Haslam were aware of the scheme.
The league has said that there’s no evidence Haslam violated league policy in any way. In August 2013, SportsBusiness Journal reported that, if Haslam were forced to step down, his father, Jim, would take over. New Hall of Famer Eddie DeBartolo was forced to transfer the 49ers to his sister after pleading guilty to a felony charge of failing to report an effort by former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards to extort $400,000 from DeBartolo in order to secure a casino license.