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.

32 responses to “Haslam claims he had no knowledge of rebate fraud

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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”.

  13. 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.

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

  18. 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.

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