One of the most unusual stories that arose during the 2013 offseason lingers into the 2014 offseason, and it’s likely still months from resolution.
The alleged rebate scam perpetrated by Pilot Flying J, the billion-dollar truck-stop company run by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, continues to work its way through the court system. Although a nationwide class action was approved in November, at least 16 lawsuits remain in place, filed by customers who exercised their right to reject the deal and pursue their own remedies.
According to the Tennessean, other lawsuits could be coming from the “dozens” of other trucking companies that rejected the settlement package.
In contrast to the civil side of the legal proceedings, the criminal investigation seemingly has come to a halt. Through late July, seven employees had pleaded guilty to federal charges. Since then, no further guilty pleas have been filed, which could mean that the federal government’s effort to climb the corporate ladder by using information and eventual testimony from those who already have pleaded guilty has stalled.
Regardless, the original documentation filed in support of the April 2013 search warrant contained allegations that Haslam knew about the effort to prey on unsophisticated customers. If the feds ever believe they can prove that in court, the Browns will be dealing with yet another major distraction as they try to reverse more than a decade of futility.