2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Browns owner Haslam won't step aside amid probe

By ERIK SCHELZIG and STEVE MEGARGEE - Associated Press
    2013-04-19 16:13

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Cleveland Browns owner and Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam on Friday again denied any wrongdoing and said he wasn't stepping aside, a day after an FBI affidavit alleged his truck stop chain had defrauded customers with diesel fuel rebates.

According to court documents, leaders of Pilot's sales team derided some clients as unsophisticated, lazy and undeserving of rebates. Sales team members said Haslam, who is the older brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, was aware of at least some instances of employees withholding diesel fuel price rebates and discounts from Pilot customers to boost the company's profits and sales commissions, FBI special agent Robert H. Root said in an affidavit. He said the practice was known by a variety of euphemisms including ``jacking the discount'' and ``screwing'' the customer.

Haslam shrugged off suggestions he might step down.

``I thought to myself, `Well, why would I do that?' Candidly, I haven't done anything wrong, No. 1,'' Haslam said at the company's headquarters in Knoxville. ``No. 2, if there's ever a time the company needs our leadership, it's right now.''

No charges have been filed in the case.

While the affidavit doesn't specify how much money or how many customers were involved, it makes clear the fraud was widespread and brought in millions of dollars to the Haslam family business over at least six years.

The FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents raided the company's headquarters Monday. Haslam has said ``the foundation of this company is built on its integrity and that any willful wrongdoing by any employee of this company at any time is intolerable.''

The NFL said it had no plans to ask Jimmy Haslam to step aside while the FBI investigates his involvement in the alleged fraud.

Court documents detailed how vice president of sales John ``Stick'' Freeman, said in a training session for the sales team that he did not want to discuss ``moral or ethical'' issues involved with the practice.

``Hey, this is a game,'' Freeman said, according to recordings made by an FBI informant. ``We're playin' (expletive) poker with funny money, and its liar's poker with funny money.''

Brian Mosher, the company's national sales director, was recorded telling colleagues that he had engaged in cutting rebates since Pilot's nearest competitor filed for bankruptcy in 2008. Pilot purchased Flying J's truck stops in 2010.

Mosher said if a customer didn't understand the nuances of pricing and rebates, he wasn't going to give him a good deal.

``Frankly, he's lazy, and he doesn't care. ... That guy does not deserve premium pricing from us, in my opinion, because he's not willing to go back and do all the work on it,'' he said, according to the recordings.

An unnamed FBI informant said Haslam in 2007 instituted a monthly ranking of sales representatives based on the profits they generated. That system encouraged the sales force to withhold rebates to clients in order to boost their figures, the informant said.

Mosher said he was careful to target unsophisticated clients.

``Some of `em don't know what a spreadsheet is. I'm not kiddin','' Brian Moshe said. ``So, again, my point is this: Know your customer.''

Fewer than 10 percent of customers would ask for copies of how the rebates were calculated, another company official said. For those who asked for those details, Mosher said he and a colleague would ``have to go through this gyration'' to redo the figures to match the decreased rebate paid to the customer.

One customer, Omaha, Neb.-based Morehouse Trucking, complained and received an $80,000 check in May after Pilot said it had made a mistake.

``We had a feeling that the error was not an accident, but had no proof,'' manager Curt Morehouse said in a statement. ``It is now obvious from the affidavits that it was not an accident.

``We hope that Mr. Haslam has the courage to make whole the other companies that his company defrauded,'' he said.

---

Megargee reported from Knoxville. AP Sports Writer Tom Withers contributed from Cleveland.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Anthony SpencerJul 25 12:12a

Dallas Cowboys DE Anthony Spencer (knee) said he is feeling good but is not sure when he will be able to start practicing. Spencer said he is not sure [ More ]

Ndamukong SuhJul 24 05:02p

Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh's long-awaited contract extension is highly unlikely to occur before the start of training camp, according to a source. The Lions commence training camp Sunday, July 27.

Vince WilforkJul 24 04:52p

New England Patriots DT Vince Wilfork (Achilles') said he doesn't have any limitations, or he wouldn't be practicing.

Aaron RossJul 24 04:42p

Baltimore Ravens CB Aaron Ross (Achilles') has been placed on Injured Reserve. Ross will miss the entire season with a torn Achilles' tendon.

Terrance WestJul 24 04:32p

Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West (undisclosed), DT Jacobbi McDaniel (undisclosed), OG Jeremiah Warren and OL Chris Faulk (undisclosed) returned to the team's active roster Thursday, July 24.

Corey PetersJul 24 04:32p

Atlanta Falcons DT Corey Peters (Achilles') plans to be back for Atlanta's season-opener, saying he's optimistic and is feeling good.

Kevin BurnettJul 24 04:12p

The Oakland Raiders have cut LB Kevin Burnett.

D.J. HaydenJul 24 04:02p

Oakland Raiders CB D.J. Hayden (foot) is out for the start of training camp with a stress fracture in his foot.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 24 03:42p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) did not take any reps in practice Thursday July 24, as he continues to rehab from a hamstring injury.

Jonathan StewartJul 24 03:32p

Updating a previous report, Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) is expected to miss one-to-two weeks as he recovers from a hamstring injury. Stewart will not be placed on [ More ]

Laron LandryJul 24 02:52p

Indianapolis Colts CB Vontae Davis (undisclosed) and FS LaRon Landry (undisclosed) both did not participate in practice Thursday, July 24.

Jason HatcherJul 24 02:42p

Washington Redskins DT Jason Hatcher (knee) said he is progressing pretty quickly from a knee injury. I want to get back on the field, but I know I've got [ More ]

Chase FordJul 24 02:12p

Minnesota Vikings TE Chase Ford (foot) had a procedure on his left foot last week for a stress fracture and is expected to miss training camp.

Justin BlackmonJul 24 02:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon will not be cut by the team after his most recent arrest, according to owner Shad Khan. 'We want him to get help he needs,' Khan said.

Jamaal WestermanJul 24 02:02p

The Cleveland Browns signed LB Jamaal Westerman (Steelers) Thursday, July 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Taylor LewanJul 24 01:52p

The Tennessee Titans signed OL Taylor Lewan Thursday, July 24. Per NFL rules, the length of the contract is four years. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Larry DonnellJul 24 01:32p

New York Giants TE Larry Donnell is listed as the team's starting tight end on the first unofficial depth chart of training camp.

Tre BostonJul 24 01:02p

Carolina Panthers SS Tre Boston (hernia) was placed on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list Thursday, July 24.

Jonathan StewartJul 24 12:52p

Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) is dealing with a hamstring injury, but the team will leave him on the active roster heading into training camp.

Cam NewtonJul 24 12:42p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ankle) was cleared for practice, according to general manager David Gettleman.

Rob GronkowskiJul 24 12:12p

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) was limited in practice Thursday, July 24. He worked for an hour and 15 minutes before watching the rest of the activities. [ More ]

Anthony SpencerJul 24 12:12p

Dallas Cowboys DE Anthony Spencer (knee) was placed on the team's Physically Unable to Perform List Thursday, July 24.

Aaron RossJul 24 11:52a

Baltimore Ravens CB Aaron Ross (Achilles') has torn his Achilles' tendon.

Deone BucannonJul 24 11:32a

Arizona Cardinals S Deone Bucannon was not dropped into the starting lineup during offseason workouts, as the team has faith in FS Tony Jefferson and FS Rashad Johnson. He [ More ]

Ray RiceJul 24 11:31a

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the season, according to sources. The announcement is expected Thursday, July 24.

Blake BortlesJul 24 11:22a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' lower-body mechanics likely will be revised. Bortles' flaw has been over-reliance on his right arm when throwing; he doesn't use his legs enough. A [ More ]

Mikel LeshoureJul 24 11:14a

Detroit Lions RB Mikel Leshoure is currently believed to be the fourth tailback on the club behind RBs Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick heading into training camp [ More ]

Justin BlackmonJul 24 10:53a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday, July 23, in Oklahoma.

Jordan PalmerJul 24 10:52a

Chicago Bears QB Jordan Palmer still has the first shot at winning the backup quarterback job, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

R. Griffin IIIJul 24 10:22a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's designed running plays might be 'few and far between,' according to head coach Jay Gruden. He still has the green light to scramble [ More ]

Daniel FellsJul 24 09:42a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells has received the first snap in 11-on-11 drills during the team's two days in training camp. Kellen Davis and Adrien Robinson have [ More ]

Ahmad BradshawJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) has been cleared to practice. Bradshaw is an RB4, but he could be worth more if Trent Richardson fails to produce again.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group