When Jimmy Haslam III took over the controlling interest in the Cleveland Browns, excitement, filled the air. Less than a year later the new team owner is under criminal investigation for what he describes as a rebate problem.

What do we know about Haslam III, besides the fact that he has a lot of money? The answer is not much. Many have never heard of the guy before he bought the Cleveland Browns and many were hoping this would be the guy that could turn things around in Cleveland, and at last place a winning football team on the field.

Once someone gets put under a microscope, such as a FBI, investigation, its unbelievable what kind of information comes out. We all know that Haslam III owns one of the largest truck stop chains in the United States. What we don’t know is how he grew as large as he did.

Haslam’s company, merged with Flying J. When he did, he promised the managers at the Flying J truck stops that they would keep their jobs and they were going to be a valuable part of the company.  That didn’t happen. He is a reply to a Haslam article we wrote earlier today;

as I said prior to Mr. Haslam’s purchase of our beloved team and as a former General Manager of a Flying J, prior to the merger with Pilot, I strongly urged Randy Lerner to not sell our Browns to such a snake.

He and his cronies systematically got rid of virtually all of the Flying J managers, to save a dollar. When thinking of this, one should only realize that NOT paying a rebate to several trucking companies would be right up his alley!!!!

He promised all the managers that we were NEEDED attributes to HIS company and then proceeded to get rid of 99% of us. To think that the NFL approved this guy as an owner is incredible. It will probably only get worse!!!!!

As I said earlier in this article, Browns fans were feeling pretty good when Haslam came to town and made a lot of promises. When the team let Phil Dawson walk people started to realize, that Haslam may have been more about the money than he is about paying great players. Dawson was one of the teams most loyal people. He was dependable and his is wanted by a team that made a super bowl appearance last season too.

For the Browns to have an owner that is a penny pincher, may not be the answer to putting a winning team on the field. Lets not forget the fact, the first guy Haslam hired was Joe Banner. Banner has never really been about football.

He is a guy that is more concerned with the bottom line of the business side of things. He was all about making money for the owner of the Eagles and he did it by getting rid of players, that were the money makers. Guys who were approaching 30-years-old.

Now, it is too early to say what kind of owner Haslam is going to be for the Cleveland Browns and the people of Cleveland. But things aren’t looking that great yet. He hired a guy to coach the team that has no head coaching experience, he brought in a guy with Banner that cares more about the bottom line and now he is under a criminal investigation for a rebate fiasco.

All a Cleveland fan can wonder is what is next. For years we have heard about a curse, I always felt it didn’t exist.  No I am beginning to wonder.

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Readers Comments (40)

  1. ABrown

    Good article, LG. At times like this it really does seem like we are cursed. Let’s hope things start to get better before they get worse . . . again.

    I guess now we know why Haslam told us he was going back to his first love — running the truck stops company. It was probably very clear at that point that there was a big problem coming.

    • Anonymous

      The big problem was that it was discovered how he took a family business and figured how to not pay promised paybacks for frequent shopping by large trucking companies… He took the money and bout the brownies with the stolen 1 billion dollars. It is interesting how stealing a billion is different and more accepted than small time theft which will land most people in prison. He is very guilty and is trying hard to distract you.

  2. JS

    If he’s a penny pincher he’ll fit right in with Mike Brown, owner of the Bengals. I don’t know someone can be more of a penny pincher than Brown but we may be about to see. On the upside the Bengals have won.

    • PhilZ

      Running a business by not wasting money is not penney pinching, it is just good business. The Bengals are consistently in the middle of the pack in salaries. Do I agree with everything MB does? Nope, but we still have our original franchise, how bout you Cleveland. Nice run of owners Modell etc, , Last playoff appearance 2001? Last Superbowl Oh yeah never and looks look even more bleak (WEEDEN?) Always easy to take the potshots atr MB and the Bengals, just look in the mirrior for the real joke of the NFL.

  3. CalBM1

    Banner says to McCoy .”You are in our plans” fits right in .Let Dawson walk . Fits right in .I have been a fan since 1963 .I am a regular at Drifters in Myrtle Beach for opining day.I fit right in. NO MORE I am done. Model drove a stake through the heart of my Browns which will never rise again .This new version of the browns has sucked from day one .They need to change the name and bury the colors.

  4. Dee

    Who cares if the team wins. Not paying Phil Dawson was more about Phil wanting to play for a Super Bowl which he deserves. How great was randy Lerner as a owner. Enough said. Give these people a chance. It’s not as easy as some people think it is to build a winner.

  5. Murray

    Check your article for grammer and punctuation. It’s hard to take you seriously as a journalist if you don’t proof read your own story. The man runs a business and has done it very well. We don’t know if that will translate to the NFL, but it’s better than a lame duck owner who rode his dad’s coat tails.

    • Bob

      News to you. He is lame duck NOW. He is not really overseeing the Browns, he went back to Flying J. This is a big deal when the FBI & IRS come in.

      Also, when you put someone down, cite specifics and check your own work. I see no grammer and punctuation issues above with this article, but I see a problem with your punctuation in your response. You forgot a comma before the word “if” in your second sentence.

    • Old Coach


    • Old Bri

      *grammar* *proofread* Grammar Police…we’re everwhere.

      • LG

        Too bad the Rebate police aren’t everywhere, then Haslam may not have been investigated by the FBI…..

  6. Vapurtrale

    Most Corporate executives tend to be cut throat. vindictive and penny pinching these days. The “good guys” are pretty much gone due to the prolonged economic recession.

    • renman

      Amen, and anything to do with trucking is the worst of the worst too !

  7. Michael H. Clabbatz

    Your article is based on a statement from one former employee that we know nothing about. Phil Dawson is an awsome kicker, but he will not be playing football if and when the Browns are ready to compete for a title, best to move on. It is true that Chud has no head coaching experience, but you forgot to mention that they did bring in Norv Turner to develop the offense and is considered one of the best, along with Ray Horton on the defensive side of the ball who is also considered one of the best. They have also signed some pretty good talent in free agency. Until we all know the facts lets not critisize, lets wait and see. Mike C.

    • LG

      Mike C, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. As far as free agents are concerned, they only brought in 2 guys that can be considered good player. The others are questionable at this point.

      • Mike C.

        LG, I agree with you, we as Browns fans can only hope that the draft will add some more much needed talent. I also hope this new coaching staff can step up to the plate and get the talent already in place to play to their potential, unlike the mess we had last year.

        • LG

          Looks like we both want the same things. Some wins….

    • ML

      I may be the only former employee that ALSO loves the Browns and didn’t feel that this was a good match for C-Town to begin with based on my prior experience with Haslem and his buisness practices. I’m pretty sure that IF you had the same experiences as the 400 or so employees that we had you would have something to say as well…unless your just scared!!!!!

  8. James Kyler

    The writer needs to pay closer attention to grammar and such things as subject verb agreement. Substance is good but the mechanics need work.

    • LG

      I’m constantly trying to improve James. Keep in mind, this is sports writing, not a novel….Thanks for liking the substance…

      • ME

        LG do you drive a pickup truck with the same attitude? I’m bigger than you so the rules don’t apply to me! Start proof reading,you sound like so dumb uneducated FOX sports writer !! I would not pay you ten cents for this jumbled up mess!! One more thing learn to take constructive criticism,not fire back at the people that try to make heads or tails of what you are writing,better yet go back to second grade and learn to write!

        • LG

          First of all Keith, I think if you read through some of the other comments, you’ll see that I have learned to take constructive criticism. Second of all, if you comments have anything to do with what was quoted, I didn’t change the way is was written, because I didn’t write it, only quoted it…. And no I am not a Fox reporter.

          • ME

            Well you sure as heck sound like a FOX reporter! You need to reread your article,I’m not the only one on here pointing out your MANY mistakes!

          • LG

            You sure aren’t. I am working on it as we type these replies. Thanks for your guidance….

  9. Alan Amstutz

    There is a curse!!

  10. ABrown

    LG, all it takes to bring out Miss Fiddich and the grammar police is to write an article that upsets the sense of well-being felt by complacent Browns fans.

    “How dare you criticize our new owner, management, and coaches! We believe in them.”

    Why not argue against what you disagree with and not stoop to an editing and grammar critique without checking for your own errors?

    • LG

      Yes ABrown I was going to call for some lessons……

    • Bob

      It’s unfortunate that many Browns fans are in denial and are encouraged by “getting a new QB every year” and enjoy the “rebuilding” every year comments. I am about done with my support with this team and their nonsense & incompetence. It’s total comedy & tragedy.

  11. ricktenny

    The article and comments both led me to several thoughts.
    The NFL Hall of Fame includes at least one convict that I know of. The NFL allows convicted felons to play. (Great message for our youth.) That said, why would they care about who owns a team?
    The running of a rebate program by a large company is something that would be run by lower level managers and overseen by mid level management. Haslem more then likely didn’t know about this until the problem was already a fact and now is the company head left to face the music.
    My Dad was an old time type Printer. He had a shop that in the fifties, sixties and seventies printed over forty high school papers. When I was a kid I was conscripted as free labor after school and on Saturdays. This allowed my presence, in the background, for may a lively discussion between my father and teachers who served as advisors to the kids involved with thier school papers. The topic of these confrontations was almost always the poor spelling and grammer mistakes that the teachers allowed to pass through as fit copy to send to the printer for publication. I was just the fly on the wall for those discussions and at sixty eight I still remember them like they were yesterday. Hang in there LG your doing alright.

    • LG

      Thanks Ricktenny….

    • Bob

      RickTenney wrote, “The running of a rebate program by a large company is something that would be run by lower level managers and overseen by mid level management. Haslem more then likely didn’t know about this until the problem was already a fact”

      I STRONGLY disagree. He knew and he knew for a while. If he did not know and then found out, he would have corrected it and this would not have gotten so far to involve the FBI. Things ALWAYS at the top even indirectly. The top sets the tone for honesty or dishonesty. The Plain Dealer is reporting, “Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s travel center company has engaged in fraud for ‘many years’, FBI says” NOTE the “many years” part. HE KNEW.

      So, the Browns will probably be up for sale again. That’s my feeling. LMAO The Learners could not even sell the team to the right person, who seems to be a thief. This will effect the team big time. I wonder how many sports agents have told the Browns “Not interested” in regards to their client. Didn’t Blackmon last year say he was not interested in the Browns? Chip Kelly was not interested along with other potential coaches. And free agents? No big catch gotten either.

      If they sell again, hopefully the team is bought by someone or a group that already has experience running a franchise. It will be best for the team.

      • Bob

        Corection – I meant “Things ALWAYS start at the top even indirectly.

        I forgot the word, start.

        • Bob

          Geez – My bad. I even spelled, “correction” wrong.

          • LG

            If I knew how to write or spell I would have busted you on this….

      • LG

        Read the latest article I just published. Haslam is busted the FBI unsealed the Documents today….

        • Bob


          New owner coming soon. I wonder if the NFL takes over the team until a new owner can be found.

          • LG

            Wow, just what we need. Learner still has 30% ownership

      • JWB

        He knew what was going on because he reaped the rewards of over a billion dollars. His flying j made tons more money than similar business. He knew he had to spend the money quick on the brownies before found out.

  12. Chilli


    The fact that you are generating comments on your blog is a credit to you. Keep plugging. Getting people to interact is nothing but positive. Don’t worry about the grammar police. Write what you think.

    Haslam is in deep trouble, in my humble opinion, but billionaires seldom go to jail. Somebody will take the fall and restitution will be paid…fines and damages…

    Question is will the NFL tolerate a guy who was jerking his customers around to squeeze a few extra dollars to the bottom line when he was already making BILLIONS. I think I read somewhere that Pilot Flying J did $50 Billion Gross in 2012. They sold 8 Billion gallons of diesel in $4 a gallon!!

    • LG

      Thanks Chilli, I really don’t let some comments get under my skin. It will be interesting to see what happens to Haslam….


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