Today marks the one week anniversary of the FBI-IRS raid that took place at the world head-quarters of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III’s, Pilot Flying J headquarters in Knoxville Tennessee. For a week, some Browns fans have been in denial about Haslam’s mounting legal problems.
This year, fans have a lot more to be concerned with, than the NFL draft. For months Cleveland fans have wondered, if the team will pick a quarterback with the 6th pick in the 2013 NFL draft. Now, fans are left wondering, if the team’s owner will remain in charge of the team.
Haslam’s legal problems could prove to be too much of a distraction for the team and the NFL. While league offices haven’t removed Haslam III from the Browns yet, experts are saying it could happen.
Jimmy Haslam III and his company, allegedly pulled a fraud on unsuspecting trucking companies. The FBI-IRS, raid that took place one week ago, sized Haslam’s computer from his office. People close to the case say Haslam, knew what was taking place.
The FBI, unsealed some of the documents that were part of the raid, and the contents didn’t paint a good picture of Haslam’s knowledge of what took place. One of the most disturbing things about Haslam’s involvement in the fraud, is the fact that he is denying any knowledge of wrong doing.
It appears otherwise, The most troublesome part for Haslam is a conversation between the informant and Vice President of Sales John Freeman. Here is a quotes taken off the internet that points at Haslam knowing about what was taking place. Throughout the discussions, there is reference and frequent jokes to an incident where Freeman got caught by a customer, and ended up having to buy a $1 million airplane off the client to settle it. In one part, Freeman explains;
Fxxxin’ A, I mean, I called Jimmy and told him I got busted at Western Express. . . Oh, he knew it. Absolutely, I mean, he knew all along I was cost-plussin’ this guy. He knew it all along. Loved it. We were makin’ $450,000 a month on him — why wouldn’t he love it? . . . Did it for five years, cost us a million bucks. I mean, we made $6 million on the guy, cost us a million bucks.
The FBI-IRS, raid is only a small part of the legal problems Browns owner Jimmy Haslam II is facing. Law Suits are already being filed by trucking companies that feel taken advantage of. An East Coast trucking firm out of the state of Georgia, is among the firsts to file a class action suite against Haslam’s Pilot Flying J truck stops.
Another disturbing fact about this investigation is that some at Haslam’s company is the fact that they thought people were too stupid to find out they were being taking advantage of. If these allegations prove to be true, it demonstrates how people in Haslam’s income bracket thinks they are above the average person.
Why Browns fans would take sides with a guy like Haslam, when they have no idea who this guy really is proof that Browns fans are the greatest fans in the world. They deserve better than the hand they are dealt.
When the team was sold last season, these fans had hope things in Cleveland, would turn around. Now it is starting to look like the same old song and dance. Only this time the tune the owner is signing could turn out to be the jail house blues.
So this year, when the draft kicks off, there is more for Browns fans to worry about than if the team will take a quarterback with their 6th pick. They will be worried about if the team’s owner will be allowed to remain a free man.
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