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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Readers Comments (20)

  1. Roady

    LG – I don’t get the part about Browns fans being in denial. It seems like just one more potential hit below the belt to Browns fans before it’s all cleared-up, and from what I can tell, Browns fans that are knowledgeable are aware that there’s a problem.
    I’m still concerned about this week’s first pick, particularly if it’s a QB.

    • LG

      You me and everyone Else I talk to are concerned with the pick. I really don’t see a first round QB in this draft class…

      • Roady

        Everyone has a reason to be concerned over the first round pick. Last year, the Browns might have taken the only QB in the 1st round that absolutely didn’t belong there.
        As for the denial thing, I’m not seeing it. The draft is the most exciting thing going on for Browns fans this week, but Haslem’s future is recognized as being the biggest potential problem. Using the rationale that everyone is talking about the draft, therefore not concerned about Flying J’s upcoming crash and burn is a bit of a stretch.
        You’re raining on this week’s parade here.

        • LG

          Bad timing don’t ya think? How dare those federal Agencies pick the week before the draft to raid the place. Roady, you don’t think they will take a QB this year do you?

          • Roady

            No shortage of bad timing by the Feds or anyone else, but I’m not suspicious that there’s a conspiracy to take down the Browns – it seems like that’s been under control for years without any outside assistance. I have no idea what the Browns will do this week. I was pretty sure that they weren’t blowing a first round pick on a QB last year, but they did.
            With a higher risk 3-4 defense they had better come up with a stout cornerback and safety or they’ll probably get boat-raced all season. I suspect that outside of some lower round draft choices the offense will have to muddle through this year pretty much as is, but I could be wrong on that count as well.

    • MSGTF

      IF, we select a QB then this will truly be a wasted draft class, SOOOOO many other need to attend to, starting with the secondary and finishing with the secondary,keep the focus on football! and SMART football decisions.

      • LG

        Agreed, we really need another quality corner-back and we need one now….

  2. MSGTF

    Browns fans arnt in denial, this is truly A Haslam problem, and thats good, at lease its not a football prolem, YET. lets wait and see where this goes.

    • LG

      MSGTF, there are some fans that think He can do no wrong and they are in complete denial. I am not saying all of them are…..Go Browns Baby!!!

      • ForeverABrownsFan

        I wonder whom, they might be? LOL.

        I had never said Haslam could do no wrong.

        Denial, would be, saying there isn’t a problem, when there clearly is one.

        What I have said to you was, we all will see, to what extent of that “Problem” will be and I have also, told you that Haslam is guilty of something, that isn’t DENIAL.

        • LG

          Hey. I didn’t say you said it or denied it. There are people that are in denial though. You have had to hear someone saying Jimmy didn’t do nothing haven’t you? Or is it just because I am in the sports business I hear more people than you do?

  3. Dave

    He has not been subpoenaed so make all the speculation you want. And the smart thing to say now is (nothing)

    • LG

      The key word here Dave it YET.

  4. Dan B.

    There is no denial. Where do you see or hear this? Just making up crap and slam us Browns fans again. It is bad enough that we continually have to deal with this crap, but now you make us out to be these pathetic fools who hide their heads in the sand and say everything is ok. trust me, as a Browns fan along with many others, we are not in denial, we are where we always are, behind our team, good or bad, and unfortunately for us, it has been bad and now does not seem to be clearing up any time soon. So much for a new owner and a new era, at least we are not the only ones with egg on our face, the NFL owners vetted this guy, how bad do they look now!

    • LG

      Ahmen to that Dan B. They sure did vet him.

    • ABrown

      Not only the vetting. The NFL let Haslam finance most of the purchase when new owners have not been allowed to do that in the past. Lerner still owns 30% of the team until 2016, and Haslam hasn’t put down much of his own money.

      That could turn out to be a problem in at least a couple of big ways.

  5. Lou B.

    Brown’s fans in denial? Not hardly. Obviously you are not listening to everyone calling in on the sports talk stations. It appears we have an owner who doesn’t know what the word “integrity” means.

    • LG

      Bingo, you got that right Lou B. That is what I do and that is the people I talk to when I do the show….

  6. Chuck

    LG your a big ass if you think all the fans are in denial, but it makes for great reporting when you have nothing else to the table.

    • LG

      Chuck, You telling me there aren’t Browns fans out there that are denying the current situation in team ownership when it comes to the problems he is faced with?


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