clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jimmy Haslam Talks About Investigation, and Preparing for the NFL Draft

In a press conference interview, Jimmy Haslam apologizes to Cleveland fans for the blemish this has left for the Browns, but says that it's still "business as usual" for the football team.

Haslam: "You did this to me, DIDN'T YOU?"
Haslam: "You did this to me, DIDN'T YOU?"
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, it was reported that Pilot Flying J, the company that Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is the CEO of, was taken over by the FBI and the IRS as part of an ongoing investigation. There weren't many details at the time, so speculation was running kind of rampant regarding what was going on.

Tuesday afternoon, Haslam held a press conference at his headquarters to discuss the issue with reporters. While he still didn't have a lot of details, he indicated that the investigation was related to customers who claimed they never received their rebates. DBN member PaduaDSP relayed the following information from WKNR:

Apparently the rebates to the "small number" of trucking companies were never paid by PFJ so those companies went to the FBI and IRS for help.

While anything related to an investigation can be deemed "serious" to a degree, it doesn't sound like something that is going to really end up conflicting with the Browns in the long run. At the press conference, a Cleveland reporter was in attendance and got a question about the Browns in at the 9:30 mark of the video. Here is question and answer transcribed:

Q: "What would you say to Cleveland Browns fans who are very concerned at this moment?"

Haslam: "First of all, I apologize because the last thing we ever want to do is put any kind of blemish on the city of Cleveland, which we've grown to love, or the Browns. I personally feel bad about that, even though I don't think we've done anything wrong.

Second of all, it's business as usual. I've talked to Joe, I've talked to Alec, either talked to or texted to Mike and Chud. They're asking, "is everything ok?" I said, "we're great, we'll manage things down here." It's really the first week of practice on the field, let's focus on that. We've got the draft coming up, let's focus on that. We'll be going up there Thursday and Friday I believe to, just as planned, participate in draft preparation. We'll be up there almost all of next week, and as you know, everyone in Cleveland knows the draft starts Thursday night. So we'll look forward to that."

We will continue to pass along more details as they come along.