October 22, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
45°F

NFL spokesman says league has no plans to ask owner Jimmy Haslam to step away from team during Pilot Fying J investigation

The NFL has no plans to ask Browns owner Jimmy Haslam to step away from the team while the FBI and IRS investigate Pilot Flying J, league spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email to The Chronicle-Telegram.

Haslam is CEO of Pilot Flying J, the nation’s largest truck-stop company. His father, Jim, founded the company.

Pilot Flying J’s headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., were raided Monday, and a 120-page FBI document unsealed Thursday charges Haslam knew of customer fraud perpetrated by Pilot Flying J for years. The document alleges members of the company’s sales force preyed on smaller trucking companies by reducing the amount of rebates they were owed for buying certain amounts of fuel.

No charges have been filed or arrests made.

Haslam is scheduled to make a statement at 4 p.m. in Knoxville but won’t answer questions. He was in Browns headquarters Thursday for NFL Draft preparation.

He issued the following statement Thursday night after the affidavit became public.

“I’ve read the affidavits. I now understand more clearly the questions the federal investigators are exploring,” the statement said. “I maintain that 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.

“We will continue to cooperate with the federal investigation and continue our own investigation in these allegations. I value the relationships we have with our customers, our vendors and our team members across this country and regret that they have to go through this with us, but I trust and believe their faith in this company and its principles has never been misplaced.”