Last October, Jimmy Haslam’s purchase of the Cleveland Browns brought a much needed fresh perspective to the franchise that has struggled to put a winning product on the field. Now, a cloud hangs over the owner who had hoped to turn around the team.
Haslam’s company, Pilot Flying J, was raided on April 15 by the FBI for alleged rebate fraud against trucking companies. Five members of the sales staff have already plead guilty to charges. Haslam insists he had no idea of the wrongdoings.
In more bad news for the embattled Haslam, the Wall Street Journal also recently reported that his company is currently $4 billion in debt. However, the owner remains undeterred, and plans to pour money into the franchise remain in place. Additionally, the team has confirmed that there are plans in place to keep Haslam as the owner if he were to be indicted.
He remains adamant that he will not sell the franchise.
Overall, Haslam feels good about his time as the owner of the Browns. “Since October, we put together a completely new front office, hired anew head coach with two really good coordinators, sold naming rights tothe stadium, and went through free agency and the draft,” Haslam told ESPN Cleveland.
Jimmy Haslam is the brother of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, and the two are selling their minor league franchise, the Tennessee Smokies.