Unfortunately for Jimmy Haslam, Pilot Flying J CEO and majority owner of the Cleveland Browns, Flying J does not seem to be heading out of legal trouble or the news anytime soon. The sentencing conference for the 7 Flying J employees who actually confessed to fraud is not expected to be held until 2014. At the request of both sides, the judge in charge of their case will hold off on their conference until February of next year. One reason for the setback could be the excessive number of documents the FBI has to look through before the prosecutors can move forward.
A particularly colorful document for the FBI is the transcript created by the whistle blower inside of Flying J. With language more attributable to a sailor than a “community and philanthropy” oriented company with the interest of the driver at heart, the document should easily hold the FBI’s interest.
On record is Freeman, former Vice President, using certain expletives a good deal of times and in quite the context. One quote that stands out above the rest is “See, (Expletive) ’em early and (expletive) ’em often.” In this statement, Freeman is discussing is the importance of taking advantage of companies early on the business relationship.
Besides the aforementioned sentence enhancers, there is also the hostile language used to actually describe the scheme. One source details that the cheating was sometimes blatantly referred to as screwing the driver.
Furthermore, much dialogue from the transcripts point to Jimmy Haslam being more than aware of the theft going on throughout the company. Freeman is recorded as saying that Haslam had always known what their schemes were and undoubtedly supported them. Of course, this is in direct opposition to Haslam’s claims, so maybe the FBI can find more clarity through their investigation.
Thankfully for the Haslam dynasty, these possible indiscretions should have no effect on his National Football League team. The NFL can penalize owners who find themselves in legal trouble, but since this trouble has nothing to do with the sport, the chances of Haslam getting fined or facing any other discipline is slim.
Of course, anything can happen. Jimmy Haslam could face the same sentencing his subordinates are, but when you have the kind of prestige he has (and a brother in the governor’s house of Tennessee), you can pretty much be sure you’re taken care of.