News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Akron Children's Hospital

Metro RTA


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us


What a Browns PR disaster means on the eve of the NFL draft
Terry Pluto says the Browns can still have a successful draft as owner Jimmy Haslam's legal troubles worsen
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam says he’s not stepping down any time soon, because he did nothing wrong as CEO of Pilot Flying J truck stops.
Download (WKSU Only)

This week begins the NFL draft, and it’s the equivalent of the Super Bowl for battered Browns fans. But this week, fans are expressing more frustration than anticipation. That’s because owner Jimmy Haslam is grabbing all the headlines about the ongoing FBI investigation into his Pilot Flying J truck stop business.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks to Amanda Rabinowitz about what new information in the case means for the team and fans on the eve of the NFL draft.

Listen: Terry Pluto commentary on Haslam and NFL draft fallout

Other options:
MP3 Download (4:02)


Listen: Terry Pluto's NFL draft confessional

Other options:
MP3 Download (5:58)


Taped phone conversations 
The Plain Dealer has reviewed a 120-page FBI affidavit that says Haslam's company, Pilot Flying J, engaged "for many years" in a fraud scheme to keep millions of dollars owed to customers as fuel rebates. 

"The problem if you’re Jimmy Haslam, they have taped conversations in there about how they could rip off customers and how they treated the unsophisticated ones who don’t know how to read spreadsheets or others whose English isn’t so good. It’s appalling when you read through that, and it’s a huge problem for a man who owns two companies that are in the customer service business: The Browns and truck stops," says Terry Pluto

Lawsuits and a trust issue
Atlantic Coast Carriers, a small trucking company in Hazlehurst, Ga., has filed a lawsuit, saying that Pilot Flying J “has benefited from inaccurate rebate procedures for certain clients, including Atlantic Coast and several other clients.’’ Terry Pluto says more lawsuits are likely to follow. And he says he's received emails from fans who are now saying, "Can I trust this guy?”

Pluto says fans would likely be more forgiving if Haslam struggled with a personal problem, like drinking. “People would understand that a lot easier than this idea that there’s something fraudulent … about how they do business.” And, Pluto says what makes it worse is that "Haslam's stance is, I just didn’t know about it. That's not good."

Potential draft implications 
All of this bad publicity comes at a very bad time for the team: on the eve of the NFL draft. But, Pluto thinks the team can still draft well. Joe Banner is the team CEO, Mike Lombardi is the GM and Rob Chudzinski is the head coach. "These guys have been buried in film and interviewing players. And, in fact, Joe Banner ran the Philadelphia Eagles for 12 years. He knows how to run a franchise. He could, in effect, be de facto owner and top administrator.”

“But the Browns needed a good buzz." And, Pluto says some of Haslam's early decisions have not done that, including hiring relatively unknown head coach Rob Chudzinski.

“But it’s possible 'Coach Chud,' Lombardi and Banner could have a good draft. Or not.”

And if they don’t, the Pilot J. PR fiasco will only make it worse. “He has huge PR problems,” Pluto says. 

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook





Stories with Recent Comments

Bridgestone exec indictments are latest step in a billion-dollar price-fixing case
Why is O.P.E.C Not investigated and charges brought against it and it's member companies? It sounds exactly the same...

Ohio's new drilling rules rely on known earthquake faults
requiring drillers to place seismic monitors when they drill within 3 miles of known fault lines. This comment really upsets me!! What good does an instrument t...

Kasich's gubernatorial ad focuses on his blue-collar roots
John Kasich is the biggest con-man in America. He will say one thing and then do the opposite. He is terribly successful at fooling the public and he is worki...

Cab drivers who refuse to drive Gay Games taxis will be replaced
the irony is that most americans distrust or hate muslims much more than they hate gays!! silly ignorant bigots-GO HOME!!!

New transportation companies come to Cleveland
Ride-sharing companies are breaking laws and regulations every day. From regulatory fee evasion to use of smartphone while driving (and even two smartphones(!) ...

Cleveland anti-poverty agency executive resigns amid financial probe
That committee won't be too independent. He plans to stay on until after the new appointee is chosen.

How can you wipe a criminal record clean?
Great article! NO CLINIC in May 2014, however, because it's graduation month for students For the next dates of the FREE Legal Clinic to help with Expungment,...

Drilling remains suspended while ODNR investigates NE Ohio earthquakes
Flaring and lights, so has all been halted? Also, smell of HS2 and sounds of an auger/drilling/water rushing underground. So, has all been halted? In light of t...

Will the Ohio River carry fracking wastewater?
Texas $ vs. WV citizens . Who will our governor listen to?

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University