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.

Hennes Paynter Communications

Meaden & Moore

Akron Children's Hospital


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

Ohio's tax commissioner says the ID quiz is going well
I filed electronically and there was no provision to print out a copy that I could find. How do I get a copy sent to my exclusive address of record, including ...

Ohio to appeal ruling keeping Akron's red light cameras in place
I don't understand what all the fuss is about. If you don't like tickets drive the speed limit and stop at red lights. It's really all up to you.

Who's on public assistance in Ohio?
legalize marijuana get over it,,, its here its been the main drug test scare of a lifetime. u got people that get drunk every night and work u got peoples on ...

Letters from a lost friend: A Beachwood survivor's Holocaust remembrance
What a great story -- and how important it was for both Marlene and her mother to tell it! Thank you.

Ohio lawmaker calls for an East Cleveland bailout
Instead of blaming Kasich and the Republicans for all of East Cleveland's fiscal woes, take a look at the facts. Some political entities in Ohio are too small ...

Legalized marijuana is a boon for a Cleveland-area grow light maker
Shouldn't he be in jail for paraphernalia? He knows he is selling for marijuana production.

Akron city council to vote on resolution for hiring ex-offenders
Great as a taxpayer I paid for the police to catch them, the free lawyer, the jail to house them , the food their kids eat the medical for them and all its goin...

5 of 8 rule headed for a vote
this is just another way for kasich to pass the buck and claim that it gives the local districts control. Few schools have enough money because of his cuts. T...

A passionate debate about parole in Ohio
I was heartened to hear that the legislators will consider ANY legislation to break the chains the parole board has put on these old law offenders who have serv...

Bill would allow Ohio religious leaders to refuse to do gay marriages
This is just a lot of political posturing. The free exercise clause of the 1st Amendment already protects clergy from being forced by civil authorities to perfo...

Copyright © 2015 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