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.

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Greater Akron Chamber

Lehmans


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

Another Indians season opens with Chief Wahoo under scrutiny
The picture you have for Robert rocha is not him. He has long hair. No idea who that guy is in that picture

Portman predicts McDonald's confirmation, but says it won't be easy
I sent the following note to Senator Blumenthal after reading commentary from yesterday's hearing: Senator, You certainly have the right to ask Mr. McDonald que...

Seven minutes changed everything, but what changed Ashford Thompson?
He shot the guy four times in the head. I have never been that drunk or mad, and I have been through it. Shoot a guy once is bad, maybe a mistake, shoot a guy f...

First cricket farm in the U.S. opens in Youngstown
I am interested in cricket flour to replace soy flour in a low carbohydrate diet. As soon as you have cricket flour available for the average person, please le...

New process starts digesting sludge in Wooster
Awesome! When do our sewage rates decrease accordingly?

Akron's Chapel Hill Mall in foreclosure
Not a surprise. Between the shoplifting, gangs and violence that goes on up there it is no wonder that no one feels safe to shop at Chapel Hill. They have sca...

Ohio launches investigation into at least one Concept charter school
I worked at Noble Academy Cleveland as admin assistant and enrolment coordinator for 6 years, I know this is so valid and true and can provide staff names and p...

Crisis looms in filling aviation industry jobs in Ohio and the nation
I listened to this story yesterday morning on the radio and just want to add this comment. My son went to school to train as an air traffic controller, and gra...

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