- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Browns owner Jimmy Haslam denied he had any knowledge of rebate fraud by his family-run truck-stop business.
"Absolutely not. I will say absolutely not," Haslam said Thursday morning at a trucking company seminar, via The Plain Dealer. "I was not aware of any of this."
This contradicts other accounts. In unsealed search warrant affidavit, there are accusations that Haslam and Pilot Flying J president Mark Hazelwood knew about shortchanging customers because they attended sales meetings where it was discussed.
Federal prosecutors have filed no charges so far and won’t say when -- or if -- any charges might be coming. Haslam went on to apologize for "the actions of our people."
"It's a blip. It may be a substantial blip," Haslam said. "But in no way, shape or form does it affect my ownership of the Browns."
If Haslam is indicted, it could affect his ownership. The NFL is an image-conscious business, and it's hard to believe the other 31 owners would want to be linked to someone who was guilty of knowingly ripping off customers.
4hEric D. Williams