Look at this evil motherfucker. Laughing it up as the Browns eked out an ugly win. This time next year, Jimmy Haslam could be in federal prison. Never forget that if supervillains were real, they'd start as sports owners.
"This has been a very humbling, very embarrassing time," Haslam said last week. "This" being a federal investigation into his truck stop chain, which bilked customers out of tens of millions (some claim hundreds of millions) of dollars. It was not a complicated scheme—Pilot Flying J offered fuel rebates and discounts that, according to an industry official, were "outrageous and impossible [for other companies] to compete against." Then Pilot Flying J simply didn't give customers the rebates they were promised, pocketing the money instead.
Haslam and his company have offered to settle with many of the two dozen companies currently suing him. More pressing would be the federal grand jury debating whether to indict him. A two-year FBI and IRS investigation led to a massive raid in April, and turned up evidence that the scheme went all the way to Haslam's door. An affidavit filed in April reads:
"the rebate fraud has occurred with the knowledge of Pilot's current President Mark Hazelwood and Pilot's Chief Executive Officer James A. "Jimmy" Haslam III, due to the fact that the rebate fraud-related activities have been discussed during sales meetings in Knoxville, Tenn., in which Hazelwood and Haslam have been present."
Seven former employees have already pleaded guilty, and promised to testify against others in the company. Haslam has denied any knowledge of the entire thing, despite a meeting with one employee involved in the scam in which Haslam thanked him for saving the company money.
Oh, and there's the part where Roger Goodell called Haslam "a man of great integrity" even after details of the raid and grand jury investigation came out. By year's end, two separate NFL owners could be facing criminal charges for lengthy and colossal frauds. But by all means, let's fret about player DUIs and not the bad men in the suites.