Browns owner Jimmy Haslam faces temporary restraining order in Pilot Flying J probe
Calls to trucking companies termed 'interfering'
Ron Regan, newsnet5.com
10:12 PM, Apr 24, 2013
11:29 PM, Apr 24, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Cleveland Brown's owner Jimmy Haslam faces a temporary restraining order expected to be filed Thursday. It would prevent Haslam and his company from contacting trucking companies who allege they were cheated.
On April 15, the FBI raided Haslam's Pilot Flying J headquarters in Knoxville. A federal affidavit accuses the truck stop chain in a widespread scheme to defraud customers using rebates.
Georgia-based attorney Mark Tate said he will ask for a court order to stop Haslam from contacting clients before the FBI probe is completed.
Haslam's attorney Aubrey Harwell said his client has done nothing improper.
"If there is an issue where by we, this company didn't pay what was fair and reasonable and agreed upon, we're going to pay it," Harwell told NewsChannel5 on Wednesday.
Harwell said his client is "trying to do the right thing" by calling clients to explain and correct issues surrounding allegations that Pilot Flying J may have failed to provide companies with rebates.
"Jimmy Haslam and his management team should be praised for proactively and constructively trying to get to the bottom of this," Harwell said. "I understand some of the absurd and outrageous allegations that have been made, that people are apparently trying to bootstrap that into something where they can recover more than they're entitled to."
"I don't remember, Ron, a CEO of a company in recent history that has undergone this sort of an issue with the federal government who has done what Jimmy Haslam has done," Harwell said.
Earlier this week, Haslam announced that he was bringing in a field audit team, a chief compliance officer and an independent investigator. He put part of his sales team on administrative leave.