Browns owner Haslam outlines five ways to improve Pilot Flying J

Jimmy Haslam outlined five approaches his company will take as it deals with federal fraud charges. (USATSI)
Jimmy Haslam outlined five approaches his company will take as it deals with federal fraud charges. (USATSI)

Though the NFL reportedly won’t be taking Jimmy Haslam’s team away from him because of the ongoing fraud investigation into the Pilot Flying J company, the Browns owner is still trying to assure the public the company will change for the better.

On Monday, he read a statement to the media -- he didn’t take questions -- in which he pinpointed, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the “five steps that we are taking to address the issues raised by the investigation.”

They are:

-- Auditing all 3,300 contracts the company has with its trucking customers (the federal government is investigating whether the Pilot Flying J knowingly withheld rebates from some of those customers).

-- Several members of the diesel fuel sales team have been placed on administrative leave. Plus, “on an interim basis, we are restructuring that team pending further investigation to get control of that operation and restore confidence to our customers.”

-- All of the charges and payments for the diesel trucking customers will be calculated electronically instead of manually.

-- The company will establish a chief compliance officer who will report to the company’s general counsel. “Had we had one before, perhaps some team member would have raised a question about manual rebates internally before anyone would ever have gone to federal investigators,” Haslam said.

-- Pilot Flying J will hire an “independent special investigator to oversee and validate all of our internal inquiries related to the federal investigation. Because there is a federal investigation now, we have to take extraordinary steps to do whatever is necessary to repair any damage done to this company’s reputation and restore the full integrity on which this company was built."

Whether those five steps will restore confidence in his company and/or whether that will keep the company out of trouble with federal investigators remains to be seen. The same goes for Haslam’s ownership role with the Browns if this investigation reveals any wrongdoing on his part, as has been alleged.

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