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Crime and Courts


UPDATE: Settlement could cost Haslam's Pilot Flying J $40 million
Browns owner settles a class-action suit but still faces criminal investigation.
by WKSU's KEVIN NIEDERMIER


Reporter
Kevin Niedermier
 
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has cleared one legal hurdle, but another on looms.
Courtesy of Kevin Niedermier
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In The Region:

Some of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s legal troubles have been resolved at a cost of as much as $40 million.

Today, Haslam and his company, Pilot Flying J, settled a class-action suit filed by some of the trucking companies alleging they were cheated out of fuel rebates.

Nine companies were involved in that suit. But a federal judge in Arkansas has found that more than 4,500 Pilot customers could qualify for the settlement. The agreement says the companies will get what they’re owed plus 6 percent interest. It also says Haslam and his company are not admitting liability.

Cleveland State University law professor Jonathon Witmer-Rich notes that the civil case is separate from a federal criminal investigation.

LISTEN: Separate legal paths

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“It’s certainly an important step for the company in trying to resolve what’s going on. It doesn’t necessarily have a big impact on the ongoing criminal investigation, and so there’s still a lot of uncertainty even after this settlement.”

So far, five Pilot Flying J employees have pleaded guilty. Haslam has not been charged and denies any wrongdoing. A dozen other trucking companies have filed civil suits as well. 

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