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Browns owner Jimmy Haslam to step aside?

8:46 AM, Apr 19, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Reports are swirling that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam may be asked to relinquish control of the team amid a federal investigation of his Pilot Flying J company.

ESPNCleveland.com's Tony Grossi writes that a source "with knowledge of both the legal system and the inner workings of the NFL" says Haslam may be asked to step aside, and if he declined, "the league could suspend Haslam until the investigation is completed."

"They can force him, probably, to transfer his interests to another entity within the family, where he may still have equity holdings but absolutely no involvement in operations," the source is quoted in Grossi's report. "They can remove him from having front-and-center involvement."

The source tells Grossi that Haslam's best choice would be to have a family member oversee the team until further notice.

Federal officials unsealed the search warrants and affidavits used in Monday's raid on Pilot Flying J's headquarters in Tennessee.

The documents, a 120-page report and a 55-page affidavit, were the items filed. It's alleged that a rebate fraud scheme at Pilot Flying J occurred with the knowledge of top executives, including CEO Jimmy Haslam.

Pilot Flying J is the nation's No. 1 retailer of diesel fuel, and its customer rebate program with trucking firms is at the center of the investigation.

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On the web: ESPNCleveland.com - http://www.espncleveland.com/

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