SBD/May 9, 2013/Franchises

Haslam's Ownership Of Browns Threatened By Lawsuits, Potential Cash Flow Problems

Haslam's future with the Browns could be jeopardized by Pilot Flying J issues
Several team officials are saying that they "believe it may be extremely difficult" for Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam III to keep the Browns "because he may be ensnared by a myriad of lawsuits and legal actions that could drain his finances and prevent him from keeping the club," according to Mike Freeman of CBSSPORTS.com. An official said of the legal situation with Haslam's Pilot Flying J, "This is more worrisome than people know." Sources said that they are "concerned about the long-term viability of the Browns under Haslam's control and believe it may be only a matter of time before Haslam is forced to sell the Browns." If Haslam can win the lawsuits, then "his future as Browns owner is more on solid footing." But if there are "massive financial settlements or legal losses, it would prove problematic for Haslam." The NFL also is "concerned what the FBI investigation will do to Haslam's cash flow" (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/8). ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley wrote Haslam, "to his credit," has not "gone into hiding." He has "repeatedly stepped in front of cameras and said all of the right things." However, the situation "goes beyond whether Haslam is proven guilty in the federal investigation." When it "comes to owning an NFL team, you need the resources to do it." Haslam, who has "owned the Browns for nine months, continues to talk about the bright future of the team, albeit with tempered expectations." But whether Haslam will be part of the Browns' future "remains to be seen" (ESPN.com, 5/8).
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